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 When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>