CityU student wins prestigious building services award

Grace Ho

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An empirical study on energy consumption control of air-conditioning system in office environment won Mr Ryan Lee Lap-yan, a graduate of City University's Department of Building and Construction, the first prize of the 2002 Hays Montrose President's Prize from the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE). The first Hong Kong engineer to receive this prestigious award, Mr Lee was presented with a trophy, a commemorative certificate and a cash award by CIBSE President Mr Doug Oughton on 22 November 2002. The trophy will be kept by CityU for one year.

In his project "Performance of Variable-Air-Volume Air-Conditioning System under Reduced Static Pressure Control in an Occupied Office", Mr Lee conducted a year-round field study on implementing reduced static pressure (RSP) algorithm in an occupied office floor of 1,200 square metres net area in a local commercial building. The results showed that energy saving of up to 9% per year is achievable without sacrificing thermal comfort and indoor air quality.

Similar kinds of static pressure optimization studies in the past were either simulated or performed in unoccupied offices. Mr Lee's pioneering project implemented an RSP control programme in an occupied office environment to collect real-life data for analysis. Due to the fact that energy consumption varies with different seasons, Mr Lee had to gather data from the subject office throughout the year in order to carry out a comprehensive analysis.

"My project supervisor Dr T T Chow, Principal Lecturer in the Division of Building Science and Technology, gave me guidance and advice and Mr Cary Chan and Mr Peter Ma, Head of Technical Services and Technical Manager, respectively, at Swire Properties Management Limited, gave me support and encouragement. They helped me sail through the major obstacles and difficulties in my study. The CIBSE award is a big encouragement to all of us," said Mr Lee.

Regarded by his teacher as a "brilliant and well-organized student" and by his colleagues as both "enterprising and diligent", Mr Lee works as a Building Services Engineer for Swire Properties. Both Mr Lee and the company have benefited from his research, said Mr Chan. "We consider Ryan's energy conservation control programme very practical, with a strong theoretical framework." Swire have applied it in several of their buildings and have had satisfactory results in terms of both energy efficiency and cost effectiveness.

In November 2002, Mr Lee, a part-time student, graduated from CityU's Bachelor of Engineering with Honours Degree in Building Engineering (Building Services Engineering) programme. "Successful applicants to our part-time programme must possess relevant working experience in the field. They are also required to present a formal recommendation from their employers for our consideration," said programme leader Dr Albert So, Associate Professor in the Department of Building and Construction. "This policy has been upheld by our Department all along. We firmly believe that support and understanding from industry employers contribute to a more fruitful learning experience for our working students."

With a growing demand for sustainable, green and intelligent buildings, the building services profession is playing an increasingly important role in modern society. "Building services serve as a bridge to integrate mankind's demands for quality homes with the infrastructure of the physical buildings," said Professor Andrew Leung, Chair Professor and Head of the Department of Building and Construction. The Department offers a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching and provides students with both academic knowledge and professional skills. "We provide students with the concept of full integration between various disciplines within building services engineering. We also emphasize the importance of integration between building services engineering with other trades within the building industry, such as architecture, surveying and property management," said Professor Leung.

CityU's building services engineering programmes have been accredited by the CIBSE. With a membership of 15,000, CIBSE is currently the only international body representing the building services profession. The Hays Montrose President's Prize is awarded annually by CIBSE for final year project works nominated by teaching institutions in the UK, Ireland and Hong Kong. Entries are reviewed by a panel and the final choice made by the CIBSE President. Engineering students from Hong Kong won two of the four prizes awarded in 2002.



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