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Energy Conservation in Focus

A dozen Chinese city mayors and their representatives came together to explore ways of tackling the traffic congestion and excessive energy consumption suffocating city development.

At yesterday's International Mayors Forum on Sustainable Urban Energy Development, the city fathers gleaned valuable experience from overseas experts and city governors about managing transportation systems.

Xu Kuangdi, head of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, yesterday urged city mayors to improve energy efficiency in buildings.

They consume 30 per cent of the total energy in China, a percentage in keeping with its increased urban acceleration.

But less than 5 per cent of new buildings in the country have adopted energy-saving designs and materials, said Xu.

The average energy consumption of buildings in China is up to three times that of those in developed countries. Should the current situation continue, China will not be able meet energy demands, he said.

"The buildings, compared to the industrial and transportation sectors, have greater potential to save energy at lower costs," said Xu.

Even by replacing existing lights with energy-saving bulbs, China can save the equivalent amount of electricity generated annually by the Three Gorges Dam Project, the world's largest hydropower project.

Effective measures include adopting energy-conservation designs in new buildings, developing new materials to improve energy efficiency, imposing energy-conservation standards on home appliances, and promoting consumption of renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, said Xu.

Transportation is another topic high on the agenda of the two-day seminar. Mayoral representatives from Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming and Chengdu highlighted the Bus Rapid Transit system as an effective way to improve public transport, ease traffic jams and save energy.

The system, which combines the features of both rail and conventional buses, can move more people, with subway efficiency, at lower costs.

(China Daily November 11, 2004)

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