NORTHERN CHINA IS home to 160 million mainly rural people. It is a region with a sub-arctic climate, with winter temperatures as low as -30° Celsius. It’s a place where houses need to be strong, warm and built to last.

Traditional rural housing in this region was of cob, or earth and rubble, with thatched roofs. But the last cob houses in the region were built over forty years ago. Since then, the drive for modernisation and development has seen them widely replaced by burnt-clay brick houses, which fulfilled aspirations for modernisation, but performed poorly on the energy-efficiency front.

Heated ...


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