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New Homes in Shenzhen to Be Energy Efficient
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The construction of homes in Shenzhen which have low energy efficiency till not be permitted, according to regulations coming to effect tomorrow.

The city government will inspect all new housing projects from tomorrow to ensure they meet the city's three-year-old Energy-Efficiency Standards for Residential Buildings.

Apartments in projects failing to meet the standards will not be allowed to be sold, according to the regulations. They state a developer can be fined 50,000 (US$6,250) to 500,000 yuan for such projects.

The inspection of energy-conservation measures are as important as the inspection of fire-prevention facilities, said Gao Erjian, an official with the municipal construction bureau.

Although the standards have been in place for three years few developers spend extra money on energy-saving facilities -- which could amount to 10 percent of total building costs -- and buyers care more about house prices than energy conservation.

Official statistics show that Shenzhen buildings use about twice as much energy per square meter as those in Shanghai or Beijing and three times as much as those in developed countries.

Energy use, especially in construction, heating, cooling and lighting has shot up in Shenzhen in recent years following the city's construction boom.

Li Ping, director general of the municipal construction bureau, expects the enforcement of the new regulations to save 163 million kilowatt hours of power and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1.85 million tons a year. "It will save 1.5 billion yuan in power use," said Li.

The regulations also require all new buildings with less than 12 floors to be equipped with solar heating systems.

Few Shenzhen houses have such facilities despite the fact that the city has more sunny days than many other Chinese cities and manufactures a large chunk of the world’s solar-powered products.

The city has an ambitious goal for the use of solar energy, however, aiming to equip 20 percent of its new residential buildings with solar heating facilities by the end of 2008 and 50 percent of the new buildings by 2010.

(Shenzhen Daily October 31, 2006)

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