Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MIT team works toward energy-efficient Chinese homes

10.12.2002


Inspired by a booming economy and new spending power, the people of China want the advantages that their Western counterparts have: more living space, more comfort and more amenities. Studies by MIT researchers working with colleagues from Chinese universities and development companies suggest that those dreams can be fulfilled without necessarily adopting the energy-intensive practices of the West.



Because of China’s rapid economic growth, energy consumption is also rising sharply. By 2020, energy consumed for residential and commercial bulidings could rise to fully a third of the energy use by the nation of 1.3 billion people. Sustainable, energy-efficient building design has thus become very important. Researchers in MIT’s Building Technology Program and their Chinese collaborators have shown that applying some of China’s traditional approaches and other simple techniques to modern building designs can yield substantial benefits.

For example, researchers demonstrated that a group of energy-efficient low-rise buildings could provide the same living conditions as energy-consuming high-rise structures. The low-rise buildings were designed and oriented to catch the sun’s heat in winter and the prevailing breezes in summer. They also provide occupants a closer connection with outside communal green spaces.


An analysis of air conditioning needs in China showed that Beijing residents could be comfortable most of the time if they simply opened their windows at night and closed them during the day. When outdoor temperatures rise, cooled concrete floors would keep indoor temperatures down.

In working with the Chinese, the MIT researchers have made a troubling observation: developers are abandoning traditional Chinese practices and relying in ebergy-intensive Western methods instead. In the past, Chinese people typically lived in low bulidings with communal green spaces. Designs made effective use of natural ventilation and solar heating. In contrast, the buildings being put up today are generally Western-style high rises that isolate residents from one another and from outdoor spaces, and that depend on energy-consuming methods of heating and cooling.

Although Chinese leaders recognize the need for energy efficiency, various nontechnical issues impede progress. Energy-efficient equipment is expensive; many construction workers are new to the trade and lack the skills to do high-quality work; China’s building codes are not enforced through inspection of finished projects; and most consumers still get free heating and thus have little incentive to save energy.

The MIT and China researchers are also continuing to work with developers on energy-efficient designs and formulating simple computer-based tools that Chinese builders can use to compare the energy efficiency of design options.

For four years, the researchers have been preparing conceptual designs and performing parallel technology studies for large-scale residential demonstration projects in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen (near Hong Kong). The cooperative effort involves MIT, Tsinghua University in Beijing, Tongji University in Shanghai and local Chinese development companies.

In two ongoing projects, the teams are designing a low-rise, high-density development for a 10-hectare site outside Beijing and a group of low-rise residential buildings for a two-hectare site in Shenzhen.


The team includes Leon R. Glicksman, a professor of building technology and mechanical engineering and director of the Building Technology Program; Leslie K. Norford, an associate professor of building technology in the Department of Architecture; Andrew M. Scott, an associate professor of architecture; John Fernandez, an assistant professor of building technology; and Lara Greden, a Ph.D. candidate in architecture. Another colleague, Professor Qingyan Chen, recently left MIT for Purdue University.

The research is supported by the Kann-Rasmussen Foundation and the Alliance for Global Sustainability.

By Nancy W. Stauffer
MIT Laboratory for Energy and the Environment


Nancy Stauffer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/www/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Minimized water consumption in CSP plants - EU project MinWaterCSP is making good progress
05.12.2017 | Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum

nachricht Jena Experiment: Loss of species destroys ecosystems
28.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making fuel out of thick air

08.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>