The Project is about the introduction of environmental development programs, technologies and solutions within the Hong Kong Sea School, and its surrounding community. This includes the placement of Wind Turbines on the roof, water saving options, lighting improvements, and educational programs that relate to land and ocean environmental issues.
The project enabled the better operation of the school through different environmentally friendly technology. E.g. Using water saving urinals, installing retaining walls, which can be planted rather than just shotcrete. Planting with coastal plants rather than grasses. Wind Turbines to generate energy for the school.
The project was all about reducing electricity usage on the school campus, and the training of children on new technology and energy-saving approaches. These energy saving techniques can be used anywhere. All schools can 1) get Green School Project grants, 2) Install energy saving items like lighting, 3) Stabilize hill slopes (we do have extra challenges through being based in a coastal environment). What makes our school different is that we look for the alternative options, which are greener, research them and then provide the Govt departments with opportunities to approve.
There was a need to take action because we needed to modernise equipment. We considered the bottom line costs for schools operation and then looked for greener options rather than the typical approaches. The project began in 2005, and it is ongoing.
Regarding investment, I had a personal interest in greener options so time wise you could say all my time. Financially the commitment from school has been HK125,000 for wind turbines, HK14,000 for a weather station.
New skills and practices have been at the school:
- Internal use of staff skills, e.g. gardener being allowed to be the “farmer”.
- Greening – which plants are appropriate for our location
- Desert Cube – re-learning old behaviour of not flushing the toilet.
- Wind Turbines – needing a qualified electrician on staff
We received help and support from members of the School Board and their network, Kadoorie Farm, Hong Kong Universities and the Motorwave Group.
Some of the obstacles that we had to overcome were:
- The concerns of Government agencies over new technology and whether it will be safe.
- A considerable concern was the whole challenge of “it is new how will it work” for staff.
- Training kids and cleaners not to flush the urinals.
- Sourcing plants suitable for the coastal area through the nursery.
- Having to ask the question of why can we not do that.
The willingness of Government staff to look at the options and staff taking ownership of the work, so it becomes self-sustaining kept motivated to continue.
Locally in Hong Kong :
New science projects in the classroom based on what is happening on the campus. No longer looking at lowest price tender rather the best long-term lowest cost. O their schools are approaching us to provide advice on, e.g. plants, power, etc. Groups are hiring the dorm to experience the initiatives on campus.
Nationally in China :
Motorwave website got great interest about school site project and then received orders for their turbines.
Via the website visits and international groups staying on campus which will learn about the initiatives.
Social effects of the project include:
- Community information via the online weather station (better and safer use of the Stanley water area).
- Kids going home with the ideas.
- The School has a large footprint on Stanley. Get phone calls asking for advice on the technology being used.
- The school is open to the community for activities, and they see what is happening.
In the future, we see the children and the community better knowing about the options for energy and taking steps to implement them.
The most significant barrier facing people from moving forward and implementing these solutions is money/funding. People should go to providers with solutions, instead of going and asking for help. Be informed ‘yourself’ when having discussions with suppliers.
With continuing support from school governance level, the Hong Kong Sea School continues to embrace alternative ways of solving energy and conservation issues.