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January 29, 2012

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Model 'green' building opens to the public

CHONGMING County is building itself into an eco-island and it begins the new year with two major developments: an operational electric bus line between the old and new towns and a just-opened "green" demonstration building in Chenjia Town.

Promoting alternative energy sources and sustainable, low-carbon development are essential in the development blueprint of the scenic, alluvial island at the mouth of the Yangtze River.

By 2015, plans call for implementing the first part of a low-carbon transport system, business operations and supporting infrastructure.

A high-end, low-carbon community will be at the heart of Chenjia Town, which itself is being built on environmentally sustainable principles.

An eight-stop electric bus line has officially started operation in a demonstration project that is expected to be expanded. The local government invested 700 million yuan (US$110 million) last year to convert 10 petrol-fueled buses into electric buses.

The buses run the distance without needing to stop and recharge. It's considered a good option for commuters.

The goal of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) is to gradually establish a low-emissions and low-consumption society. Energy-saving standards are higher, while permitted levels of pollution lower. Popularizing clean-energy vehicles, bicycle, car and public transport is a major goal.

In Dongtan area, which contains a major wetland, there are 13 wind turbine generators, saving 15,000 tons of standard coal a year, thus reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and other greenhouse gases.


Chenjia Town, a new development, is a highlight of Chongming Island. The town lies on the east, in the estuary of the Yangtze River and is a gateway to Shanghai.

The town is taking shape and is based on principles of sustainable development, strict pollution control, utilization of alternative energy resources and environmental protection.

The town is now laid out in nine sections - including residential, light-manufacturing, commercial, public service and administration, education and so on - all separated from each other by forest, wetlands, lakes and agricultural land. It represents a new pattern of town development and urban development.

At the center of the town is the super low-energy consumption demonstration building, which is now open to the public. It is considered a model of the town's eco-friendly development and officials say it is the first in the city of Shanghai.

The five-story structure utilizes alternative energies (solar, wind, geothermal and others) and saves 75-80 percent of energy consumption; it reuses more than 50 percent of its own energy. It uses environmentally sustainable building materials, such as permeable sidewalks, and techniques that draw on the best domestic and international experience. It recycles water and waste and collects rainwater and uses it. The building utilizes its surroundings and landscaping to create an ecosystem - a community of interacting plants, animals and organisms - using natural local vegetation, soil and organisms.

The building is filled by natural light and naturally ventilated with a wind tower.

At the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, some of the features of the Dongtan eco-building were showcased. Now they have been applied to construction of a low-carbon community in Chenjia Town.

It was designed by the Shanghai Modern Architecture Design Institute.


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