China puts energy-efficient, land-saving building development on government agenda

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in his government report delivered at the National People's Congress (NPC) that the government will put the construction of energy-efficient and land-saving houses on the government agenda.

Tu Fengxiang, president of China Building Energy Efficiency Association, said energy-saving buildings will greatly help the country to relive the energy crisis.

The pinched power supply has disrupted not only Chinese manufacturing industry, but ordinary citizens' life. Summer blackouts and winter coal shortages were frequent across China last year.

Household energy consumption, including heating, electricity, and water, accounted for one-third of the country's total, said Tu. Ninety-five percent of China's buildings are |"highly energy-consuming".

Zheng Yijun, former vice construction minister, said creating buildings that use less energy is "urgent." When energy standards are formulated, the government will be able to better supervise new building construction, he said at a recent press conference.

Energy saving building techniques include better insulation and airtight windows, Tu said.

To save more land, buildings could be built with underground parking lots and tilted roofs, so the narrower spaces between buildings will not mean less sunshine in the room, said Tu.

According to statistics from the construction ministry, the cost of a building that saves 60 percent of the energy per unit is only five to seven percent higher than the ordinary buildings.

The ministry recently launched an ambitious plan. By 2020, China will transform all existing buildings into energy-saving ones. New buildings must embrace technology that could save 65 percent more energy per unit.

Good examples have appeared across the country.

In Qiqihar, a city in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, 3.47 million square meters of old buildings have been coated with heat-preserving materials.

In Beijing, apartments in new developments like Moma and Longzeyuan could save between 50 percent to 65 percent of energy per unit.

As of March 1, China began to attach energy labels to air-conditioners and refrigerators, indicating how much energy they consume.

"The label will be applied to more and more household appliance, " said Tu. "By the joint efforts of the government and companies, the whole society will pay increasing attention on energy saving work."



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