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English>>China Society

Cozy house warms hearts in winter

By Wu Yong, Han Junhong, and Zhou Huiying (China Daily)

10:06, October 25, 2012

Construction workers install insulation on an old building at Changchun, Jilin province, on Oct 11. More than 480,000 residents have benefited from the Warm House project in the city since the initiative was launched in 2010. Liu Xiao / China Daily

For Meng Fanxing, 67, it will be his first warm winter in nearly 20 years thanks to the local government's Warm House project, a program that provides heating to elderly residents.

"The project not only warms my apartment but also my heart," said Meng, a retired worker who lives in Changchun's Blue Sky Community.

Meng and his wife have lived in the community for 17 years but were forced to suffer freezing temperatures because their apartment building is too old to keep warm in winter. Meng complained that he had to wear a sweater at home because the indoor temperature is about 18 C.

The community's secretary, Gao Fengzhi, explained that the oldest building in the community was built in 1947 and even the newest building is more than 30 years old. Most people living in the 7,134 households are retirees from State-owned enterprises.

Changchun is one of the old industrial bases in northeastern China and temperatures can plunge well below -20 C in winter. It houses many elderly communities, such as Blue Sky, that have no central heating and poorly insulated housing.

The local government has invested $448 million to renew the heating system and install insulation in old buildings over the past two years. The project has benefited 270,000 families, accounting for a third of the urban population.

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