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Stars for the energy savers
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Shanghai is to adopt a star-based rating system, similar to that used to rate hotels, to evaluate buildings according to their energy efficiency, said city officials.

"This system will enable ordinary people to know how energy efficient their buildings are,'' Xu Guohua, an official of the Shanghai Construction and Transport Management Commission, said.

In preparation for an evaluation of the city's major buildings, commission officials have already started to survey the number and quality of local structures.

They are also to award certificates to the buildings which are judged the most energy-efficient this year.

The first batch of buildings to be evaluated will be major structures in the central downtown, officials said.

The officials will conduct the evaluation according to the national technical standard of architectural energy-efficiency.

The standard includes the quality of wall materials, windows and the amount of sunshine the building is able to receive, among other criteria.

So far, Shanghai has required all the new constructions to meet national standards and the existing buildings to do the necessary improvements.

The move is part of a national scheme to reduce the country's overall energy consumption.

Being aware of the city's potential power shortages, city leaders have regarded the reduction of energy consumption as a major task over the next five years.

The use of air-conditioning is the single biggest power consumption item in residential buildings, officials said.

Over the past two years, the city government has subsidized the renovation of the city's old houses to make them more energy efficient.

One of the projects is to improve heritage buildings by adding insulation to external walls and roofs and sealing window frames to reduce heat loss.

Most of the houses built before 1949 are in the Huangpu, Jing'an, Luwan, Xuhui and Hongkou districts.

(Shanghai Daily February 13, 2008)

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