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									Towards a “Green” Shanghai 2010 World Expo: Building for Efficiency and Sustainability

The 2010 Shanghai World Expo, taking place in China’s most energetic city, is a showcase of architecture, sustainable building and environmentally conscious living. In over 6 months it serves as an introduction to the culture, business and people from over 190 countries and regions of the world. YTONG, the world leader in Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC), is contributing to the success of the Expo by literally supporting the Expo with its world-leading products used in the walls of several of the showcase pavilions.

YTONG AAC is featured in some of the most important areas of the Expo, including the Shanghai World Expo Centre, the World Expo Performance Center, the Shanghai World Expo Theme Pavilion, the Rhône-Alpes Pavilion, the joint SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) and GM Pavilion, the China State Grid Pavilion, and the Pavilions of Morocco and Sweden. All of these structures are not only architecturally stimulating, but also represent important advances in energy efficiency and sustainability for China. The World Expo Center,

Performance Center and Theme Pavilion have all been selected as permanent structures to remain after the official close of the Expo and will serve as important landmark buildings for China. Jan Buck-Emden, CEO of the YTONG’s parent Xella Group, explained the importance, “The Expo provides a vision of future urban life. The key element is advanced architecture for sustainable buildings. We are very proud to be a part of the Expo.”

The World Expo Center sits in front of the China Pavilion


The Expo Performance Center, overlooking the Huangpu River

About the World Expo
The first World Expo goes back 150 years, and is traditionally a largescale, global exhibition of economy, science and technology. The Expo aims to promote the exchange of ideas and development of the world economy, culture, science and technology, and to allow exhibitors to publicize and display their achievements and improve international relationships. The Shanghai Expo takes place from May 1-October 31, 2010. The Shanghai Expo is unprecedented in its size and scope. Covering more than 5.28 sq. kilometers and with over 190 participating countries, the Expo gives Shanghai the opportunity to show off its status as a 21st century economic and cultural hub. The theme of the exposition, “Better City – Better Life,” signifies the continuous improvements in life that the city is currently experiencing. It is expected to generate the largest number of visitors in the history of the world’s fairs.


Rendering of the French Rhône-Alpes Pavilion

Showcasing Energy Efficiency

The French Rhône-Alpes Pavilion is part of the Expo’s Urban Best Practices Area (UBPA), and is a master example of energy efficient design and building at work. The pavilion is a global showcase for green-building. The almost 3,000 sq. meter pavilion’s architectural principals are primarily modular, and its design is based on a very efficient envelope, metering and control of all energy consumption. It also includes Vegetation Air Purification Technology and highperforming ventilation devices. The system is so efficient that the building’s annual energy consumption is less than a normal residential building – even if used for energydraining conference hall or office building duties. The pavilion is built to meet “Qualité Environnementale du Bâti” (environmental quality in building) standards and highlights the economic and technical potential of the Rhône-Alpes region, as well as its cultural and tourism possibilities.

Chief Representative of the RhôneAlpes Pavilion, Jean-Maurice Hebrard, explained, “We have the highest standards for the building. Our challenge was to get the best materials and technologies that serve the project design, even if not made in China. So we had to either import or use the best providers in

China. People are waiting to see best practices from all over the world.” The Rhône-Alpes Pavilion uses YTONG AAC produced by the Shanghai YTONG plant for the walls. Walking through the construction site, some of the advantages are obvious even to the untrained eye: workers

The French Rhône-Alpes Pavilion under construction


Jean-Maurice Hebrard easily carrying the lightweight blocks, and cutting them to fit with normal woodworking tools. The largest benefits come into play when the pavilion is finished, in particular for this pavilion the extremely low thermal conductivity and use of allnatural materials. Hebrard explained why the pavilion chose YTONG AAC, “Energy saving is one of the biggest issues in China. YTONG is the only one in the market producing wall building materials with such a high potential of insulation for heat and cold.” Thermal conductivity is an important theme, and achieving it is technically challenging. YTONG Head of Innovation Management Sebastian Klug explained that the lambda value – the measure of thermal conductivity through the blocks – is in China 0.11 in normal projects. “For this project we were challenged and succeeded to achieve a lambda value of 0.09, which is very difficult and unprecedented in China.” YTONG AAC is formed with millions of tiny pores inside the concrete. Since air has very low thermal conductivity, this process helps keep the cold out and the heat in during winters, and vice-versa during the summer. The atmosphere and energy-usage in the entire Rhône-Alpes Pavilion is carefully monitored, with real-time displays throughout the building. “People will come from all over to see how we did it!” said Hebrard.

Ytong AAC ready for installation at the French Rhône-Alpes Pavilion


Building Sustainability from the Start

post-Expo utilization, the building design and construction is green, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly.” The Expo Center is also on track to receive LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is extremely rigorous, and requires a whole-building approach to sustainability. The certification focuses on five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. YTONG aerated concrete blocks are used in the inner walls of the Expo Center. As YTONG is a massive material with good heat storage capacities, the heat insulation in summer is much better than in drylining constructions. Thus cooling

The World Expo Center The World Expo Center is the main area for ceremonies, conferences and forums, serving as the command center of the Expo. The Expo Center has been chosen as one of the permanent buildings to remain in service after 2010, as a large scale conference and exhibition hall. Sandra Li, from the ECADI group that co-designed the structure, explained that they did a thorough examination of the world’s top conference halls before proposing their design. “Besides function, configuration and

costs can be reduced significantly. Besides, one of the important benefits is that YTONG products are directly obtained from nature, and do not harm the environment in any way. Aerated concrete is made from natural raw materials: quartz sand, lime, cement, aluminum compound and water. YTONG blocks also help the building form a lighter structure, as they are a quarter of the weight of traditional concrete, and a third of the weight of common bricks, yet still feature high load-bearing capacity. The manufacturing process for AAC is lower in power consumption than that of clay bricks. It is possible to produce 5 cubic meters of AAC from only 1 cubic meter raw materials. The total energy and cost spent on transportation has also been factored into the green equation. With factories located in strategic locations around China, YTONG works to keep transportation costs to a minimum.

The Expo Center: green, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly


The Expo Theme Pavilion: 5,000 sq. meter “green walls”

The seashell-shaped Expo Performance Center

Building a Better City
The Expo Theme Pavilion was designed to showcase the Expo theme: “Better City – Better Life.” It features the world’s largest rooftop with a solar energy system, 5,000 sq. meter “green walls” covered with plants, as well as the largest con-column space in the world, in the 25,000 sq. meter west exhibition hall. Wu Yile, project manager for the Expo Theme Pavilion, chose YTONG AAC for this important structure, “YTONG products are excellent. They are both extremely high quality, as well as very light. Also the sizes are very accurate, so they are easy to fit together, and since they are highly compatible with other fittings they are easy to install.” The Expo Performance Center, shaped like a seashell – or possibly a flying saucer – is made of 33,000 tons of steel, and features a capacity of 18,000 seats. The structure will become China’s largest comprehensive performance hall, and the first circular performance facility whose interior structure is reconfigurable in three dimensions. To help meet the rigid requirements of these future-reaching structures, YTONG utilized its German R&D facility in concert with the local Chinese team. Xella China Marketing Manager George Xie said, “The constantly high quality of the blocks and panels is ensured by permanently monitoring the technical characteristics, such as high dimensional accuracy and compressive strength. But YTONG is much more than just a simple wall building material: the technical expertise of our staff and our understanding of quality means that we can provide complete solutions to our customers.”

The Expo Theme Pavilion

The Expo Performance Center


Expo Challenges

YTONG faced three major challenges with the Expo project: architectural, supply chain, and technological challenges – all of which were successfully overcome by the YTONG team. The Expo draws on some of the world’s leading Chinese and international architects to create innovative and challenging structures for this special occasion. Not only do the buildings have to meet strict building codes regarding earthquake resistance, sound insulation, fire protection, strength, energy, and more, but they must also meet the bold imagination of domestic and international architects for style, decorative lighting, electrical and mechanical aspects. Chunfei Ouyang, General Manager of Shanghai YTONG, explained,

“This is a huge challenge for wall manufacturing. Besides the advanced aspects of our products, our local technical service team, with over 10 years of engineering experience in China, was able to successfully turn the architects’ innovative designs into safe and reliable technical solutions, bringing their fabulous blueprints into beautiful reality.” The limitations on construction time as well as physical space around the Expo also challenged the building community. Strict governmentenforced deadlines combined with the sheer number and scale of building – right in the middle of downtown Shanghai – means that logistics have to be carefully planned and executed. YTONG has utilized a flexible production model, combined with high storage capacity, as well as multiple batch deliveries in the dark

of night to meet and overcome these challenges. Wu from the Expo Theme Pavilion remarked, “The time is very tight, so all of the operations had to be undertaken simultaneously to make it in time.” To meet Shanghai’s challenge of “Better City – Better Life,” the pavilions are all expected to meet the highest standards in green building. Meeting these high standards for AAC included special demands for size, thermal conductivity, density and strength. Ouyang noted, “We are very proud to offer a complete solution to these special technical requirements through our innovation in formula, raw materials and production processes. This has laid the milestone of success for innovative architecture at the Shanghai Expo.”

The French Rhône-Alpes Pavilion: a showcase of energy saving


Long-term Cost Savings
Besides the short-term benefits of lightness, accuracy and high strength, YTONG AAC also has many long-term benefits. Developers with vision will quickly realize that better thermal efficiency, fire resistance, and better sound insulation will benefit the building’s final end-users and inhabitants. Also, using YTONG products helps brand any project as green, sustainable, energy-efficient and smart. “We are proud that YTONG is used on several sites of Expo 2010 by Chinese and international customers: It proves that we are the world-market leader for self-insulating masonry – we have the perfect products for the current and future requirements for buildings in modern cities,” explained Xella Group CEO Jan Buck-Emden.

Ytong solutions are a combination of high performance product with technical expertise

The World’s Leader in AAC
YTONG, a division of Germany’s XELLA Group, is the world market leader in the production of innovative building system created from AAC. AAC was invented in 1923 at the Royal Technical Institute in Stockholm by Swedish Architect Dr. Johan Eriksson. In 1929 the first YTONG block was produced and in 1940, the YTONG brand name was registered. For the past 80 years, the YTONG product range has been developed and is now the most successful AAC brand available in over 30 countries throughout the world. The first YTONG manufacturing plant in China was built in 1997 in the Yangtze Delta. Since then, YTONG has established factories in Shanghai, Zhejiang and Tianjin that produce 1.2 million cubic meters of AAC per year, becoming the largest manufacturer of AAC in China. Besides production, YTONG is also heavily invested in research projects, as well as training and educating engineers. YTONG China provides its customers with world-class products, leadingedge technology and innovative system solutions to meet China’s many building industry challenges. YTONG is now recognized as China’s leading AAC specialist with numerous landmark projects and residential buildings as testimony to its superior quality. “We hope to show that YTONG is an elementary part of the future world of construction. With our products and solutions you can go far beyond the current requirements for energyefficient building envelopes,” said YTONG’s Klug. “The Shanghai World Expo is really the perfect venue to show our products. We look forward to future successes in China – and around the world.”


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