Green not the colour for cooling towers

The world is catching on the concept of Green = Good, but not for cooling towers. Cooling towers shall be audited every year in Hong Kong, here is an example of a very poor Hong Kong cooling tower, with algae covering the entire floor of the cooling tower cell1 and cell2 … Legionella risk: severe

Kelcroft conducts the annual EMSD cooling tower audits in accordance with EMSD code for annual audit requirements, call the experts today.

Condition Survey, Air conditioning Issues…

by John A. Herbert

chiller motor oil leak Hong Kong

There is a saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, the photo illustrates how to ignore that, we have a 900 Kw 3 phase electric motor, an oil leak, and newspaper stuffed underneath catching dripping oil, that should send alarm bells ringing in every office across the land. Perhaps we need a fire triangle refresher course?

On the topic of condition surveys, I am often asked does the Kelcroft energy audit include condition survey? Yes, is always the answer, it is not an optional extra ASHRAE and other energy auditing standards call for it, an energy audit requires examination of the condition of the plant and equipment as part of the energy assessment to understand its efficiency, in tropical Hong Kong, that will include the central air conditioning plant, including the chillers, the automatic controls, differential bypass valves, variable speed drives, chilled water and condenser water pumps, cooling towers and the like.

In the energy audit report, it will identify any defects, or deferred maintenance issues discovered.

So back the high risk oil leak, literally one stray spark from disaster, the building owner does not know, the building management seem equally oblivious and never reported it, yet we know an ounce of prevention is far far cheaper than the cure.

Hong Kong outperformed Shanghai and Beijing in green building performance

Hong Kong was the highest ranked Chinese city for green building beating out Beijing and Shanghai in study by Solidance funded by Singapore Government.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong was ranked 6th, the leading Chinese city, ahead of Beijing and Shanghai, a vindication of Hong Kong’s own independent BEAM green rating rating tool.

BEAM has operating for twenty years, since the first rating tool was issued in 1996, and today, behind the scenes, countless volunteers give up their free time to support Hong Kong community, with little credit and no reward Herbert said.

#greenbuilding #hongkong #BEAMPLUS

John A. Herbert is a recognised green building expert, a BEAM Professional, and chairman of BEAM Technical Review Panel.

How to avoid mould in air conditioned buildings

moisture mould problems air conditioned buildings

In air conditioned buildings, the exterior vapour pressure will be higher than the vapour pressure in the air conditioned room, therefore the vapour and moisture flow is high to low (blue line in the diagram above)

Now normally this is not an issue, because a decent ventilation system will transport moisture back to the air conditioning cooling coil, it is condensed, and safely drained away.

However, problems occur when a vapour retarder is installed (red line in above diagram) interrupting the flow. Moisture becomes trapped, and even the best ventilation system cannot transport it to the cooling coil. Instead what happens, damp, moisture, and then mould growth occurs (left of red line in diagram above).


And we already know the problems associated with mould, it causes poor indoor air quality, and health issues for the occupants. If the air conditioning room also happens to be under negative (relatively) pressure, as often occurs in hotel rooms, the situation is compounded because the vapour quantity is increased, accelerating the process.

This phenomenon is not limited to Hong Kong, it occurs in hot tropical climates, whether you are in Singapore, Indonesia, Shanghai, or Hong Kong.

mould hong kong

Furthermore, it’s the type of problem that’s not immediately apparent, mould doesn’t just appear overnight, and it is unlikely to surface within the defects liability period (DLP).


So it is obvious, lining the external wall of an air conditioned space with any vapour retarder must be avoided at all costs. But sadly it still happens today, increasing maintenance and costs for building owners and operators.

About Kelcroft

Kelcroft based in Hong Kong provides specialist advice, including energy, built environment, and green building consulting services, advising owners and design teams, to lower the cost of building operations.


#mould #mold #hongkong #buildings #hotels #maintenance

thermal revelations with infra-red

thermal scan hong kong, china, asia, Kelcroft

thermal scan hong kong, kelcroft

predicting spalling infra-red condition survey

Infra-red scanning tool is the latest high technology tool for surveying the condition of M&E services and buildings. the condition may appear normal to the naked eye, but infra-red imaging reveals subtle details not normally visible to humans and presents a false colour image for easy review.

#energyaudit #building #survey

EMSD Cooling Tower Audit

emsd cooling tower audit, hong kong

In Hong Kong EMSD ( requires an independent audit of cooling tower system every year, and still in 2016 it is needed. In the photo above the cooling tower basin is contaminated with dirty, and algae grow has started.

emsd cooling tower audit

Model air conditioning condenser side water schematic  credit: Prevention of Legionnaires’ Disease Code of Practice

The EMSD Code of Practice part 2 is the standard to assess the cooling tower system operation, and the annually conducted audit requires document review of the procedures and a physical inspection of the towers inside and out, then adjudicate compliance.

cooling tower audit hong kong


Cooling Tower FAQ

Q. Who can conduct EMSD cooling tower audit in Hong Kong?
A. Kelcroft conducts independent EMSD cooling tower audit for Government, and private sector organsations.

Q. Is on-site checking of the cooling tower system required?
A. Yes, site inspection of the cooling tower system and operating records is required.

Q. What cooling tower system records will be checked?
A. The cooling tower operation check include the records for maintenance, water treatment, and laboratory results shall be reviewed.

Q. When is EMSD Cooling tower audit required?
A. Annually and after any major renovation work is recommended.

Q. What standard is used for the cooling tower audit?
A. The cooling tower audit standard is the latest version of EMSD Code of Practice for Water Cooled Air Conditioning Systems Part 2: Operation and Maintenance of Cooling Towers [link]

CLICK HERE for information about Kelcroft’s EMSD cooling tower inspection

BEAM PLUS Existing Building (EB) Launch 24 March 2016

Kelcroft’s director Mr John A. Herbert attended the BEAM PLUS EV V2 launch at the Zero Carbon Building on 24 March 2016.
BEAM PLUS EB launch, John A. Herbert
Sec for Environment Mr K.S. Wong was one of the officiating guests. The latest version of BEAM EB has two alternative paths for compliance, either the Applicant can submit an application for the whole building (comprehensive) or by different stages (selective) the latter designed to provide more flexibility for building owners.


About Kelcroft

Kelcroft is a built environment consultant based in Hong Kong providing expertise in the green building and energy sectors.

Light Pollution

Kelcroft’s director John A. Herbert was a guest on the RTHK Radio 3 backchat programme on 5 April 2016 the topic under debate was light pollution.

John A. Herbert

John A. Herbert Photo credit: RTHK

The BEAM PLUS green building rating tool, includes SA15 Light Pollution, its criteria is designed to encourage developers to plan and arrange the works to avoid light pollution. One simple measure to minimise light pollution would be preventing installation of lighting fittings aimed skywards Herbert said


Building Science Mould (mold)

by John A. Herbert

mold mould Hong Kong

We spend many hours inside buildings every day, whether its your office, home, or place of entertainment (cinemas, shopping centres, etc.) therefore the quality of the air we breathe everyday should be a very important issue, yet our buildings often let us down, mould (or mold) being a common issue. The key to avoiding mould (mold) is minimising moisture, and one of the key measures to manage moisture is good ventilation.

mold mould Hong Kong

But ventilation alone does not tell the whole story because understanding the science, some might argue that is a lost art, is required to find identify source, and rectify problems.

Surface mould can be easily be seen, and washed down. But mould, hidden inside walls, and floors is far more difficult to detect, and once detected treated. Mould can cause health problems, allergies, for occupants, and moisture left unattended can even destroy the fabric of your building.