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CHINA / National

'Three-nos' call to help save energy

By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-06-13 06:09

No cars, no lifts and no air conditioning.

These are the three "nos" the State Council has told civil servants to go without today, as part of an ongoing week-long national energy-saving drive.

"All of us are urged to leave our cars at home on Tuesday," said Zhou Qing, a spokesman with the National Development and Reform Commission, yesterday.

"We are encouraged to walk or take public transport to work."

In Zhou's office in western downtown Beijing, posters with slogans such as "please walk up stairs to keep fit and save energy" adorn the walls beside the lifts.

And temperatures will rise in the offices of the nation's top economic planning authority today, as the air conditioning shuts down for the day. "We hope our individual actions will help solve China's energy shortage," said Zhou.

Following in the commission's footsteps nearly all government departments and agencies in Beijing have ordered their employees to follow suit.

But some will find the power-saving regime difficult to implement.

"To keep our equipment in normal working condition it's not possible for us to turn off the air conditioning system for a day," said Wang Caiyun, director of the energy-saving office of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

"But we will keep office temperatures at or above 26 C," she promised.

Wang said her administration has encouraged staff to walk or take public transport to work and not use lifts.

She also said the administration was looking into using solar energy to power the office's air conditioning.

"To save energy, technology and public awareness are equally important," said Wang.

This week's energy-saving campaign, launched by the central government, also asks staff to turn off lights when leaving the office and install energy-saving bulbs.

The Government Offices Administration of the State Council said it is critical to improve energy-saving awareness among public servants, as they are some of the biggest power users.

A survey quoted by Guangming Daily last year claimed that civil servants' per capita water and electricity use in Beijing was 3-7 times that of ordinary residents.

China's nearly 7 million public servants reportedly use almost 5 per cent of the country's annual electricity consumption enough to meet the demands of 780 million farmers.

"We have a lot of room for improvement in electricity efficiency in lighting, air conditioning, computers and other office equipment," said Jiao Huancheng, director of the government offices administration. "Public servants at central government level should set a good example."

Experts warned that the campaign should not become a "one-day show," and called for energy saving to become part of everyday life.

"Saving energy and resources is a long-term task that calls for more than one-off measures," said Lin Yueqin, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

He said consistent and systematic policies and laws were needed to encourage efficient use of energy and resources.

(China Daily 06/13/2006 page1)