© (Image courtesy Paul Andreu Architecte)

Energy effi­ciency in China: A fresh approach

The ultra-modern Grand Theatre in Jinan in China is an excel­lent adver­tise­ment for the region – not least in terms of energy effi­ciency. The new complex reflects the increasing signif­i­cance of sustain­ability in China

Jinan, the capital of Shan­dong province in eastern China, is known for its fresh­water springs. There are more than ninety of these in the metrop­olis with six million inhab­i­tants. So it came as no surprise that the leading French archi­tect Paul Andreu was inspired by this char­ac­ter­istic feature of the city for the design of the Jinan Grand Theatre. The complex is being built at the heart of the Cultural and Art Centre of Shang­dong, covering an area of 500,000 square metres where the city meets the coun­try­side. Its hollowed-out round shape is intended to symbolise the source of a fresh­water spring. The central theatre building is surrounded by a further eight build­ings of different heights which, with their soft lines and silver colour, are remi­nis­cent of water emerging from a spring.

Sustain­ability is gaining in impor­tance

The Grand Theatre is a model project of the city of Jinan. In an area of 75,000 square metres it accom­mo­dates an opera house to seat 1,800, a concert hall with room for 1,500 music-lovers and a multi-func­tional hall for 500 visi­tors as well as hotels and offices. And to ensure that the spec­tac­ular archi­tec­ture is comple­mented by a new stan­dard of tech­nology, the air condi­tioning system in the theatre is equipped with 499 Green­Tech EC-Radi­Pacs from ebm-papst. With a power of 1,180 kilo­watts, these effi­ciently circu­late 1,125,910 cubic metres of air per hour throughout the theatre.
“Ecolog­ical tech­nology is becoming an increas­ingly impor­tant issue in China,” explains James Sun, regional sales manager at ebm-papst China. “People are starting to think differ­ently now that they are expe­ri­encing the effects of climate change them­selves and hearing more about it in the new media. What’s more, the govern­ment is imple­menting laws and direc­tives to actively promote the use of effi­cient tech­nolo­gies. This is illus­trated for example by subsi­dies for energy-saving air condi­tioning systems, flat screen tele­vi­sions and refrig­er­a­tors.”

RadiPac in action

RadiPac in action

The air condi­tioning system for the theatre was installed by the air handling equip­ment manu­fac­turer Tsinghua Tong­fang Co. ebm-papst is the ideal partner for this company dedi­cated to sustain­ability. “The Jinan city council was deter­mined to make the theatre as perfect as possible. Which meant having to demand top quality and effi­ciency from the venti­la­tion system as well. This is the domain of ebm-papst, who produce fans entirely in keeping with the current Chinese desire to build more effi­ciently and with the envi­ron­ment in mind,” explains Hou Dong­ming, managing director of Guangzhou Tong­fang Refine Air Condi­tioning Co. Ltd. With the elec­tronics and motor combined in a single unit, RadiPac fans are both space-saving and easy to install. It means that there is no need for expen­sive, time-consuming coor­di­na­tion, earthing and screening work when commis­sioning the air condi­tioning system. In other words: The plug and play prin­ciple.

Quiet-running and powerful

Econom­ical oper­a­tion and a good energy balance are not the only require­ments for the fans in the Grand Theatre. They have to be powerful enough to convey the air at high pres­sure through the exten­sive air condi­tioning duct system whilst at the same time being easy enough to regu­late to ensure the audi­ence is never disturbed. The oblique trailing edge of the RadiPac high-perfor­mance impeller addi­tion­ally guar­an­tees an ideal air flow which, in conjunc­tion with an inte­grated rotating diffuser, results in a partic­u­larly low level of noise emis­sion. To make sure the air in the theatre is not only a pleasant temper­a­ture but also clean, Tsinghua Tofang further incor­po­rated a virus filter into the system to elim­i­nate any pollu­tants from the air drawn in from outside.

Cere­mo­nious opening

So visi­tors can relax and concen­trate on what’s going on the stage. After a construc­tion period of thirty months, they will have the first oppor­tu­nity to do so in October 2013 when the Jinan Grand Theatre is to be cere­mo­ni­ously opened as part of the tenth China Art Festival. The festival offers an insight into the full spec­trum of Chinese culture and will be presenting eleven inter­na­tional produc­tions along­side fifteen Chinese perfor­mances. The atten­tion of the region will be focused on Jinan and its new theatre. An ideal oppor­tu­nity to show visi­tors that energy effi­ciency and protec­tion of the envi­ron­ment already play a major role in the city of the fresh­water springs.

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