Monday, May 19, 2014

APAY Green YMCA Award 2013

The APAY Green YMCA Award for the year 2013 was declared during the Executive Committee Meetings of APAY during 5-7 March 2014. The Green YMCA Award was presented to the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong and YMCA Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

Mr. Karl Lau, General Secretary of the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong and Mr. Ron Mell, National General Secretary of the National Council of YMCAs of Australia, received the crests on 5th of March during the Welcome Dinner for the ECM delegates hosted by the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong.

With a view to recognize and reward the YMCAs who are engaged in green activities in our region, the APAY Green Team has launched the APAY GREEN YMCA AWARDS from the year 2013. The YMCAs of our region were invited to participate in this award program. From now onwards this will be an annual event of APAY.

With great interest the APAY Green Team observed and scrutinized the environmental initiatives of the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong in their collective efforts to make this world greener. The Green Team has been successful in implementing numerous environmental programs which has helped the YMCA facilities to be eco-friendly and reduce carbon footprints of the YMCA at large.

The activities of the Green Team of the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong are praiseworthy. Project Zero in Wu Kwai Youth Village had played a major role in paving its way towards making the site carbon free. The renewable energy equipment and energy saving appliances installed at the site have saved several hundreds of thousands of kilowatts of electricity in a year and reduced hundreds of tons of carbon dioxide emission. The constant monitoring system of the carbon emissions is also commendable.

Various campaigns organized by the Green Team like the  ‘No Plastic Bottle Day Road Show’ in the railway stations, ‘No Plastic Day’, ‘No Air Con Night’, ‘Zero Carbon Living Day Camp’, where numerous people from various quarters of the city have participated. Study Tour for the youth members to Malaysia to assess the environmental impacts of the tropical rain forest have enhanced the capacity of the youths to understand the reasons of the depletion of nature. These environmental endeavors are great learning experiences for us the YMCAs of this region and beyond.

The Chinese YMCA have already earned a number of recognitions from various governmental and non-governmental organizations for their relentless efforts to make this world an environmentally safe place to live in and the Green Team of Asia & Pacific Alliance of YMCAs also joined them to recognize the environmental efforts of the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong with presenting them the APAY Green YMCA Award of the year 2013.

In 2013, YMCA Geelong, of Victoria, Australia have focused on its environmental credentials.  The YMCA Geelong site Camp Wyuna is a pilot site of the Spark, Energy for Change program which is coordinated by the Australian Conservation Foundation. Fifteen members of the staff of the Geelong YMCA have formed the Green Team, who have been trained and entrusted to undertake energy audits of the site and recommend efficiency measures to reduce its carbon footprints. This Green Team has also been entrusted to perform energy audits in seven Spark pilot projects throughout Victoria. The Green Team of YMCA Geelong has also been actively engaged on site to undertake energy efficiency measures in the YMCA facility.

The Camp Wyuna have installed solar panels which cover 25% of the camp’s daily energy, utilizes harvest rain water for the camp, ensures reduced usage of heaters, ensured light management to reduce energy consumption. They have changed  existing lights to LED lights. The Camp Wyuna have embraced education around energy use as a part of camp programs. The camp has been using its vegetable garden and composting site.

All these efforts of YMCA Geelong, have played a pivotal role in reducing carbon emissions and transformed it to a model YMCA for environmental practices. APAY  hopes that such environmental initiatives of YMCA Geelong shall be followed by other YMCAs of our region. The APAY Green Team in recognition and praising the green activities of YMCA Geelong presented the APAY Green YMCA Award for the year 2013 to YMCA Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

APAY Green Ambassador Training, Taipei, Taiwan

A Green Ambassadors Training was held in Taipei, Taiwan from 8th to 11th April 2014.Mr. Colin Lambie, member of the APAY Green Team conducted the training. The topics covered in the training included: Climate Change Science, energy basics, energy audit, energy efficiency, carbon emissions and carbon audit, renewable energy, in particular solar PV, good practices of other YMCAs (SPARK project with ACF, Geelong, Bendigo and Hong Kong), environmental advocacy, Green Teams and Green Team objectives and actions. About 12 participants attended all of the training. Another 2 or 3 people attended some of the training. The participants were mostly staff members of the YMCAs.

Prior to the training starting, Mr. Lambie was able to visit the Taiwan National Stadium, Kaohsiung, built for the World Games in 2009. It includes 8000 solar PV panels.He was able to get information on costs of electricity (tariffs), LED lighting and solar PV in Taiwan. These were very useful for customising the presentations to local Taiwan costs, etc.

He also visited a couple of YMCAs in Taipei and was able to use the electricity, gas and water usage data for one branch for the carbon audit. The carbon footprint calculator on Taiwan EPA web site ( which included emissions for electricity, gas and water particular to Taiwan was utilized, which made explanation easier for participants. The APAY Carbon Footprint calculator was also described, because it includes emissions from flights and waste as well.

Mr. Gilbert Chin and Mr. Charlie Chen, from the YMCAs of Taiwan assisted in hosting the training program. We thank the Taiwan YMCA for hosting this program and the Y’s Men International to support the travelling cost of Mr. Colin Lambie.