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New rules introduced for nation's eco-homes
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The country's first environmental housing standards will take effect in November in a move to save energy.


They will help reduce energy consumption by about 58 percent - a basic requirement by the country.


The standards, issued by the State Environmental Protection Administration in July, deal with technical adoption and inspection measures for the design and delivery of eco-houses.


They will apply for the lifespan of a house, from construction, materials used, maintenance, repairs to demolition.


They focus on five areas - the surrounding environment, energy conservation, indoor environmental quality, water consumption, and recycling.


For example, at least 25 percent of a housing estate's water supply must be produced through the recycling of wastewater from kitchens. And more than 15 percent of the water supply must be recycled through the use of saving devices.


As for indoor air quality, an eco-house must use as much natural lighting as possible, be soundproof, and use environmentally friendly construction materials.


"The standards will not only boost energy consumption and technological innovation, but also help protect the environment," Chen Yanping, director of the environmental development center of SEPA, said yesterday.


The first housing estate to apply the standards will be King Wai City Oasis in Shanghai.


The president of the China Housing Industry Association, Nie Meisheng, said: "Real estate developers in the past were not interested in building eco-houses due to the cost factor.


"But since the country now requires all new housing estates to cut energy consumption by 50 percent by 2010 compared with that of the 1980s, developers have become increasingly interested in using green technology in the construction of houses."


She said the use of new technology was boosting competitiveness among real estate developers.


Nie said the energy and water savings would increase construction costs by 8.9 percent.


She said the increase in construction costs would not push up housing prices.


However, some experts are concerned estate developers will use eco-houses as an excuse to increase prices.


(China Daily September 25, 2007)


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