By Sun Libo and Zhang Chengwei
BEIJING, November 3 -- It was late autumn, and the plateau area at the altitude of more than 4,000m where the PLA troops stationed was already freezing cold. Even if people wore a thick cotton-padded overcoat, the wind would still keep creeping in through the collar. Following the direction of Zhou Hao, a company instructor, rows of new dismountable self-energized insulated cabins could be found in the military camp.
Soldiers of a PLA ground force unit stationed on the plateau have moved into their new warm barracks this winter. Zhou Hao said, “We’ve built more than ten of new insulated cabins. It’s a one-story bungalow that’s enduring, comfortable, and warm.”
Featuring easy assembly, the cabin could be setup in areas without water, electricity, or large machinery and can fit into various spaces. Equipped with energy-saving materials and other high-tech materials, this “self-energized” plug-and-play cabin will make the troops less reliant on long-distance fuel delivery. Zhou Hao said that he and his fellows completed the new barracks integrating accommodation, catering, showering, and other functions within a few days.
People could feel the warmth the minute they stepped into the cabin – it was 21℃(69.8℉) inside. “During winter training in the past, we had to burn coal to keep warm, and would feel so cold after midnight that we woke up despite the sleeping bag, the bedding and the cotton overcoat.” A soldier named Liao Jinning said, “Technology has kept us warm this winter. Now we have hot water for brushing teeth and washing face, and it is always warm indoors around the clock,” he added.
It is learned that the insulated cabin adopts such new technologies as co-generation using renewable energies and passive solar houses, and uses components like insulating composite boards. In particular, the heating system combining passive solar houses and active solar collectors ensures a good heating performance that keeps the inside temperature at 15℃(59℉) or above when it is -40℃(5℉) outside.
The new insulated cabin comprises the dorm, canteen, integrated the washing room, dry self-cleaning bathroom, warehouse, micro grid, and heating device, totaling seven modules, with over 90% of its components reusable. It will ensure the field camping facilities to support the troops’ combat readiness operations and training exercises in extreme weather conditions.