Major Issues And Solutions In The Heat-metering Reform In China

- Oct 15, 2019-

Charging heating fees based on floor space in China leaves building developers no economic returns on the investment to weatherize the buildings and install regulation devices with terminal equipment. Therefore, they lack incentives to improve the thermal insulation properties of the buildings. Tenants also lack incentives to efficiently use heat, opening windows to cool down rooms when they are overheated, without concern for the amount of heat wasted. In response, over the past decade, the Chinese government has invested large amounts of resources in an effort to promote energy conservation with heating systems by trying to change the fee method based on floor space to amount of heat used, but with little effect. The major issues related to reform with the heat-metering system are elaborated in this paper by comparing the pros and cons of several metering methods. Firstly, room temperatures are unable to be effectively adjusted using the current methods, meaning that the original intention to save energy cannot be achieved. Secondly, current heat-metering methods are not acceptable to users, which creates its own problems. Heat metering based on households in apartment buildings, the primary living space for Chinese people, causes two problems: the energy consumed by households located at the top or at the corner of buildings is two to three times higher than households located elsewhere within the building; heating fees may increase by 20–30%if surrounding households are not heated. Current metering methods are unable to effectively resolve these two problems, therefore, they are not accepted.To overcome these difficulties, a proper metering and charging method must be developed which is both acceptable to users and able to guarantee good room temperature control at the same time. To achieve this goal, this paper presents a new method: the total heating fee of a building is allocated according to the accumulated on-time as well as the floor space of each household. Not only can this new method control the user behavior of opening windows or setting the starting point too high, but also resolve problems caused by location and heat transfer between households. It is also effective in promoting energy saving by users and appears to be acceptable to users. Survey results show that it is acceptable to a large number of users. It seems that this is the most practical way to reform the current methods for heat metering based on household use.