This is what climate protection looks like

Full luminosity, less power

China's Drive to Save Energy

Illuminated signs at Pudong Airport point the way to the future

"Green Games" is the motto with which Peking successfully applied to hold the Summer Olympics in 2008. The name stands for an environmental program with an official budget of EUR 11 billion. Among other things, this enormous sum was used to design the Olympic buildings sustainably and to the highest technical standard. The buildings' energy efficiency plays an important role. Besides this, the subway network was extended, industrial premises were moved to the city's perimeters and a reafforestation program was launched in the north of the city. Peking wants to go green.

The Games triggered a frenzy of construction not just in the capital, but also in Shanghai, one thousand kilometers away. The new Terminal 2 of Shanghai's Pudong Airports was completed just in time for the major sports event. Here too, sustainabil-ity and energy efficiency were important criteria for obtaining contracts, as Xiongx-iong Lin from XIAMEN QUNLI reports. His company was awarded the contract for designing the illuminated signs at the new terminal in the face of stiff competition. "Finally, we were chosen because we succeeded in combining good lighting results and low energy consumption better than our rivals," Lin says. The low energy con-sumption is due to a special construction method that Lin says is new for Chinese airports: "Our signs are only lit via the edges. We can do that by using sheets of PLEXIGLAS? EndLighten." PLEXIGLAS? EndLighten is a light-diffusing grade of transparent acrylic (PMMA) with special light-guiding behavior. The sheets can be edge-lit and distribute the light evenly across the surface. "The advantage is we only have to install light sources along the edges. With conventional acrylic, we had to backlight the entire sheet. That of course took a lot more light sources and used more energy," Lin explains. Edge lighting therefore cuts the power requirements. Lin adds: "We can save up to 50 percent electricity. Given the large number of light boxes and rising energy prices, that will really pay off in the future."

The gigantic energy requirements of industry means there are frequent power cuts especially in China's economic hotspots. Companies and the public are frequently asked to save energy, so energy-efficient buildings are of vital interest to the Chinese state. But the illuminated PLEXIGLAS? signs need to offer more than just power savings. "They have to be clearly recognizable, bright and uniformly lit. At the same time, they have to take up as little space as possible," says Lin. The signs are to be slim and fit into the building's modern architecture, yet shine brightly enough to be easily and intuitively noticed. That is important for the people-oriented passenger guidance system chosen at Pudong Airport. Passengers must be led safely to their destination on all four levels of the 480,000 m2 building complex, from the gate to baggage retrieval and passport control and then to the exit with taxi ranks, bus stops or the railroad station.

When Terminal 2 was open last March, the annual capacity of Pudong Airport jumped from 20 to 60 million passengers. This put Pudong among the world's big-gest commercial airports. And Shanghai now faces the next superlative event after the Olympic, the World's Fair Expo 2010, which the airport operators expect to bring an additional 24 million passengers. With its theme "Better City, Better Life," Expo 2010 addresses the urban problems of the 21st century. Here too, the theme of energy plays a major role. With its illuminated signs,  the new terminal at Shanghai's airport already points the way to future energy savings.


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Energy-saving information signs with PLEXIGLAS EndLighten?.
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