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Echoing the Expo theme "Better City, Better Life,'' the World Expo 2010 attaches great importance to making urban live greener and healthier.

In particular, "Ever since we began the Expo planning in 2003, we have made it top priority to construct green buildings and make the whole Expo site energy saving and environmentally friendly,'' said Huang Jianzhi, vice director of Shanghai World Expo. He spoke at the 2008 Green Building and Energy Efficiency International Conference last week.

The conference was co-organized by McGraw-Hill Construction and the Shanghai Green Building Council.

As green examples, Huang cited the main Expo buildings under construction. They demonstrate advanced green technologies plus some typical Shanghai features.

Take the Theme Pavilion showcasing innovative urban living situations.

One feature is the "laohuchuang'' in its roof, the vertical windows in a sloping roof that are commonly seen in traditional Shanghai houses.

What's more, solar panels are integrated into the roof shingles and the roof alone has an electrical generating capacity of 2.56 megawatts, said Huang.

Besides, walls on the east and west of the pavilion will be covered with green plants that will be watered with water-saving drip irrigation.

As the Expo site lies on both sides of the Huangpu River, the river is another important energy resource for the Theme Pavilion, Expo Center, Performance Center, China Pavilion and other construction.

Amazing as these technologies are, given the regional limitations of their application as well as huge cost (each of the main buildings costs well over 1 billion yuan, or US$146 million), the Expo's green buildings can be expected to play no more than an exemplary role in the near future.

But not all green green Expo technologies are for show. Many of the technologies in the 2010 "Eco-House'' are expected to be widely applicable soon.

The Eco-House is one of China's contributions to the Urban Best Practices Area, one of the most striking Expo features demonstrating how cities have creatively grappled with urban problems.

"By building the energy-saving, environmental friendly Eco-House, our objective is to advocate 'LOHAS', the lifestyle of health and sustainability,'' said Wang Wei, senior chief engineer of the Shanghai Research Institute of Building Sciences.

About 70 percent of the green technologies in the Eco-House uses can be widely applicable, while the other 30 percent are forward-looking.

The house is a four-storied building that consists of eight apartments, specially designed for singles, core families, the elderly and others. It will be solar- and wind-powered and geothermally heated.

The lift in the house is designed to store part of the potential energy that it releases as it goes downward.

Although the percentage of energy stored by the four-storied building is low, in buildings over 20 stories high, the technology means a savings of as much as 30 percent, says Wang.

The construction materials are special: About 70 percent are made from waste coal ash and slag powder. Made with new technologies, they are stronger than regular materials.

"Shanghai is not rich in any material resources but urban waste. So we designed a slogan: "Wastes are misplaced resources,'' Wang joked.

By demonstrating that conception on the Eco-House, Wang expects that today's urban wastes may soon become desirable construction materials.

(Shanghai Daily September 25, 2008)

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