Friday, October 22, 2010

Chinese Climate Control

Another tidbit of information that my friend in Beijing told me. Her parents live in a 13 year old apartment building. Even then they still have central heating control. "Central" doesn't only mean it's built into the buildings; it also means that the Beijing government controls when the heat is turned on and off. I think the system is still steam powered, i.e. they burn coal at a central location and send steam through tubing into each unit's radiators. I dunno, maybe this is more efficient than having individual heating units in each apartment.

The downside however, is that the system is not scheduled to begin operating until November 15th. Next week, night temperatures are forecasted to dip below freezing, and since Chinese buildings are typically constructed with concrete, there's not much insulation. It remains to be seen if they will move up the schedule. In the meantime, people either use the heater option in their A/C units or purchase portable heaters/burners.


Hmm, I found an article from 2007 online and it said that Beijing turns off the heating on March 15, again regardless of the outside temperature. It also said that many people get carbon monoxide poisoning since they use coal heaters indoors without proper ventilation. Nice.

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