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Sat 27 Jan 2007 12:00 AM

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China tightens up on energy use

The Chinese government is enforcing steps to cut energy use, reduce pollution and control the construction boom

China is to tighten regulations on energy efficiency in new buildings and enforce a tax on real estate developments as the government steps up efforts to cut energy use, reduce pollution and slowdown a construction boom, reported Xinhua News Agency.

Construction companies face losing their licences if they fail to meet the standards laid out in the new efficiency rules.

The agency reported that improving energy efficiency is part of the Chinese government's goal of ‘creating a resource-saving society'.

China is one of the biggest consumers of oil, gas and coal and the government is eager to see the country back away from a growing dependency on imported energy.

Recent studies have shown China to be the least energy-efficient of the world's major economies, using several times as much fuel for each unit of output as the United States, Japan or European countries.

Under the new efficiency regulations, all new buildings will be required to cut energy consumption for heating, lighting and air conditioning by 50%, or by 65% in China's more prosperous cities.

Seventeen municipalities and provinces, including Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Sichuan, will be among the first to implement an audit system to calculate energy consumption.

A compulsory energy-saving trial system will be applied to newly-built government buildings and large public buildings.

Owners of existing apartments, office towers and other buildings will be required to improve efficiency with better insulation, low-energy lighting and other measures.

Homeowners are expected to spend an estimated US $200 billion by 2020 on improvements to meet the new regulations.

The move is expected to create a massive market for energy-saving technology and renovation work within and outside the country.

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