Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Promoting Green Building Practices in China

As I discussed in my recent post about building materials and operations, this area presents a huge opportunity in the US for reducing energy consumption. The same is true for China.

An article in this month's Far Eastern Economic Review notes several challenges to promoting green building in China:

1. Most green building projects in China are funded by international NGOs like the World Bank. The Chinese government has not yet provided much funding for green building.

2. The Chinese government subsidizes electricity and gas costs. As a result, green building – whether for old or new building – is not seen as very cost effective.

3. The breakneck pace of construction make green design analysis. Because building design and construction often occur simultaneously, green design gets little attention. The lack of energy efficiency experts compounds the problem.

The author argues that the Chinese government must back green construction practices by establishing and enforcing standards.

China is interested in green building. The California Public Utilities Commission has been speaking with Chinese officials about California’s net zero energy building goals. The Chinese are eager to learn about green building. Moreover, the US and Chinese governments are discussing how they can collaborate on efficient building practices to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Green building in China offers many business opportunities. Energy efficiency consultants and engineers and architects with sustainable building expertise can all contribute. Further, although there are restrictions on real estate development by non-Chinese, foreign developers can work together with local developers to promote green building practices.

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