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Chinese City Turns Off the Air-con

A Chinese city has banned its government buildings from turning on air conditioning until the temperature hits 33 degrees Celsius (91 Fahrenheit), state media reported.

Nanjing, capital of eastern Jiangsu province, is the latest city to set a limit on air conditioning use as pressure from the central government to save energy starts to take effect over fears of power failures this summer.

An unnamed official with the city's agriculture and forestry department said his colleagues had initially felt uncomfortable without the cool air, but had since gotten used to it.

"As government officials, we shall do our part in saving energy," the official said, according to the report.

The local authorities have raised the limit gradually from 28 Celsius to 30 Celsius degree last year, and some buildings are still to turn on their units this year.

The move comes after Beijing and Yangzhou, an eastern city, recruited "energy police" to check whether energy consumption in buildings met national standards, the report said.

Members of China's cabinet have also called on office workers to ditch business suits in favour of t-shirts in an effort to cool down cheaply, and ordered that air-conditioning units in most public buildings be set no cooler than 26 degrees Celsius.

China's demand for energy has soared as its economy has boomed over the past 15 years.

Parts of Shanghai suffered power cuts recently and officials fear further failures this summer as the overburdened energy network in China's largest city and other parts of the country lags behind the surge in demand.

The Chinese government set a goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent by 2010, but failed miserably in 2006, the first year of implementation.


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