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)

The authentic practice

Photos above: 4D virtual reality of noise performance of acoustic window and acoustic balcony for the staff training of Environmental Protection Department of HKSAR

The contemporary corporate organisation facilitates information exchange with communicable, interactive platforms. Remarkably, the digital trend is on the way to provide user-friendly and digitised services and training. How do we utilize this digitalisation in environmental training? 

The visualised, virtual reality (VR) illustration is incredibly practical for a metropolitan situation. One of the city’s striking models is 4D VR environmental training – Our prime example of implementing digitalisation into environmental discipline to turn the historical training practice perfect for the environmental staff.  

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  4-dimensional generation is 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, we have applied the fundamental knowledge of noise and acoustic window and balcony products in the virtual environment into digital tools to create the VR experience with sound effects. Visually being in the 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 imagining the data to a useful background experience. 

We apprehend visual digitalisation in environmental impact training with interactive animation. Next is how to apply an immersive, automatic virtual environment to engage stakeholders to a greater extent.

Video – The 4D movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaLDh6f-yxY

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)

Technology inspired by ESG

It is not hard to see organizations taking International days as one of the topics for communications on social media with their audience. International Women’s Day, World Environmental Day, World Oceans Day are just a few of the examples. When we are looking into the meaning of these International days, they are addressing the area of ESG – Environmental, Social, and Governance.

Photo above: International day promotion (https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6765090475234996224)

ESG is said to be an issue that countries must concern about. United Nations’ Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals set out to urge countries to action and to put effort into raising awareness. For traditional businesses, it is time to rethink their business and management approach; for listed companies, green financing and listing rules would be the points for them to repurpose their strategies. For Start-ups, ESG is a business opportunity.

Photo above: ESG development in the city 

The year 2021 has arrived. Reviewing the past, the year 2020 in Hong Kong is challenging, politically, socially, and economically. Still, the Year 2020 is the Hong Kong Exchange’s 20th Anniversary—Hong Kong’s ESG reporting reaches another milestone this year. After July 1st, 2020, the ESG Guide and related Listing Rules will be enhanced, with some changes being introduced. Two key differences are the amendment of the “Environmental” key performance indicators (KPIs) to require disclosure of relevant targets and the disclosure obligation of all “Social” KPIs to “comply or explain”.

What does it mean? Companies are now required to set the aims of their actions relating to the environmental aspect. “Comply or explain” rules the governance of the companies to address the social issues. Such rules upgrade directs the companies to necessarily care about ESG matter. At operation level, ESG data has to be authentically and recorded and provided for reporting, to communicate with the Investors about how the companies are doing.  

This underlies a business opportunity – ESG data will be stored and reported in a digital format, available for upload and download. This gives rise to an ESG Dashboard – to incorporate the ESG integration and help the listed companies to identify potential process across all ESG activities that can result in long-term value creation. Start-ups become part of the ESG development in igniting the technological change of organizations and societies to empower businesses and individuals to create sustainable positive change. ESG Dashboard is developed to assist listed companies with ESG reporting and risk management.

Photo above: ESG Dashboard

ESG Dashboard streamlines the collection of relevant data and information from the issuer’s business operations, enabling listed companies to monitor their ESG reporting progress. ESG Dashboard converts mass data into presentable environmental and social data which helps with the fulfillment of the requirements. All of these features make ESG Dashboard the indispensable ESG reporting tool.

What do we see for the future after all? Technology improves communication, accelerates the pace of green finance and ESG development, to boost sustainability for business and society as a whole.

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)

Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark

GRES 101 – Essential things you need to know about GRES B assessment and reporting.

What is GRESB? GRES B was formerly known as the “Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark.” Because when it was launched in 2009, its focus was on the real estate sector.

Photo above: What is GRESB? (https://gresb.com)

But now that they cover real assets, including infrastructure, their name is simply “GRES B,” and they no longer break down the letters into words.
GRES B is a mission-driven and investor-led organization providing standardized and validated Environmental, Social and Governance, or ESG data to the capital markets.

Established in 2009, GRES B has become the leading ESG benchmark for real estate and infrastructure investments across the world. The 2020 real estate benchmark covers more than 1,200 property companies, real estate investment trusts or REITs, funds, and developers.

Their coverage for infrastructure includes more than 540 infrastructure funds and assets. Combined, GRES B represents the US $5.3 trillion in real asset value.

The reported ESG data is used by more than 100 institutional and financial investors. To monitor investments across portfolios and understand the opportunities, risks, and choices that need to be made. As the industry transitions to a more sustainable future.

What is a GRES B assessment? And who is it for? GRES B assesses and benchmarks the ESG performance of real assets, providing standardized and validated data to the capital markets.

GRES B Assessments capture information on ESG performance, and sustainability best practices, for real estate and infrastructure companies, funds, and assets worldwide.

The Assessments are guided by what investors and the industry consider to be material issues in the sustainability performance of real asset investments and are aligned with international reporting frameworks, such as GRI, PRI, SAS B, DJSI, TCFD recommendations, the Paris Climate Agreement, UN SDGs, region and country-specific disclosure guidelines.

Each year reporting to the GRES B Assessments generates four ESG benchmarks for the industry. Real Estate Benchmark, Real Estate Development Benchmark, Infrastructure Fund Benchmark, and Infrastructure Asset Benchmark.

Assessment participants receive comparative business intelligence on where they stand against their peers, a roadmap with the actions they can take to improve their ESG performance, and a communication platform to engage with investors.

Investors use the ESG data and GRES B’s analytical tools to monitor their investments, engage with their managers and make decisions that lead to a more sustainable and resilient real asset industry.

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)

Fund for green R&D

How to start a green tech business?

Are you R&D – research and development – people?

Are you thinking of starting up a green tech business in Hong Kong? Do you want to know the priority themes of the HK$200 million Green Tech Fund? Stay tuned.

Getting funding is always vital for startups. If you plan to start up a business in Hong Kong in one of the following five areas, you may consider applying for the Green Tech Fund.

Area one, Decarbonisation and Energy Saving.
In this area, the key priority themes are Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Conservation, Carbon Removal Technologies, and, Hydrogen Economy.

Area two, Green Transport.
In this area, the key priority themes are Promotion of Electric Vehicles and, Giving Second Life to E V Batteries.

Area 3, Waste Management.
In this area, the key priority themes are Plastics Challenge, Facilitating the development of circular economy, Applications of recycled materials from existing and potential Producer Responsibility Schemes in the local context, and technology advancement to increase the efficiency and carbon reduction of the collection and recycling for our recyclables. Reuse &; Recycling of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. Also, Recycling and Treatment of Non-inert Construction Waste Leachate Treatment and Municipal Solid Waste Charging are included.

Area 4, Air Quality.
In this area, the key priority theme is the Monitoring of Air Quality.

Area 5, Water Quality.
In this area, the key priority themes are Mitigation of odour from polluted water channels and near-shore waters, Monitoring and interception of microplastics from emission sources, Remote sensing applications for remediating marine environmental incidents, and, Application of eco-shoreline for enhancing biodiversity and improving water quality.

The local government has set up a HK$200 million Green Tech Fund to fund research and development projects which help Hong Kong decarbonise and enhance environmental protection. Local public research institutions, R&D centres, and private companies undertaking these projects can now get better and more focused funding support. GTF funding support ranges from HK$2.5 million up to HK$30 million per project.

Photo above: Green Tech Fund (https://www.gtf.gov.hk/en/index.html)

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)

A training about acoustic camera for noise control

We are delighted that Mr. James Choi, Director of ANewR Consulting Group, has presented the webinar about Norsonic acoustic camera application to our client. The real-time demonstration in person has made the webinar lively and informative.

In our second-round acoustic camera training, thanks to Mr. James Choi and Miss Jessica Yam for hosting it and answering questions, ensuring smooth running. James had shared many possible acoustic camera applications in different scenarios to give ideas of how to best use the acoustic camera. Do you find the solution to resolve the noise issue around? Talk to us now.

What can acoustic camera help?

Norsonic’s acoustic camera is successfully catching the particular noisy spots from a complex machinery structure, enables engineers to focus on the problematic areas instead of nowhere. The video shows sensing devices eliminate manual examination, which may incite physical harm if the inspection object is a razor-sharp item, such as a chain saw or is equipment operating in extreme conditions.

Check with us for more detail.