Department of Building Services Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy / Master of Philosophy
Sept 2020 Entry
The Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) was officially established in December 1981, and has become one of largest BSE departments worldwide. As a leading provider of trained professionals in building services for the unique environment of Hong Kong, research in BSE focuses on the quality of the environment, energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, the safety and resilience of buildings to effectively address the contemporary concerns and future challenges of urban environments. Its core mission is to devise and improve engineering systems to promote the health and well-being of building occupants by providing sanctuary from the elements and from the extremes of temperature, noise, light, toxins and pathogens at the lowest cost in energy and resources. It offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes serving the needs of local industry at various levels.
The research in the Department is comparable to that in reputed universities worldwide on the discipline of Building Environment, as evidenced by the research output of a notable international ranking organisation. The expertise of BSE academic staff spans a wide range of areas, including aspects of sustainability; building energy, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems; fire and safety engineering; electrical technology; public health; indoor environmental engineering; architectural engineering; computer-aided design and facilities management.
A full range of facilities and equipment are available in the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) to support teaching, research and consultancy work. The specialist facilities include the following.
This lab is equipped with all essential and advanced equipment for the study and measurement of sound and vibration (both indoor and outdoor). There is an acoustics testing chamber that conforms to ISO/BS/ASTM standards for testing sound transmission loss, sound absorption and machine sound power.
Building Energy and Automation Research Laboratory
The Building Energy and Automation Research Laboratory facilitates research on building energy efficiency and the use of modern IT/computing technologies to improve building energy performance. It has developed a building system online performance simulation platform and a building automation control and diagnosis strategy online test platform, in addition to various tools for building performance diagnosis and optimisation. Developing and managing a centralised energy monitoring and assessment platform to monitor and control the energy performance of PolyU’s campus buildings, the lab also helps many local developers and building owners to develop optimal and energy-efficient control strategies and optimised control instrumentation solutions to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.
Design and Development Centres
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and drafting forms an important part of the Department’s teaching programmes. The facilities in our Design and Development Centres include the latest Pentium computers and various plotting and printing facilities linked by a LAN. Peripherals include scanners, digitisers, large plotters and various printing facilities. It also provides computing facilities for our BSE students.
Electrical Services Laboratory
Facilities in the electrical services lab are suitable for testing and commissioning electrical installations, testing electrical equipment, conducting power quality analyses (harmonics, transients, etc.) and electro-magnetic field measurements and lightning detecting and monitoring systems, among others.
Fire Engineering Laboratory
There are two fire chambers that are well-equipped with instruments such as thermocouples, velocity sensors, oxygen analysers and gas analysers for conducting measurements in full-scale burning tests. Fire protection systems are installed for studying system performance. Wind tunnels are available for evaluating the thermal sensitivities of sprinkler heads and fire detectors.
Air conditioning systems provide comfortable interior thermal environments for building occupants. The process involves the removal of heat and humidity by different types of air handling equipment. Fans are used to distribute the conditioned air to various interior zones of a building through air ducts. In the HVAC lab, students can study the operating characteristics of fans and the air-flow disturbance along an air duct using the Fan Test Rig and the Air Duct and Damper Test Rig. Other experimental equipment includes a Refrigeration Laboratory Unit, a Bench Top Cooling Tower and an Air Conditioning Laboratory Unit.
Indoor Air Quality and Thermal Comfort Laboratory
Most of the test rigs in this lab are portable, comprising various gas analysers, temperature, humidity and air flow sensors for measurements in occupied spaces, on air-side systems, etc. The manikin is an important piece of equipment for investigating thermal comfort and indoor air quality. Integrated analysis of the data in different areas such as thermal comfort, indoor air quality and subjective human responses can be carried out.
Indoor Air Quality (Bioaerosal) Laboratory
The BSE Bioaerosols Laboratory at Biological Safety Level 2 (BSL-2) is equipped with a Class II biological safety cabinet, as stated in the “Guidelines on Biosafety in the Clinical Laboratory” issued by the Department of Health (2005). Scientists and technicians have expertise in a wide variety of technical areas, including:
- Bacterial growth analysis and experimental synthesis
- Quantification and identification
- Biofilms and bioaerosols
- Controlled biological systems
- Field and environmental sampling/collection
- Influence of ventilation on airborne microorganism dispersal and deposition
- Evaluation of air disinfection devices
The lab is also equipped with a wide range of bioaerosol sampling facilities for laboratory and field studies, including single stage impactors, Anderson samplers, biotest RCS plus, an incubator and an autoclave.
Intelligent Building Laboratory
The Intelligent Building (IB) Laboratory facilities include a comprehensive Honeywell IB system, a full set of Schneider automation systems, a variety of measurement instruments for building energy auditing and high-performance computers. The Honeywell and Schneider systems are fully integrated systems, and support different open system communication standards such as BACnet, LonWork and Modbus. The IB lab provides test facilities for teaching and learning as well as for R&D on intelligent building technologies, the development of advanced building system control, energy management, diagnosis strategies and communication software.
The Lighting Lab’s goniophotometer, integrating sphere and spectroradiometer help to characterise various photometric (e.g., luminous flux, luminous intensity distribution) and colorimetric (e.g., spectral power distribution, correlated colour temperature, chromaticity coordinates, CIE Colour Rendering Index, IES TM-30-15, etc.) quantities for light sources and luminaires. The High Dynamic Range Imaging System allows us to perform luminance and glare analyses for exterior and interior luminous environmental assessments. In addition, the 14-channel spectrally tunable LED lighting system, spectroradiometer, spectrophotometer and standard viewing booth allow us to simulate different lighting conditions and to perform colour characterisation using different materials and surface colours.
Lightning Physics and Protection Laboratory
This lab facilitates research on the formation, detection of and protection from lightning. It includes various instruments specially designed for lightning research, such as slow and fast antennae and a magnetic loop antenna for measuring lightning-caused electric fields, a lightning location system, high-speed camera, broadband interferometer system and lightning current measuring system. It also includes various instruments for general use, such as high-speed oscilloscopes and data recorders. Due to the nature of lightning, these instruments are usually installed in fields outside the lab for experiments during the summer. The lab also has various sets of software for modelling lightning processes.
Low-carbon Building Technology Laboratory
The Low-carbon Building Technology Laboratory consists of a stainless-steel cladded environmental chamber the size of a typical office, and a stand-alone air-conditioning system equipped with three thermal manikins and temperature, aerosol and VOC sensors. The lab accommodates a variety of experimental studies.
Multi-Function Chamber Laboratory
The Multi-Function Chamber Laboratory is equipped with a main heating and cooling plant comprising a chiller, a boiler, hot and chilled water pumps, an air handling plant and a main supervisory control and data acquisition centre. The temperature, relative humidity and airflow within the chamber can be precisely controlled over a wide range of set-point conditions for various precision measurements.
Piped Services Laboratory
This lab provides facilities for testing and commissioning water supply and drainage systems for buildings. Bench-scale test rigs are set up to assess the performance and efficiency of various system components.
Renewable Energy Laboratory
Established in August 2014, the lab enables fundamental and applied research on solar energy materials and green building materials in collaboration with industry and leading academic institutions, providing advanced and innovative technological solutions for the generation of renewable energy and a sustainable built environment.
Solar Simulation Laboratory
The lab provides facilities for testing solar energy devices for thermal and photovoltaic applications. The solar simulator is mainly used for the research and development of solar energy applications in buildings, product tests of solar energy equipment and heat loss measurements of various building façade elements and devices.