Climatic Strategies

General climatic strategies for building in the Beijing area took into account several local environmental factors. Winter heat loss, mainly caused by infiltration, is a persistent problem in other, comparable residential developments in the area. Reduction of heat loss due to infiltration can be primarily addressed on the level of craft skills and construction techniques employed by the local builders. The MIT design team also responded to this problem by reducing the winter wind speed within the site through architectural planning. Any reduction in the winter heating load has substantial benefits to the end users, as winter heating bills for existing homeowners are very high, sometimes as much as 25 percent of one's salary.

In addition, high temperatures and high humidity in the summer create substantial demands on either passive or mechanical cooling systems. The demands of summer cooling should be addressed by providing appropriate shading and by taking advantage of prevailing wind conditions for evaporative cooling.

Additional climate concerns include water conservation and air quality. Water conservation was addressed by specifying landscaping practices that would encourage a slower release of storm water runoff and allow for a high level of aquifer recharge. Large grass-covered areas also added to the overall site surface permeability and helped to combat carbon dioxide emissions.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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