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Southern cities strive to address indoor heating concerns as temperatures fall

By Cang Wei in Nanjing | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-13 08:52

Chen Ying, a resident of Suzhou, Jiangsu province, said that she prefers to go to a university in North China because it will have heating in the winter.

"Neither me nor my family members living in the south ever imagine that people can wear T-shirts and shorts indoors in winter," said the 17-year-old. "Without heating in our homes, we have to wear down coats and other heavy winter clothes indoors to keep warm."

"Knowing from the internet or by travel that people in North China have heat makes us envious and makes our winter in the south more intolerable."

Like Chen, numerous people in southern China express their desire for heating every year when winter approaches.

Zhang Xiaosong, a professor at the School of Energy and Environment of Southeast University in Nanjing, Jiangsu, said that it is not people from South China, but from the Yangtze River Delta who demand heating in winter.

"Cities in the Yangtze River Delta often have a temperature of around -10 C in winter," he said. "Because of the high humidity of the air, people feel that it's even colder than the actual temperature is."

People in the region generally rely on decentralized heating equipment such as air conditioning, space heaters and even heated flooring, Zhang said.

"Unlike northern cities that provide unified central heating, cities along the Yangtze River Delta don't have large-scale heating infrastructure, and it's difficult to construct right now," he said." Though people feel cold in the delta, the winter there doesn't last as long as it does in North China, and the actual temperature is higher.

"Another reason that cities in the delta don't have unified heating is that it consumes a great amount of energy and creates pollution."

Some cities in the area have made specific plans to develop heating systems.

For example, Wuhan, Hubei province, has been researching unified heating since 1998. More than 150,000 local people now enjoy heating from Nov 15 to March 15 at a cost of 33 yuan ($4.70) per square meter.

Liu Shiming, 72, said that compared with air conditioning, heating feels more comfortable and costs less.

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