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.

Tips to avoid Hong Kong Tenant Complaints About Mould

Instead of handling mould after it occurs let’s try a different approach.

When a property suffers from damp and mould, the tenant suffers, but also the landlord, committing extra time and energy for handling the issue, so here are some tips for landlords to avoid mould <<<< click here

China will ban plastic straws……soon

Major cities in China will ban plastic drinking straws and non-degradable plastic bags by the end of 2020 RTHK reports.


However, how to define non-degradable? A biodegradable material needs to be exposed to sunlight to starting decomposing, bury it in concrete doesn’t mean it will decompose.

This announcement goes further than just straws, the NDRC also advising that disposable plastic products should not be “actively provided” by hotels by 2022.

Similar bans and voluntary action still does not touch the surface, the commercial use of plastic, for example, the tonnes of plastic wrapping used for cargo, still has not been addressed.

Unintended Consequences

Switching from disposable plastic cutlery could cause unforeseen consequences, in Hong Kong, one restaurant that switched to reusable cutlery delivered the cutlery in a steaming cup of hot water!

Waste has been traded, swapping plastic for water plus the energy need to heat that water, be careful what you wish for.

Building Infrared Inspection

Building infrared inspection reveals hidden defects not visible to the human eye, the temperature image can locate the source of water ingress, damp, water damage, locate missing sections of thermal insulation missing, identify overheating switchgear, and much more.

#hongkong #thermography #infrared #building #inspection #condition survey

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Offset your increasing energy costs

Hong Kong notched up another record, 2019 was the hottest year since records began in 1884 the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) revealed [1].

It should be no surprise really, almost every year HKO reports that temperatures have been steadily increasing year on year, a trend that is not so easy to reverse.

Asia is dominated by the use of electricity for air conditioning, and warmer weather means higher energy bills, and it is not just a local affair either, Australia is also suffering from hotter temperatures and devasting wildfires.

In addition to warmer weather, increasing the air conditioning running hours, the Hong Kong electricity tariffs increased again in 2020, which will add 3-5% to your energy bills.

To offset the increasing costs, building owners can use the subsidies provided by HEC [2] and CLP to help finance energy efficiency upgrades for the building communal systems, including air conditioning, lifts, lighting, and pumps.

1 http://www.hko.gov.hk/en/wxinfo/pastwx/2019/ywx2019.htm
2 http://www.kelcroft.com.hk/hke-energy-power-fund.htm
3 http://www.kelcroft.com.hk/clp-energy-funding.htm

Pressurisation and IAQ

Positive building pressurisation and proper filtering of the outdoor air will be more important as testing reveals plastic in the air we breathe!

Plastic particles have been found in the air in the mountains but now in cities[1] . It may take years for the human studies and research but commonsense dictates plastic inside the human body, particularly in the lung should be minimised now.

1 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/27/revealed-microplastic-pollution-is-raining-down-on-city-dwellers

Project Work

Youtube means you can watch construction in motion, what happens if you hire a contractor without professional supervision, enjoy

This project is in New York, USA, apparently, the contractor quoted to install plywood flooring but instead installed a different material, reported to be OSB which as we know practically dissolves in high humidity, the saga continues…….

Another Reason to Energy Audit

As we approach the end of 2019, the Hong Kong power utilities publish their electricity tariff adjustment, aka price rises.

For 2020 Hong Kong Electric (HKE) customers will enjoy approx. 5% cost increase and China Light Power (CLP) customers will enjoy around 2.5% cost increase, RTHK reported on 10 Dec 2019.


Fear not, RTHK reports that some Hong Kong Electric corporate customers will be exempt, but that is bad news for the individual customers who will be paying for that corporate windfall.

In this context, we suspect that corporate customers really means their highest electricity users, and automatically reducing the financial incentive to lower their energy consumption and lower costs.

Part of the problem is related to Hong Kong’s energy policy, it only targets lowering carbon intensity which seems fantastic until you know their plan, to importing more electricity from China generated by nuclear power, this policy is short-sighted, it encourages the status quo, keeping the energy-wasting business as usual culture in place, causing energy waste which has reached epidemic proportions in Hong Kong.

Last year we predicted these increasing tariffs, so looking forward we’ll predict and expect the same type of Christmas gift form HKE and CLP next year.

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!