HKUST Sustainability Annual Report 2021-2022

HKUST Sustainability 47 Environment Social and Governance Report 2021-22 Sustainable Smart Campus Initiative Like many of our fellow global research universities, HKUST embraces sustainability as an integral part of our strategic development plan. To place this vision into action, in 2019, HKUST launched the Sustainable Smart Campus as a Living Lab (SSC) initiative. The concept is simple: we need innovative technologies to address some of the most challenging global sustainability problems (Smart), and we need to develop and encourage the right mindset (Sustainability) to set the guardrails to keep the innovation focused on providing results that improve the public good. The SSC combines faculty research with campus operations, community, and hands-on project-based learning. Funded projects show the campus community that we can move innovation out of laboratories and onto the campus as a testing ground for results and outcomes under real-time conditions. In just three years, the SSC has resulted in a noticeable and impactful change to the campus environment and has established our campus as a “go-to” place for the Hong Kong community to visit and be truly inspired. Research and Demonstration Future Technology Cultivation Commitment This approach has resulted in the launch of 30 or so universityfunded projects, including the installation of indoor air-quality sensors to improve well-being, AI-driven tracking systems for inventorying tree and bird species, self-cleaning multipurpose nano-coatings to improve photovoltaic panel efficiencies, autonomous greywater treatment processes that streamline water recycling, and a digital twin of all campus buildings for a digitized platform for streamlined operations. The goals of such projects are two-fold: to move innovation out of research labs to the campus as a testing ground, and to assess the scalability of these ideas from campus to our city and beyond. For students, the projects provide a clear demonstration of how to combine innovation with a sustainability mindset. Going forward, support will be allocated through priority themes to ensure we are always encouraging our university community to be active contributors to our sustainability goals. For example, coming out of the pandemic, we recognize that many students are struggling with stress and depression. With this in mind, or of our priority themes for funding and support is for projects that address well-being and wellness. While we will continue to focus on broad “Grand Challenges (e.g., net-zero GHG emissions, biodiversity, zero waste to the landfill) the targeted priority themes will allow us to adjust the program yearly to ensure we are meeting the needs of the campus community.