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Overall Goal

With the rapid growth of the Chinese economy, increased efficiency of energy use in China is an important element of a strategy to achieve sustainable world development. It is projected that future buildings in China will consume about one-third of the total energy. The aim of this project is to identify new technologies and applications of existing technologies that will significantly increase the efficiency of new and renovated Chinese buildings. In addition, the strategies for energy efficiency must be appealing to Chinese builders and consumers, and they must be made aware of the advantages in using the strategies. Our focus is on residential buildings in large Chinese cities beginning with Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

The largest obstacle to the improvement in building energy efficiency is the lack of means to encourage widespread adoption of efficient measures. The focus of this work will be on the design, prototype testing and evaluation of a very promising avenue to facilitate efficient, sustainable buildings. A demonstration project will be used as an initial, sustainable, prototype in a large-scale housing development. In this development, we will be working closely with members of Shenzhen Vanke Technology Corporation and members of their design institute, for a residential project in Shenzhen that should provide housing for approximately 1000 units. This proposal is for the planning, support and monitoring of the demonstration. If successful, the sustainable designs will be used on succeeding buildings within the housing project and the concept of demonstration buildings established for other major projects. The potential impact on urban housing within China could be extensive.

The demonstration will rely heavily on passive and natural techniques, one of the most promising means to achieve sustainable, energy efficient buildings. The proposed work will first evaluate such measures and develop the key design rules for their use. Promising systems will then be included in demonstration buildings in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. This effort will involve collaboration of researchers from MIT, ETHZ, EPFL, University of Tokyo, Tsinghua University, and Tongji University.


In the initial stages of this project, our goals were focused on the acquisition of projects and coordination with interested Chinese parties. In the last year, we have continued to foster the relationships by continued sharing of knowledge through conferences, meetings, and open communication. In addition, we have been working on several design projects that have resulted from such contact and coordination.

The schematic design for Shenzhen was completed in the summer of 2000. Consisting of a 20,000 square meter site, and 30,000 square meters of floor area, this project involved design at the scale of units as well as site planning. In addition, several strategies for different areas of the site were developed. Buildings at the northern edge were designed with reduced surface area and augmented wall construction due to noise from a railway to the north. Units to the east were oriented east-west to allow winds from the east to penetrate into the site. Buildings along the west were oriented north-south to increase pressure differences and induce air to travel through the units. More importantly, due to intense heat gain in the summer, shading devices and overhangs were integrated into the elevation and plan designs. The final scheme was presented at two meetings in Shenzhen in May and July of 2000 that included the entire MIT faculty working on this project. Members of the developer's staff were very interested in the coordination of design and technologies - effective for energy conservation and sustainable design. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2001.

In addition, we have concluded the schematic portion of the design process for two other projects. Beijing Star Garden, a scheme for four high-rise towers, was completed in February. The design consisted of four 30-story buildings at the northern edge of the site of the Asian Games in Beijing. The primary considerations of design were determined by social and climactic factors. Due to the site layout - existing buildings and winds from the east and south, the buildings were designed to promote natural ventilation through apartments. In addition, duplex and single-story apartments allowed for reduced circulation in and the creation of floor-through apartments. This served two functions. Apartment could experience natural ventilation due to pressure differences between north and south elevations. Also, a skip-stop elevator stopping every 3 floors would conserve energy as well as encourage social spaces for communities consisting of three-story groups. The project was a collaborative project between MIT and Tsinghua University.

Our design for three mid-rise buildings in Shanghai's Taidong Residential quarter was presented in April to representatives from Tongji University and the Shanghai developer. The same group of people was able to travel to MIT to see the final design in June of 2000. The final design, similar to the Beijing design included duplex apartments and skip-stop elevators. Detailed evaluations of interior and exterior air quality were performed in order to evaluate the building design's strategy for ventilation.

The potential of other projects as an outgrowth of the success of this one is a great incentive for our group. Based on our involvement with these three projects, we have been invited to work with a major developer on a fourth, large-scale project outside Beijing. The development is low-cost, high-density housing for 200,000 people. This project has the active support of the Beijing City administration. In May we met with the vice-mayor of Beijing in charge of construction who emphasized the importance of making this a sustainable project. This will be a cooperative effort between MIT and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

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Last modified on November 22, 2000 by china@juintow.com.
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