Singapore 15th August 2010
His weekend I read a report about the progress of the so called eco-cities in China. There are many projects underway, about 8 or so in various parts of China, most of them in the vicinity of major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing or Shenzhen. From all of them Tianjin Eco City seems to be the most on track, but like all these developments it seems that the dream is much bigger than the actual reality.
The main issue with all of those is that there is a huge outlay of money required to build the infrastructure required for an eco city. Public transportation such as subway trains is one of the key requirements to minimize environmentally unfriendly cars. One of the other key ingredients for an eco city is the use of solar energy to power all (or as much as possible) of the cities energy needs, lighting being one of them. It is easy to see that the costs of a railway network and solar energy to name just these two among the many others, are a big demand and it is therefore not surprising that many of the eco-cities in development, according to the report, fail to really deliver on the green promise. I suspect that political issues and potential kickbacks, a fact of life around the world, do not help.
For lighting it also means the use of energy friendly lighting systems (LED seems the magical word here), the control of light pollution and most of all the actual usage control of light. In other words where, when and how long to use how much light. All these efficient and energy saving lighting systems come with a premium too, some up to double the conventional price. Add to that the costs of the lighting control systems and the outlay for “green” lighting becomes another hurdle for many of the eco city developers. I have bogged about this before.
Considering my own experience in regards to the application of “green” lighting so far the report about the eco cities does not surprise me at all. We have just started a project in Tianjin. Let’s see how green it will be……