During a visit to the Future House USA in Beijing on July 16, 2009, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu both expressed their strong will for such projects of green cooperation between nations.
US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke (2nd L) and Energy Secretary Steven Chu (2nd R) make a visit to the Future House USA in the Changping District of Beijing, July 16, 2009. [Wang Wei/China.org.cn]
The Future House USA, or the America House, has been getting great support from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology. Designed in 2006, it was financed by Tao Yongxin, a professor with the College of Engineering and Computing at Florida International University, and George Bialecki, founder of Chicago-based Alternative Energy Living Foundation (now Learn Green Foundation). Future House USA works as a demonstration project to present US building energy efficiency ideas to Chinese builders and government officials.
Locke believes the joint measures China and the US are taking will help the two countries to lead the world to a greener future. "We really appreciate such green cooperation with China. America should act as a leader to save energy, so should China and every country in the world. And of course, we can," he said.
According to Professor Tao, Chu even proposed during the visit to expand the project in the years to follow. "We can take a whole community as our experimental unit. All the houses are built with green properties. By enjoying them personally, these residents can have their own words to say," Tao said.
Tao indicated that the design of the house reflects the integration of Chinese Feng Shui elements and architectural innovations made by Frank Lloyd Wright. It also incorporates the design principles of "Home Biology 101TM," developed by Bialecki. The principles address energy efficiency, indoor air quality, storm water management, reduced water consumption and recycling.
According to Bialecki, the house, which is built with an open-view mechanical room and exposed building components, was built to commercial standards to accommodate large groups of visitors and students for demonstration, research and collaborative educational purposes.
"As for the cost, this home is actually very typical," Bialecki said. "Maybe 20 percent more than a conventional house. But remember, you are doing the very best investment. Every dollar you put in, it's almost five dollars you get in out of the house. From the energy standpoint, you have achieved a great reduction of energy. If you want to resell it, that will mean more value."
Future House USA is just one of the ten houses in the Future House Demonstration Park, located in the Changping District of Beijing. The other nine countries include Canada, China, Japan, Germany, Korea, Spain, Sweden, UK and Italy.
Locke emphasized that the Future House USA tells a successful story of the international collaboration among industry, academia, government and private foundations in seeking innovative solutions to take home-building technology to the next level.
After leaving the house, Locke made a trip to the Wal-Mart Wangjing Green Store in Beijing. Striving to establish the first "Green Supermarket" standard in China, the Wal-Mart Green Store has adopted innovative energy saving and environmental protection measures to push forward the implementation of high efficiency retail stores.