The HKUST Guangzhou Energy Center focuses on performance and flexibility, reducing the campus reliance on outside energy supply, increasing resilience, and enabling advanced operation controls using real-time energy data.
Three buildings, a data center, a district energy center, and a fire services center, make up the university’s energy complex, providing chilled and hot water for all buildings on campus and supporting its long-term carbon neutrality goal. The systems present include high-performance chillers and associated cooling towers, generators and electrical support systems, and a campus-scale heat recovery system. The latter uses waste heat from data center cooling to provide over 95% of all hot water needs on campus. Where possible, the buildings include PV panels to harness solar power, and all critical infrastructure is elevated above the 200-year flood level to enhance resilience.
The three buildings serve as a single entity by design. As student housing overlooks the energy center, the buildings are soundproofed where possible with roofs designed as a fifth façade. Crafted to be porous in composition, the buildings feature a gridded façade textured with striated metal, serving as ventilation for the machinery, and glass, to display the internal systems at work. The grids are block-colored and change appearance depending on where the viewer stands.
Beyond the buildings’ technical functions, the energy center provides education and innovation opportunities, furthering the campus’ vision of a “living lab.” Students can access real-time data on the campus energy performance, and conduct research or teaching in the lab spaces within the center.