About John Herbert

Director at Kelcroft, focused on energy efficient M&E services, energy including energy auditing and sustainability consulting for Asia. He is an EMSD Registered Energy Assessor (EA00496G) Fellow of the Charted Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers, and a BEAM Professional.

Vapour diffusion

Moisture is a problem in the tropics so its important to understand two issues, moisture is transported within the air, and through a process known as Diffusion.

One property of air is the water vapour pressure, for air-conditioned buildings, we are mainly concerned with the difference between the outdoor and indoor water vapour pressure. Why air-conditioned buildings? Cooling and dehumidifying indoor air lowers the indoor water vapour pressure.

In the CIBSE guide or equal, properties of air, look up the water vapour pressure for outdoor air say 35 db/28 wb and an air-conditioned space, lets say 24 degC and 50% rh. That delta P, the pressure difference is the driving force for moisture diffusion through the building envelope, including curtain walls, towards the lower pressure space inside buildings.

Typically, we expect that “Good Ventilation” inside the building will transport that moisture and condense it on the cooling coil. However, if the internal face of the external wall is blocked, with a vapour barrier on the inside or obstacles preventing air movement, moisture will accumulate internally causing mould.

Often vinyl wallpaper or a polymer type paint, essentially a layer of plastic, is used inside buildings, which stalls diffusion, causing moisture to accumulate internally, causing damp and mould as shown in the diagram above. If the room is naturally ventilated the water vapour pressure inside and outdoor are effectively equal, and adjacent air-conditioned rooms would with similar conditions means the delta P is also effectively zero.

So its important to understand the different processes, to solve IAQ problems.

Productivity & Sick Days

The Hong Kong outdoor air quality and therefore the indoor air quality will be miserable for the first week of Oct. 2019 impacting productivity as the number of sick days is likely to increase in the urban areas (the places where people work).

The AQICN.org website is an invaluable resource reporting the real-time outdoor air quality but also providing a prediction for the next few days, and its bad news, it predicts Unhealthy (over 100) air quality.

Causeway Bay – greater than 100 is unhealthy
poor Outdoor Air Quality predicted 30 Sept – 5 Oct. 2019

Study after study shows poor air quality correlates with increasing hospital visits for respiratory problems.

Can we improve the Hong Kong Indoor Air Quality? the simple answer is yes, controlling the outdoor air is important to prevent condensation, and properly cleaning the air, before pumping it around the office, is the most practical solution.

CENTRAL – greater than 100 is unhealthy
poor Outdoor Air Quality predicted 30 Sept – 5 Oct. 2019

Hong Kong’s IAQ certificate requires the outdoor air quality to meet the same criteria as the indoor air quality values, so we guarantee no measurements can be taken this week!

And that’s its weakness, those measurements are a snapshot, taken on days with “good” outdoor air quality, this gives owners a false sense of security, on other occasions the Outdoor Air Quality and therefore the Indoor Air Quality does not meet the objective.

Proper air outdoor air management, including air cleaning, will improve the indoor air quality in your building, in your lungs, and lower the number of Hong Kong sick days.

upgrading energy systems with HEC or CLP funding

HEC and CLP can provide a subsidy to building owners/managers to upgrade the communal services in buildings, including air conditioning, lifts, lighting, water pumps, etc. in commercial and residential buildings.

funding for energy efficiency improvement

It’s a fantastic opportunity for capital (CAPex) funding for energy efficiency improvement work! Both schemes are arranged to provide the rebate AFTER the work is completed and approved by the respective utility.

And both utilities require pre-endorsement by Registered Energy Assessor (REA) before application.

funding for energy efficiency improvement

Upgrading Existing Buildings

Greening of existing buildings can be a challenge, but the HEC Eco building fund and CLP Smart Power fund can help finance energy efficiency improvement to lower your CAPex and your future energy bills.

For more information call us on +852 2335 9830 today!

Public Waste Reveals More Than You Think

energy waste
It’s true, we learn and absorb information visually, leave the lights on, whether its the outside lighting or in the office, that is a demonstration of your leadership.

We are watching and learning, subconsciously we all understand that saving energy is not really a priority, and everyone can follow your lead. A single lamp is important because it demonstrates your culture. If you dont care, why should we.

#energyefficiency #climatechangeexcuse #energywaste

Mouldy Hotel Experience Asia

You’re looking forward to that trip, you’ve booked a nice hotel, and you’re looking forward to that whole “hotel experience”, but in Asia, it can be an unpleasant experience.

Whether its Black, Purple or Pink, mould can cause a variety of ill health, different people suffer different symptoms, and some people are far more sensitive to mould than others.

Mouldy Hotel Experience Asia

In this hotel photo (above), it’s easy to spot the purple mould growing under the window, but just wiping the surface doesn’t stop growth or prevent its root cause. Moisture is the problem, the precursor for mould, don’t stop the moisture, you can never stop the mould.

Mould breeds more mould, the visible sign indicates you probably have mould spores airborne, ready to colonise the rest of the building.

Mouldy Hotel Experience AsiaOften, the hotel manager is completely unaware, until the world has already read it on trip advisor.

Kelcroft’s decades of experience, solve mould problems fast, with the benefit of an infra-red camera, the root cause can be identified and fixed, before the hotel reviews damage the business, saving both time and money in the process.

What Burberry could have done, instead of burning excess product

Burberry decided to burn bags and clothing to preserve their brand, that means they needed a fast disposal method to avoid giving away their old products cheaper than the store prices. If that’s not bad enough, it’s no revelation to fashion insiders reports are emerging, apparently, its standard practice across the whole industry.

Burberry was quick to reply to BBC report saying that “burning” complied with environmental regulations. Really? that’s their best response.

I am not a clothing expert, say they had used raw materials like silk, cotton or wool, there are gone, ashes lost forever along with the emissions and adding to the embodied energy already burnt in the supply chain, manufacturing and transporting products.

It is fair to say the global community swiftly commended Burberry’s unsustainable solution.

It’s profligate waste by a company that also claims to be responsible, their web page responsibility states:

“…we are driving new approaches to some of the most pressing problems faced by our industry, and leading by example to champion more sustainable resources.”

I could not find any explanation or carbon emissions resulting from burning approx. 28.6 million British Pounds of product last year. It’s simply irresponsible, not responsible, to burn clothes that could be recycled. Burberry even has an advisory committee reporting:

We admire the company’s commitment to broader communication with all external stakeholders, to openly discuss challenges and celebrate progress and innovation.

Innovation mentioned again! and just in case the backlash causes the webpage to mysteriously change I think it is worth copying the names of Burberry’s advisory committee here:

Mark Sumner, Lecturer in Sustainability, Retail & Fashion, University of Leeds, Sally Uren, Chief Executive, Forum for the Future, Kresse Wesling, Co-Founder, Elvis & Kresse, Rachel Wilshaw, Ethical Trade Manager, Oxfam GB

Perhaps, Burberry advisors were kept in the dark

Incineration vs Innovative

Burberry is not alone, I think it really demonstrates “Big Business Think” glossy brochures and corporate websites proclaim laudable values, social responsibility, partnerships, and innovation. However, when faced with real challenges, they sought the quick and dirty option, incineration creating a new set of unavoidable environmental impacts.

Should we be surprised? Other big businesses have been caught on the wrong side of the law, VW, and more recently Mercedes, were caught programming their vehicles to pass Government emission tests, the Japanese Steel giant Kobe faked test results, its an epidemic.


What Could Burberry Have Done?

Could Burberry followed a different path, there are always options instead of their dirty approach, Burberry should have sought advice, perhaps shredding cloth, for sale or donated to charity, the recycled material could be used for padded jackets, bedding/duvet fill might be good options, or perhaps recycling material into raw thread for reuse.

Another report I read mentioned that Burberry jumpers were burnt, so those cashmere or wool materials are already lost forever. I get that Burberry didn’t want free or nearly free Burberry jumpers in charity shops, equally I don’t believe in the 21st century that knitwear can’t be unpicked, and the wool recycled. Wool is a great natural thermal insulator, the material could have been processed into woolen thermal insulation batts for the construction industry.

Of course, that was far too difficult, brands today comprise media managers, not innovators, if they order too much, no problem, no need to think, they’ll burn it, just like last year. #sustainability #incineration #burberry


Green building certification what is it worth?

Green Building rating systems have to sell the benefits of certification before they can be physically realized because the developer needs to plan, construct, and sell the property.

Then, after the dust has settled, developers can judge if the promised added value was delivered. The WGBC has reported that a Hong Kong developer sold their BEAM Platiumn rated green building for 40% more than neighbouring properties of the same type, and 21% more than other buildings in the same district. A 40% premium, that is impressive. And the developer attributed the reason for the premium was the developments green building features incorporated to gain BEAM Platinum certification.

The message seems very clear, not only does Green Building reduce the environmental impact of the buildings, having a certified Green Building adds value, and its a financially positive decision.