We need social inclusion

Video – Why does Web accessibility matter to us?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmyfx-PBMps&t=8s

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that that have nothing to lose. People who have a stake in their society protect that society, but when they don’t have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.”. With fifteen percent of the world population being persons with a disability, we need social inclusion.

In the 21st century, human beings are benefited by technological advancement – 4G and 5G wireless connection, web portal, mobile device, the Internet, and many more. Your website – personal, businesses’, non-profitable organisations’ – is a tool to achieve social inclusion, and in turn, business sustainability.

The disabled are the disadvantaged group that our society and businesses need to care about because of social responsibility and legal responsibility (The Disability Discrimination Ordinance (Cap 487)). According to the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer of HKSAR, all people, irrespective of age, race, education, or disability, shall have equal access to all the information and services in websites or mobile applications. COVID-19 crisis worsens connectivity as the disabled person may have difficulties in moving around to get the resources and services.

Who will benefit from the web accessibility initiative (WAI)? It is the persons with disabilities and you. Web accessibility rate is significant to businesses. A higher accessibility rate means you are reaching out to more potential customers in the market. WAI empowers your business by providing more potential market data, such as behaviours, interests, demographics, connections, age ranges, locations, and languages.

The website and mobile application accessibility is a strategic approach of social responsibility, legal compliance, and hidden market exploration. Enhancing your existing web accessibility through WAI requires you to comprehend the different techniques and tools to enable the disabled to reach the websites or mobile applications contents:

  • Screen reading software and screen magnifiers;
  • Voice control software and modified keyboards;
  • Text transcripts of audio content or subtitles on video contents;
  • Straightforward content and structure.
Photo above: Number of disables persons from http://www.ogcio.gov.hk.

Find out more with us about the WAI.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

We know that noise is bad for health

Noise can cause elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Noise can alter our immunity system too. It is common for us to experience sleep disturbance with significant problems. To the extreme, we would lose our hearings to a substantial noise level.

Why can’t we have a quiet place to live? Beyond a vast population on limited land, the original site for residential redevelopment already subjects to a high noise environment.

It is challenging to plan and coordinate the long-term housing strategy. In Hong Kong, housing development’s available sites are closed to the heavily trafficked roads and railways. In recent years, you should find individual housings are built around busy streets due to the land scarcity, which in turn, causing us to look for alternative potential redevelopment sites. Redevelopment – the action or process of developing something again or differently – may make use of another land type to fulfill the housing strategy. If, for example, the site formerly was a factory site, it is likely the area enduring heavy vehicle traffic. We love convenience, but housing developed in the present urban area will be unavoidably within the dense traffic area.

Photo above: Why we fail to have a quiet place to live, provided by Maurice Yeung, the charter member of East and South-East Asia Regional Chapter of Acoustical Society of America

Environmental professionals have known many noise mitigation measures – a setback, single aspect design, fins, etc. Still, about nine hundred thousand people in Hong Kong are enduring the inevitable traffic noise. Methods are discovered to protect the residents from traffic noise above 70dB(A) L10(1 hour). Innovative noise mitigation measures are much needed to be explored and developed to reduce the percentage of the population exposed to traffic noise. The percentage of population exposed to traffic noise is a useful comparable benchmark to appraise how well the cities are doing for noise mitigation.

What are the innovative mitigation measures? The creative standards require collaboration and partnership to develop sustainably.

Innovative noise mitigation design (INMD)
The research and implementation of the acoustic window are one of the prime examples of INMD. The acoustic window is a window type yielding a magical solution for a dilemma situation. In the past – and even now, it is still a common issue; an open window drawing the airflow also brings the house with noise. The acoustic window principle is “By arranging two glass panels parallel to each other with openings at alternative sides; traffic noise can be screened off while allowing natural ventilation simultaneously,” defined by the Environmental Protection Department. Acoustic windows have been installed in some recent public housing. The practicability of mounting the acoustic window in the existing housing and mitigating rail noise is under study.

Video 0 Interviewing noise control pioneer in Hong Kong featuring K K Iu : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6axMP-qP3g&t=16s

Low noise road surfacing (LNRS)
LNRS utilises absorbent materials to reduce tyre/road interaction noise or reducing tyre tread impact and shock noise. It is a common standard for highways. For local roads, the application will depend on the specific road condition.

Smart technologies
The name “smart technologies” is generic. Here for environmental protection is the application of virtual reality, big data and artificial intelligence, 3-dimension (3D) geographical information system (GIS) and 3-D photo-realistic model.

  • Virtual reality is a game-changer. In an environmental sense, it mimics the surroundings, and we can add our external idea into the simulated environment to virtually test the practicability. Thoroughly to learn the project environment, the authorities and stakeholders are effortlessly to recognise the potential externality before moving on to urban development.
  • Artificial intelligence enables an automated monitoring system supported by a technology platform that empowers authorised parties to operate through various IT devices, including smartphones and tablets. The system automatically signals the breaches and visually verifies the sources. All data is filed and immediately accessible for use. The system contributes substantial savings in human resources and costs for site monitoring works and enhances information distribution amongst project parties.
  • Law enforcement is to combat environmental crime effectively, random inspection and control are hardly adequate. Target enforcement action and strategy are set to surveillance the risk. The risk-based approach uses a webcam system, an uncrewed aerial vehicle to surveil, and a project website to release surveillance information.
  • Once the data is captured, these data are the lesson learned. It is essential to reposit them, reuse them as reference for future projects. Smart Environmental Assessment System is intelligently capable of learning from past environmental impact assessment (EIA) and performing EIA for projects and planning, analysing public comment, and proposing mitigation measures. Environmental constraints will be identified by retrieving the map previously derived from geospatial data. Automated EM&A checking system and integration of 5G and artificial intelligence technology heighten the enforcement measures. The use of 360 cameras and drones to continuously monitor the work in progress is reasonably applicable.
Video – What will our environmental service be like in the future? : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-1SnZ74thc&t=4s

Do not forget land planning, which is very important from the very beginning. The cradle-to-grave approach starts from design to implementation. The developers’ role falls onto considering the appropriate noise measures before commencing building work. The monitoring and management cause workload and burden. Therefore, the enforcement party should set up a checking mechanism to ensure the developers undertake the mitigation measures.

Video – What the experts tell us about noise control: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzzBBCRbfJE&t=4s

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

The contemporary e-public engagement

Photos above: 3D Retrofitting of Noise Barrier on Long Tin Road and Ma Wang Road, Hong Kong. The upper one shows the mitigated noise effect, and the lower photo shows the unmitigated noise effect of a retrofitting barrier project. Video – Can you imagine the environmental impact in your mind? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31QtHAfV5nA

The contemporary e-governance facilitates information exchange with communicable, interactive platforms. Remarkably, the digital trend is on the way to provide user-friendly and digitised civil services for the project proponents and the general public, from the informational website, online registration program, to searchable open database. How do we utilize this digitalisation in environmental discipline? ANewR Consulting Limited has the solution.

The visualised, virtual reality (VR) illustration is incredibly practical for a metropolitan situation. One of the city’s striking models is Hong Kong’s three-dimensional (3D) retrofitting barrier impact digital visualisation – ANewR’s prime example of implementing digitalisation into environmental discipline to turn the historical practice perfect for the stakeholder engagement throughout the project.  

Conventionally, the environmental specialist has assessment results in a pile of reports in figures, tables, and drawings generated by acoustic software. Entering the digitalisation age, the 3D noise-level visualisation for a retrofitting barrier assessment project successfully brings out the calculated impact in the pragmatic project location. The proposed project’s assessment value is programmed to develop the 3D graphics and animations in a 3D VRML file format. The proportionate images of the buildings, the surroundings, and retrofitting barriers draw stakeholders’ actual environment for results review. It is clear to follow the computed noise impact in the mitigated and unmitigated scenarios through a few button clicks. In the 3D animation, the multi-coloured indication exhibits different noise levels, based on the Calculation of Road Traffic Noise. Incorporating environmental practitioners’ knowledge with innovative digital skills contributes to an understandable expression of the technical proposal. 

The move to digitalisation in environmental discipline is hitting two main targets. First, the visualisation reaches the aim of public consultation – stakeholder engagement through a digestible communication digital method. The general public, who is not assumed to be sufficiently proficient in retrieving the coordinate and matching charts of results and various documents to get a particular location point’s noise level, is now empowered to understand the project effect. Also, reviewing the calculation records used to be time-consuming and possibly prolonging the project time-span. Providing visualisation aid for project proponents and decision-makers improves project evaluation and study efficiency. 

Integrating data into one visualised illustration renews the way of communications. ICT contributes to data accessibility. It empowers diverse functions involved in the process. Harnessing the potentials of modern information and communication technologies (ICT) from start to continuous improvement in environmental project development unveils the right interpretation of development investment we face each day and afterward.

The idea of digital visualisation is not to discard the tradition; this enhances the generation’s practice to deliver coherent, more favorable results to all. The upcoming is a 4-dimensional generation, strengthening 3-D visual capability with sound effects to create an authentic learning journey. Partaking in the Environmental Protection Department of the HKSAR training project, ANewR has applied the fundamental knowledge of noise and acoustic window and balcony products in the built environment into digital tools to create the VR experience with sound effects. Visually being in the built environment with the acoustic products installed, the user is standing at one point wearing the VR headset and holding the controller to handle the acoustic products’ open or closure. The user audibly recognises the noise level differences in various scenarios; their acoustic expertise is now turning from imaging the data to a useful background experience. 

ANewR apprehends the visual digitalisation in noise impact with interactive animation. Next is how to apply an immersive, automatic virtual environment and the smart monitoring and assessment automation systems in environmental projects to engage stakeholders to a greater extent.

Video – Visualising environmental data using 3D/4D VR tech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib8gO5B0Nc0

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

To stay environmentally smart

We all care about our health – physical health and, more recently, environmental health.

What is environmental health? Environmental health is about the relationship between people and their environment, human health and wellbeing, healthy and safe communities. Social initiatives can be treated professionally, scientifically. And, we should. Importantly, our next-generation leader can learn about the environment scientifically.

The environmental health around us can be traced. Have the three goals to action in mind:

  • Know your built environment
  • Scientifically monitor
  • Data analysis

Goal 1 – know your built environment.
By your sensation, do you feel noisy in the surrounding? Do you sneeze, and is it about the dust? You do not see the dirt air with your eyes; does it mean the air is clean and clear? Do you recognise your area as a quality one?

Goal 2 – scientifically monitor
An idiom, “To do a good job, an artisan needs the best tools.” – Technology advancement helps us to prove our hypothesis scientifically. We need to use the tools we need to successfully execute the scientific monitoring: noise meter, dust measuring device, and weather station.

Goal 3 – data analysis
Data has our story – structure or unstructured. When we could find the pattern, data will enable us to monitor the situation. We will identify factors affecting noise and dust levels through data collection, the correlation between noise, dust, and the external environment, and mitigation effectiveness.

In the 21st century, no one can leave intelligent schooling behind. The small-scale learning environmental monitoring station empowers our next-generation leader with a fact-finding process, discovering the environment by their capability.

Video – How can you achieve Intelligent schooling in environmental sense?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOeOdctylI0

Another great learning tool is what we have a misconception about – 4-dimensional virtual reality.

VR, AR is no longer just a game thing. By virtually being into the scenarios, the participants, including students of all levels, will be empowered to comprehend the content visually. Through interplay in the VR AR scenarios, they are qualified to attend the instruction practically. Students and teachers are academically encouraged to interactive learning, more than through a novel, turning the theories learned from a book to virtual learning situations.

Video – What technology has been used for EPD training: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJfGvfmMfNU&t=8s

ANewR is actively engaging in VR AR projects for environmental training, enthusiastically practicing our VR AR expertise in various fields. Let’s explore the opportunity with us at info@anewr.com

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

An IoT public engagement

In last interview with Mr. KK Iu, we talked about the acoustic window mock-up model. The role we should not miss is the coordination and management. For the mock-up project this time, Mr. James Choi from ANewR Consulting Limited is the chief person to lead.

Video – Interviewing noise control pioneer in Hong Kong featuring K K Iu (Part 1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJRHBjzGdTo)

J – Mr. James Choi from ANewR Consulting Limited

R: I looked at the demo. It is pretty impressive. What are the challenges when making it?

J: The tender had given us rooms to propose creative ideas. We were asked to set up merely a booth to introduce the acoustic window to the public. The challenge here was to pitch ANewR’s capability in environmental service and digitalisation while our proposal connects our client’s objective. The innovative and design thinking process began with a question – how might we remodel the demonstration to entice stakeholders to tour the booth? The client’s stakeholder was the general public for the project this time. Our next question was how to build a booth drawing the general public to glance moreover retain them at the booth. We wanted the audience to have fun while being informed. 

From a marketing point of view, Big Waster is the character that suits this project purpose well from an educational angle – the right image symbolizing our client. It is the funnies that children and adults will love about him. The animation with Big Waster conceives a living while informative presentation.

On the other hand, the way of bringing out the informative message is innovative digitally. Matching the world trend of digitalisation, we had chosen the interactive activity triggered by a sensor to let the participants control the mock-up acoustic window’s open and close only by a hand wave. More than that, we had added the sensation of sound and wind. The operation is simple – when the outer window and the acoustic window are wide open, the participants will hear the noise coming through the window, reaching seventy dB. If closing the exterior window, the acoustic window is in function effectively, and the participants can feel a reduction of noise level as well as air ventilation.

R: What is the role of ANewR in this project? 

J: As the main contractor of this mock-up project. ANewR had picked up the project management task, coordinating and liaising between the client and sub-contractors. By capitalising on digital development projects and extensive environmental knowledge over a decade, ANewR is delighted that our client has appreciated our creative proposal and the final exhibition. It relies on an excellent long-term collaboration in understanding the client’s perspective to ensure our deliverables are up to our client’s expectations. By harmonising the sound performance and visual production, the interactive collection ideally blends in the whole interior environment. We are scaling down the window to accommodate the exhibit area that aligns with the height of a human being to wave at the sensor camera to trigger the interactive game start, calibrating the noise level display to illustrate the dB corresponding to the open or close scenarios literally. The wind effect is to produce a more stimulating experience for those who engage at the booth. The Big Waster in the video is the lead to assist the visitors throughout the show. The acoustic window’s demonstration set enables the gamer to control the changing mode smartly by pose, QR code, and remote control. The remarkable example of Shek Mun Estate incubates the background scene to arouse the visitors’ attention to the compelling real-world case of Hong Kong.

From here, you may notice another challenge we face as the main contractor. We have much cross-stakeholder collaboration in this project. They are our client, the venue owner, the acoustic window supplier, technicians, marketing agency, scripts contributors, IoT specialist, logistic Company, users, last but not least, the acoustic consultant. The most unforgettable event during the set-up was to move the finished block to the venue. The booth is 2.4 meters by 1 meter, which did not fit in the elevator. What we could do is cut them down into three pieces and reinstate them into one. Thanks to each professional party’s collaboration, the acoustic window model booth has gracefully stood at the CIC–Zero Carbon Park from 5th October 2020.

The mock-up acoustic window model is open for a visit when the general public registers a tour with The CIC–Zero Carbon Park in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. 

Video – The making of the acoustic window booth for EPD in Hong Kong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2VpXKLYF0o

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

Engagement concepts embedded in the workplace health and safety

Do you know? Your corporate planning matters to your corporate success. Attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) introduced by the United Nations is a new norm to recognise corporate’s sustainable achievements.

According to the International Labour Organisation, workplace health and safety falls into SDGs of Good Health, Decent Work, Economic Growth, and Peace and Justice. More than a slogan or a report, sustainability aspects are necessary to nurture to support the business. Employees remain as vital human capital in an organisation. Human capital is an intangible asset. International Labour Organisation has alerted us that “the health of workers is a major determinant of productivity” because of “a vicious circle of poor health” leading to “reduced working capacity, and low productivity”.

Can you imagine the potential consequences if you lose your workforce? That costs human lives, your corporate reputation, and that could mean you are breaching the regulations. Occupational health and safety is a global focus. Hong Kong, as a Global Metropolis, has the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance in place. The workplace is identified as “places where employees work”, including factories, construction and offices and more. Workplace health and safety is everywhere for everyone.

So, do not miss the stakeholder engagement in the issue. The issue starts with the work system design, the work procedure, the working environment, and communications. Employers, occupiers, and employees work hand in hand to achieve zero accident and pleasant working conditions.

Planning is a long-term thing; employees’ commitments to OHS is a must-have to achieve the daily safe operation. Establish channels to communicate with your workforce by utilising reliable online and offline communication technologies, activities, and events to raise awareness. Enforce safety procedures. Distribute the lesson learnt. Educate your employees to be competent.

The new way to educating employees is now on the way to 4-dimensional and virtual reality. Virtual reality immerses your employees into the replicated environment that you want to engage them to alert, such as accidental scene; 4-dimensional furnishes your employees the sensation of creating an authentic atmosphere. The changing game has already been applied to work-related training – Environmental Protection Department’s acoustic window 4D VR training is a prime example in Hong Kong. Think about it for health and safety.

Photo above: news reporting about the use of 4D VR in staff training (https://hk.on.cc/hk/bkn/cnt/news/20190419/bkn-20190419021948831-0419_00822_001.html)

What does the future of work mean to you? Materialise in occupational health and safety and produce the working environment that matters.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

We call you at the window sill – how the Father of Noise Control masters the acoustic industry

Video: Interviewing noise control pioneer in Hong Kong featuring K K Iu (Part 1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJRHBjzGdTo)

Commuting is an indispensable part of our daily lives. We love to enjoy the convenience of road development. Simultaneously, we have to endure the full-of-traffic-noise situation. Hong Kong’s enjoy-and-endure environment has formed the unique Hong Kong home design, including many acoustic features that the public may overlook. In the innovation realm, thanks to the creative and practicable solutions, our city is competent in striking a balance from noise-reduction design through architecture, layout, positioning, and innovative building features to ensure our healthy and pleasant living environment. Hong Kong citizens no longer enjoy and endure the road conditions.

We are pleased to see the Hong Kong leadership in initiating the innovative acoustic window in the public housing and the professional acoustic window consultant in bringing the acoustic window to life. As the Father of Noise Control in the Great China Region, Mr. KK Iu, director of Supreme Acoustic, has the expertise in acoustic projects in the private and public sectors. It is our honour to have Mr. Iu here to share with us.

R – Ms. Rachel Tang from ANewR Consulting Limited

K – Mr. K K Iu, Director of Supreme Acoustics Research Ltd

R: Mr. Iu, you are respected as the Father of Noise Control in the Greater China region and have completed many prestigious projects for the Government, Utilities Companies, and many developers. You are always at the forefront of innovation and own many patents. What makes you such a person? How is your journey?

K: I have been in the acoustic industry for almost forty years. When I was a fresh graduate, I was unsure what I wanted to do, but I found acoustics fascinating, motivating me to learn more.

Noise control and acoustics were a very new and developing industry, which I expected I could grow myself in this career path. Time flies, and it is forty years.

If you ask me why I keep working in the acoustic industry, it is all because solving noise problems gives me satisfaction. I would say an acoustic specialist is a doctor alike. A doctor would find out what makes the patient sick. Translating to the acoustic theme, the acoustic specialist helps the clients identify the root cause of noise problems and solve them. 

Every noise problem is a challenge, and we shall continue to learn more advanced and innovative technologies. One of our Company’s core values is unfailing efforts for excellence, which can be proved by getting more than 20 patents.

It is worth noting that most of the projects that my Company handled are noise control projects. We are acoustic specialists providing total solutions to improve people’s quality of life. 

R: What are the main challenges in the whole acoustic windows movement?

K: The first challenge is to develop a testing standard for acoustic windows to suit the Hong Kong requirements. When the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of HKSAR planned to promote acoustic windows ten years ago, there was no agreed testing standard for determining the noise reduction performance for acoustic windows in Hong Kong. We have recently worked with EPD to search for testing standards and methods adopted in other countries and cities. Again we are not able to identify the one which we can ultimately find suitable for Hong Kong. Hence we have to develop a unique one with EPD.

Based on ISO 16283 Part 3, EPD would require the testing to use several loudspeakers to form a line source instead of a single loudspeaker proposed in the testing standard. Testing would also require placing the line source at a different angle of sound incidence to the window instead of at 45 deg, as stated in the testing standard. There are also some other differences from the ISO 16282-3, and we have to conduct more testing to validate the most appropriate testing method for Hong Kong. Again, innovation is the key to get our work done for the people in Hong Kong and will also benefit the people in other cities.

Another challenge is the products itself. The requirement in noise reduction performance of acoustic windows is getting higher and higher. More innovative product development is required.

R: You have a very exciting space shuttle. Can you tell us a little bit more?

K: We have the largest accredited acoustic laboratory, including eight reverberation rooms, a silencer testing rig, and two space shuttles. The space shuttle sounds very mysterious. It is the acoustic window test facility which can improve the efficiency in conducting testing.

Ten years ago, window testing could only be begun after the property development was built up with a mock-up floor available. Testing could only be conducted at night time when there was no construction noise. The test results’ accuracy was not very high since it was difficult to control the noise source and test environment.

With the space shuttle, testing can be conducted in an off-site location and day-time. The space shuttle is built as a mock-up flat that can rotate and raise to different heights; testing can efficiently run for different incidence angles. Space Shuttle is also one of our patent designs. 

R: Recently, in HK, there is a mock-up model of the acoustic windows.

What is the primary aim of this? Who is the target audience?

K: There is always a good thing to spread. The mock-up acoustic window model is all about marketing the acoustic window concept to let more people understand this is an innovative and effective noise control installation to reduce traffic noise propagating into the domestic premises. The target audience is the general public whom we want to educate.

What we observed is that the general public does not know the acoustic windows. When they have a new home with an acoustic window, a great product to reduce the noise entering their home, the new homeowners may not appreciate its function and dismantle the acoustic windows. What a waste it is.

R: As the Hong Kong Institute of acoustics’ former president, what do you think about the acoustics industry’s future? How do you see the position of HK?

K: HKIOA has been established since 1994. Our membership grows from fifty members to now over five hundred members. I am delighted to see the growth of HKIOA, and the members can have chances to exchange knowledge and experience with members in other acoustic institutes worldwide.

I am confident in the acoustic market, full of opportunities in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and the rest of Asia. There is a very high demand for improvement in the quality of life.

R: Can you say a few words to people/students/graduates who would like to join the acoustics field?

K: There are tremendous things to discover in the acoustic industry, just like in the Universe. There are more and more to develop and to understand. The recent development in a new acoustic subject is Soundscape, which combines acoustic science with psychology. Sustainable development is all about the environment and human development. The graduates should have faith in career development in the acoustic area since this is the business to be sustainable.

Video: Interviewing noise control pioneer in Hong Kong featuring K K Iu (Part 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6axMP-qP3g

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

Sustainability pioneer’s advice on meaningful reporting

A report is the means to share data and support decision-making. Reporting influences stakeholders, and increasingly shareholders’ perceptions. Hence, transparency in reporting is crucial for a company to earn stakeholders’ trust and reputation. To prepare ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance), sustainability, as well as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) reports, companies recognise the central role materiality plays. The definitions of materiality are evolving. Significant resources deliver to use; large chunks of data to adapt the context to the definitions set by the reporting authorities, to channel the corporate message. The CEO and top leadership allocate resources to the reporting tasks and, by approving the final document before publication. The top management teams held both publicly and internally accountable for the content. The report identifies the unique story of the company.  The report content is the foundation from which the core message arises and for which the reporting team is responsible for delivering.

The founder of ESG Matters, Dr. Glenn Frommer, is our bearded grandpa of sustainability. His life experience and caring character have earned him this familial title. As the sustainability pioneer, he had partaken in setting up standards such as GRI G4 Reporting Guideline, the AccountAbility 1000AP Standard, and Reporting 3.0. How did he go from being an aerospace student to a sustainability pioneer? What does he think about the difficult part of setting up standards for reporting? Let’s find out more about his journey!

Photo above: Dr. Frommer from ESG Matters

Q1: Hello! Dr. Frommer, I have heard your team call you grandpa. How did you get this title?

A: My sustainability history with my long flurry beard earns me the grandpa’s name of sustainability. I was working on the noise propagation study in the before-computer era in the 70s. It is hard for my young team to imagine all data reduction, slopes, and plotting done by hand calculation. At that time, It took me one year to map one million points on graph paper.

Since then, I have put my effort into NASA’s Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRV) program and NYU medical school pulmonary testing, applying fluid mechanics to breathing. I began my Ph.D. at Stanford University in California in 1973, looking at how the cochlear transformed acoustical signals into electrical ones and how the brain uses the information. Complexity and cutting-edge stuff put me onto the idea of working in a societal area.

My working profile of over twenty-two years in Mass Transit Railway (MTR) consolidated my academic knowledge and my work experiences into sustainability. That is why I got the title of the grandpa of sustainability.

Q2: How had you moved from your aerospace academic background to the sustainability field? Do you see your staying in Hong Kong as one of the turning points?

A: Since my move to Hong Kong in August 1992, I have rooted my ESG matters in this place with no question.

Independence at my young age did an excellent job for me, especially when I started to work on my own as an Environmental Manager in the Projects Division in MTR. Engaging in the project of the longest road in the world and rail suspension bridge and associated rolling stock, I was there to ensure the success of the Lantau and Airport Railway (LAR). The success in terms of my then-position meant zero environmental impacts raised from the LAR projects, having no harm to human lives and biodiversity around the site.

The year 2013 was the turning point of my life – retiring from the position as Head of Sustainability from MTR. I have been talking about sustainability for over twenty-two years. After my retirement, how could I sustain my advisory work and further develop from my experience to my goal of working in a societal area?

In 2014, I founded ESG Matters Limited.

I have never stopped learning, from my academics, from my career, from my life. I have comprehended well about learning during my time in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has an exceptional culture of learning, and we can build on that for sustainable development. We are all far behind what we need to achieve. There are almost no countries capable of providing a sustainable lifestyle with regenerating natural resources for our future generations. The current Covid-19 event is just the first test. Climate change is not far behind; after that, the biodiversity will collapse. There is so much to do and not much time to do it in.

Q3: What is ESG Matters? More than a company name, what do ESG Matters mean to you?

A: Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) matters to our society, our employees, our government, and our investors. ESG is the entire spectrum of environmental and social issues that make our organizations accountable while seeking continual improvement. The establishment of ESG Matters Limited hits right on the rising need for ESG. More than advisories, our team shapes ESG Matters with a commitment to accelerate the pace of ESG through technology. That is our flagship ESG Dashboard.

I am very fortunate to be associated with a young, intelligent, and dedicated team at ESG Matters. Our team has so much to encounter. I am confident that our team will commit to technological progress in the ESG sector.

Q4: As our grandpa, what advice would you like to give to the rising leaders who engage themselves in the sustainability field, in an attempt to develop the practices for their corporation?

A: I am pleased that I have got a chance to set up standards such as GRI G4 Reporting Guideline, the AccountAbility 1000AP Standard, and Reporting 3.0. Setting standards is not difficult. The most challenging part is how to apply these standards to real cases. Questions that we will need to ask are: how and what you would measure, how to compute the numbers, how you record, what you would use to compare the result, how you would use the numbers to reduce the impacts to the acceptable level. These are not easy tasks. The key is to develop the process, implement the systems, and get others to recognize the benefits of doing so.

The development is ever-changing, and big corporations are starting to pay more attention to ESG topics, whether for reputation, ESG reporting, commercial purposes. Leaders will need to focus on the areas which are beneficial to employees and organizations concurrently. When CSR is the initiative, ESG factors revealing the performance in the report. It is necessary to develop productive skills, competencies, and habits through continual learning to the ESG factors to confront the evolving world.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)