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The Energy and Environmental Engineering (EEEN) programme equips students to tackle a broad spectrum of energy issues pertaining to renewable, environmental and building technologies. A broad-based perspective will be adopted in exploring the relations and trade-offs between energy and environment, and in seeking viable solutions to engineering challenges.

In addition to topics in energy principles, technologies and systems, the programme offers interdisciplinary courses co-designed with the Earth System Science programme, the School of Architecture, the Environmental Science programme, and the Department of Geography and Resource Management, exploring with breadth and depth the environmental impact of pollution in urban settings. Students may pursue one of three streams: the Sustainable Energy Technology stream; the Green Building Technology stream; and the Environmental Engineering stream.

Other courses include technical communications, engineering ethics, design application and more. Students may participate in community projects and research with university-based institutes and units on environmental studies and sustainable development. They can also enjoy ample opportunities for summer internships, co-operative education programme, and international exchange programmes.

Diverse career prospects include opportunities in areas of energy systems, environmental monitoring and control, sensor instrumentation, smart and green building technologies, among many others, in the government, electric companies and power grid enterprises, building and construction industries, consulting firms and green groups, renewable technology companies and vehicle industries, and postgraduate studies, to cite a few.

Engineering for a Sustainable Future

Sustainability implies living well within the ecological limits of a finite planet. Nowadays, engineers need to find holistic and effective solutions to protect our fragile planet and meet the needs of a growing human population. The Energy and Environmental Engineering (EEEN) programme at CUHK provides comprehensive exposure to its students to understand the complexities and interrelationships of energy and the environment.

EEEN is designed for engineering-minded students who aspire to help make the world greener and sustainable for future generations. The programme leverages CUHK’s broad academic coverage as a comprehensive research university and the support of the University’s affiliated entities, including the Institute of Environment, Energy and Sustainability (IEES) and the Institute of Future Cities.

‘Our curriculum is a product of academic collaborations between relevant disciplines in the Faculties of Engineering, Social Science, and Science. Students are trained in courses ranging from energy principles, environmental studies, and urban pollution to smart building design and control and energy assessment and management,’ said Prof. Xu Dongyan, Director of EEEN.

The programme provides an interdisciplinary perspective on learning and understanding the relations and trade-offs between energy and the environment and the ensuing engineering challenges in attaining viable solutions. Students acquire fundamental knowledge and problem-solving skills in energy principles, technologies, and systems. They also have the option of electing special courses to meet their interests, leading to the stream designations of

  • Sustainable Energy Technology,
  • Green Energy Technology,
  • Environmental Engineering.

Gordon Ho has just completed his final year in EEEN. He is interested in green technology, stating that ‘Energy is an indispensable part of our society. It has a pivotal and interconnected relationship with the environment.’ Given his enthusiasm for learning the latest green technology development and realisation of the growing need for talents in sustainability in the industry, Gordon chose to study EEEN.

‘EEEN is a multi-disciplinary and diverse programme that allowed me to explore a broad spectrum of energy issues related to renewable, environmental, and building technologies. It covers technical knowledge related to building services, energy efficiency, EIA, and green building design, among other topics.’ In addition to the knowledge and theories learned in the classroom, Gordon appreciates the opportunities to collaborate with students from other majors, which helped to improve his soft skills, as well as the opportunities to conduct hands-on experiments on different advanced technologies. ‘We are also encouraged to apply the knowledge learned in the programme to competitions, projects, and internships.’

‘During my university life, it was my honour to work as an intern at CLP Power Hong Kong Limited and the Airport Authority Hong Kong and be awarded the Champion in the “My Green Space” Student Competition organised by the Hong Kong Green Building Council Limited. These experiences have helped me prepare for my future career,’ Gordon added.

EEEN students are active in faculty-initiated research projects beginning in their second year. These projects often bring them opportunities to collaborate with overseas universities and exchange experiences. Professor Xu added, ‘Our faculty members have strong track records and potential in the latest energy- and environmental-related research. Their teaching and project supervision greatly benefit our students.’

Both classroom teaching and experiential learning are emphasised in EEEN. Since the programme’s inception in 2012, students have been encouraged to participate in the five-week summer industrial training. Professor Xu said, ‘Our students have engaged in either summer internships or the work–study programme. We also motivate them to participate in regional and international competitions by offering financial support. In 2016, our students collaborated with other engineering students to design a solar car, “THE CUE”, and won the Renewable Energy Capture & Conversion Efficiency Award.’ EEEN will continue to seek such opportunities in collaboration with University entities such as the CUHK T Stone Robotics Institute and IEES.

Gordon Ho is also impressed by the learning atmosphere of the EEEN community. ‘With a moderate class size, we have better communication with teachers and therefore have developed harmonious teacher–student relationships.’ EEEN values faculty¬–student interaction. The programme assigns mentors to all undergraduate students to advise them on their studies and the problems they may encounter. The programme has spared no effort in addressing and resolving the issues raised by students in the Staff–Student Consultative Committee. Student representatives are also invited to join EEEN’s departmental meetings and discuss non-confidential matters.

After four years of undergraduate training, EEEN students are well-versed in the current and emerging areas of energy systems, environmental monitoring and control, sensor instrumentation, and smart and green building technologies. Professor Xu said, ‘We envision that our graduates will land jobs in the government, utility companies, energy-related firms, green technology startups, government agencies, and the building design and service sector. They can also pursue postgraduate studies in their specialised areas of interest in Hong Kong or overseas.’

Sustainability is a powerful yet abstract concept. Engineers need to examine the details of natural resources and environmental challenges while designing for sustainability. Gordon’s dream is to design green buildings for a more liveable urban environment. ‘I’ll apply the knowledge acquired in the green building technology stream, where I learnt, for example, that natural ventilation and lighting can reduce energy consumption for air-conditioning, ventilation, and lighting in buildings.’ Steven K. Robert, the author of Computing Across America, said, ‘Art without engineering is dreaming. Engineering without art is calculating.’ At EEEN, one neither dreams nor calculates.

Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2022