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August 16, 2011

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Home » Metro » Environment

Most public buildings violating cool-air law

SOME 63 percent of downtown buildings are being kept too cool in summer, violating an energy-saving law, a city government survey shows.

Government officials say the energy could otherwise be used to ease the power supply gap for households and other first-priority users such as hospitals and schools.

To ease the growing shortfall, which is most acute during the summer, the local government has ruled that commercial, office and other public buildings must keep their air temperature at or above 26 degrees Celsius. The estimated peak power load this summer has grown by 7 percent from a year earlier, continuing a growth trend.

The rule, enacted years ago, is now getting the attention of the city's energy-saving supervision center.

In a survey started on July 1 and completed yesterday, the monitoring watchdog paid undercover visits to 219 public buildings, such as hotels, office buildings and shopping malls, in nine downtown districts.

Officials discovered that 63 percent of the property managers were running their air conditioning lower than 26 degrees, with an average measurement of 25.5 degrees.

The watchdog said hotels performed the worst with less than 30 percent meeting the standard. Officials said some upscale hotels preferred to keep their lobbies and other public spaces cool enough to please the residents but said the practice is not worth it.

Watchdog officials said yesterday that they were now installing remote-control monitoring devices to catch future violators and would start handing out penalties. The amount of fines has not yet been specified.

Places such as hotels and high-end shopping malls will bear the focus of the upgraded monitoring attention, the watchdog said.

Not all agree with the rule.

Some property managers said that because of the structure of their buildings, they had to keep the air conditioning lower than 26 degrees to ensure all sections are cool enough.


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