China: Implementing green building at a local level

Green construction has been widely recognized in China as an important step toward energy efficiency amid efforts to fight pollution, but the concept does not always translate to the Chinese market.

The concept of “green construction” was first introduced to China in 2000 as an efficient way to reserve resources, protect the environment and cut pollution.

Green construction incorporates design, building, and operation practices that use sustainable materials in construction, achieve energy efficiency, save water, and improve indoor air quality, among other measurable targets.

According to the guidelines on raw material industry transformation and development in 2015 published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the country will set up a green building material service platform, establish an industry development alliance, refine downstream industry as well as advance polymer materials’ utilization in rail traffic and high-end equipment areas.

However, blind imitation of foreign techniques and real estate developers’ unwillingness to promote green construction by sacrificing their profits have become major obstacles as the country to adopts the idea.

“The government has been promoting green construction by offering subsidies for real estate developers, but we worry that most developers do not use the subsidies in the right way,” said Ye Qing, CEO of Shenzhen Institute of Building Research Co. Ltd.

“The subsidies should be used to hire professionals from the industry to publicize the green construction concept in those under developed areas,” Ye added.

In April 2006, China became one of the few countries in the world to establish their own green construction standards. Ye suggests building another set of standards from the people’s perspective to educate people about the standards using big data.

“The purpose of the second standard is to force real estate developers to promote green construction under the supervision of both the government and the general public,” Ye said.

Using complicated and expensive high-tech materials to build green is another mistake that China is now making, according to Lin Wusheng, technology director of green technology research and application center of China Merchants Property Development Co. Ltd.

“The development of green construction should be based on our actual conditions, pure imitation of foreign developed countries’ experiences might cost us more,” said Lin. “Green construction means to control energy and resource consumption in the very details of the building rather than using expensive green technology and materials.”

Offering an example, Lin introduced a window shade that was installed in every conference room at the headquarter building of China Merchants Property Development Co. Ltd.

“Without the window shade, only one third of rooms can be covered in sunlight. A low-cost window shade will make every corner of the room bright,” Lin said. “This is a good example of how we should approach green construction in our own way.”

Source: Xinhua English News

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