The world is increasingly suffering from global warming. With climate change posing a serious problem, voices are growing that people must reduce carbon emissions in their lifestyle. At this moment, Seoul City is ramping up its ‘green’ policy to cope with climate change. As a result of this policy, buildings in Seoul are going green.
‘Building Retrofit Project’ to cut energy consumption of buildings
With some 2,500 stores which sell clothing and fashion accessories, Dongdaemun Migliore (Shopping Mall) consumes about 22 million kilowatts of electricity a year. However, the Dongdaemun Migliore building reduced its use of electricity for lighting by 32.6 percent between March and December last year, saving 195 million won (US$170,753) in electricity bills for the period. As all lighting in the building was replaced with light-emitting diode (LED) lights, it reduced heat previously generated by conventional light bulbs. So, the building saved gas and water bills by 38.74 million won in summer.
As shown by Dongdaemun Migliore, people are increasingly taking note of the energy efficiency of their buildings. One of measures being taken to further boost our energy efficiency is the ‘Building Retrofit Project’. This project calls for building owners to replace energy-wasting lighting with LED lights, upgrade insulation facilities and improve other facilities to reduce energy consumption. Seoul City is lending money for the project at a low interest rate. Between 2008 and 2009, the city funded 23.8 billion won to implement the project in 62 buildings. This year, more building owners are expected to receive financial support from Seoul City, as the city has now varied the amount of funding, depending on the level and scope of each project.
Seoul to raise energy efficiency of New City Hall to first grade
Efforts are also being made to increase the energy efficiency of public buildings. On March 4, Seoul City said it will construct buildings with high energy efficiency. To that end, all public buildings to be ordered by Seoul City must be designed to cut energy consumption by 40 percent. Such standards will be applicable to all public buildings such as art galleries, museums, hospitals and childcare centers.
As part of this initiative, Seoul City set the annual electricity consumption per square meter for the New City Hall, slated for completion in February 2011, at below 300 kilowatts per hour. In particular, the New City Hall’s main building, which will be remodeled into cultural facilities for citizens, will utilize geothermal energy for all its cooling and heating energy needs. LED lights will be used instead of fluorescent lights and solar energy will be also used for lighting the building.
‘Energy Zero House,’ a building with a self-sustainable supply of energy
Energy is essential for nearly all activities in our homes. Unless energy is supplied to us properly, we will not be comfortable in our homes. With that in mind, a building with a self-sustainable supply of energy is being built at Sangam-dong, Mapo-gu. Called ‘Energy Zero house,’ the building is equipped with facilities for a self-sustainable supply of energy to cope with climate change. To reduce energy consumption, the building uses natural ventilation and lighting. In December, Seoul City plans to complete the trial project of the ‘Energy Zero House’ and use the results of the trial as a ‘blueprint’ for new buildings with a self-sustainable supply of energy in the future.