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A cleaner tomorrow

By Li Qiaoyi (Global Times)

08:35, April 26, 2012

The sight of lush, verdant areas might be expected for a European-style villa development, but it's rather less common for such buildings to be part of an advanced demonstration project showing China's determination to shift to a low-carbon economy.

Sitting in the Wujin High-Tech Industrial Zone of Changzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, the villa cluster built on an area of 18,000 square meters has applied a variety of energy-saving solutions to achieve zero carbon emissions. The villas all have smart roof ventilation, thermal isolation walls providing unidirectional airflow and specific technologies to deal with waste discharge.

The local government-backed project, involving roughly 200 million yuan ($31.72 million) of investment, is the key part of a low-carbon demonstration area measuring 27.8 square kilometers within the industrial zone, Xie Lei, a project manager of the management committee of the high-tech industrial zone, told a group of reporters during a press trip to the coastal province organized by the State Council Information Office last week.

The project is not just a showcase for the local government's zero carbon ambition, but is also expected to be economically successful, said Xie.

"The cost price of the villas is estimated to be around 12,000 yuan per square meter, and we reckon the sales prices should be at least 20,000 yuan per square meter," he said, adding that there had already been a number of enquiries about the villas from all over the country.

Change of focus

The nation's desire to push low-carbon industries is reflected in various green building projects as well as industries featuring low-carbon emissions such as new-energy cars and environmentally friendly modern services. Efforts are also continuing to shut down energy inefficient and polluting industrial projects like steel plants, cement factories and coal-mining companies.

One area that is favored by the government as a low-carbon sector is the cultural creative industry, said Piao Yunping at the Administrative Committee of Changzhou Creative Industries Park, which has gathered companies specializing in fields such as cartoons, software and advertising.

The Suzhou Industrial Park, another major industrial zone of Jiangsu Province, is also an area showcasing how the coastal province is pursuing its low-carbon mission.

AU Optronics (Suzhou) Corp in the Suzhou Industrial Park, a subsidiary of the Taiwan-based manufacturer of flat screen displays, is one of the companies that have gained capital support from the local government for working on low-carbon projects.

"It would be hard to say the energy-saving efforts can help boost business revenue for the time being, but the company's response to the low-carbon initiative shows its corporate responsibility, and can improve its image," said Wu Cheng-hua, senior manager of the Suzhou subsidiary.

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