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August 23, 2012

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City to energize conservation with subsidies for efficient construction

SHANGHAI will offer incentives to project owners who adopt energy-efficient design and technologies in new buildings starting next month under a new local regulation.

The plan calls for the government to pick up 30 to 50 percent of the extra construction cost incurred as a result of greener building techniques, said Shanghai Construction Commission officials.

The initiative will be supported by a new local law taking effect on September 15, officials said. To encourage more builders to adopt greener designs and materials, the law stipulates that future building projects meeting the city's green-architecture standards will receive a government subsidy of up to 60 yuan (US$9.45) per square meter in construction costs.

Xu Qiang, general engineer with the Shanghai Institute of Building Science, said adopting greener methods means buildings will have construction costs 5 to 10 percent higher than ordinary. The future government subsidy will cover 30 to 50 percent of the extra cost after the law takes effect.

"Such a level of support for energy-saving building projects is unprecedented," said Qin Yun, deputy director with the construction commission yesterday at a news conference.

Meanwhile, penalties are also being developed by the government to use against building property managers who fail to keep their energy consumption efficient.

Officials said that in near future, managers of large public buildings will face a higher rate for the part of their power bills surpassing reasonable usage limits. A government monitoring network is being expanded to help gather information to help tailor the future limits.

The system connected to these buildings reports to a government control center on real-time electricity consumption, sorted for such functions as elevators and air conditioning. Officials said loopholes and deficiencies in a building's power use could be easily detected. The center has already warned many building managers of problems spotted by the system, leading to renovations that have saved energy.

"Many hotels have already been informed and fixed their energy-use problems through streamlined management or using greener products," said Ye Qian, an official with the government monitoring center.

More than 200 such buildings are now covered by the platform and by 2015, plans call for all major public buildings to be monitored.

Utility experts said that large public buildings - meaning those covering more than 20,000 square meters - consume energy at a rate nearly five times as great as residential buildings.


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