Speech by Qiu Baoxing, Vice Minister of Construction of China

February 23, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The 16th Congress of the Communist Party of China set up the strategic goal of establishing a well-off society in an all round way which should be supported by rapid economic and social development. China is now experiencing fast industrialization and urbanization. The growth of industries, the upgrade of people's consumption mix, and the rapid urbanization process in particular pose enormous pressure on the energy and economic resources.

We must be reminded that the energy, land, water, and material resources in China are in serious shortage, yet are used wastefully and carelessly, leading to increasingly severe environmental pollution.

Ninety percent of the verified deposit of fossil energy resources in China is made up of coalmines, yet the per capita volume is only half of the world's average level; and the per capita deposit volumes of oil and natural gas in China are only 11 percent and 4.5 percent of the world's average level respectively. Contrarily, the energy consumed per unit of construction area is more than two to three times the amount used in developed countries.

The per capita amount of arable land and water resource in China is only one-third and one-fourth of the world's average respectively. However, the production of solid clay brick damages 120,000 mu of productive agricultural land every year. Compared with developed countries, the steel consumption level is 10-25 percent higher, 80 kilograms more of cement is needed for mixing one cubic meter of concrete, the amount of water needed for flushing toilets is more than 30 percent higher, and the waste water reuse rate is only 25 percent of that in developed countries.

This daunting reality makes it imperative for China to develop energy efficient and green buildings to pursue sustainable development.

Energy efficient buildings refer to those meeting energy efficient standards during design and building process and thus consuming less energy in use. Green buildings refer to those providing occupants with healthy, comfortable and safe living, working and leisure space, achieving high efficiency in utilizing resources (including energy, land, water, and materials) during the life cycle of buildings (including building materials production, planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance, and demolition), and minimizing the buildings' impact on the environment. Green buildings are also labeled as "Eco-Buildings" or "Sustainable Buildings."

Developing energy and green buildings is an important measure to promote the new industrialization featuring extensive use of state-of-the-art technologies, well-performing economy, low level of resource consumption, less environmental pollution, and dynamic and productive human resource. It embodies the scientific paradigm of development recognized at the 3rd Session of the 16th Congress of the Communist Party of China advocating the view of human-centered, inclusive, balanced, and sustainable development for the promotion of the harmony between economic, social, and human development.

In addition, developing energy efficient and green buildings complies with the "reduce, reuse, recycle" principles, and is a necessary condition for the development of resource efficient society and circle economy. It would be of strategic importance to the healthy, balanced, and sustainable development in the field of construction, and would be of profound significance to the building of well-off society in an all round way to achieve modernization.

The Design Standards for the Energy Efficient Residential Buildings in the Northern Area enforced in 1986 marks the beginning of the work on promoting energy efficiency in buildings. Nearly 20 years of efforts have resulted in remarkable progress and achievement. In the meantime, with the spreading of sustainable development concept across the globe, the green building concept has also been gradually accepted in China.

Such efforts as conducting research on key technologies of green buildings, setting up the "National Green Building Innovation Award," and piloting green building technologies in public buildings, library buildings in higher learning institutions, urban residential areas, and rural houses have been made to stimulate the development of green buildings.

Nevertheless, there still exist a great deal of challenges in pushing the development of energy efficient and green buildings forward.

First, the society as a whole has not fully understood the importance of promoting the development of energy efficient and green buildings, and lacks the basic knowledge and has little awareness of energy efficient and green buildings;

Second, policy incentives to guide and support the development of energy efficient and green buildings are absent.

Third, the regulatory framework that is workable and could make all the stakeholders to save energy, land and water and protect the environment is not in place;

Fourth, the comprehensive criteria system for energy, land, water and material efficiency and environmental protection in buildings has not been worked out; and

Fifth, an effective administrative supervision and regulation system has not been developed.

To address the above concerns, we need to work with other relevant departments on adopting the following measures:
-- Setting up and improving the policy and regulatory framework for the development of energy efficient and green buildings;
-- Developing the technical standards system for energy efficient and green buildings;
-- Developing effective administrative supervision and regulation system for the development of energy efficient and green buildings;
-- Promoting international exchange and cooperation; and
-- Intensifying training and publicity campaigns.

I would like to take this opportunity to brief you about the upcoming "The 1st International Conference on Technologies of Intelligent and Green Buildings & the 1st International Expo on Technologies and Products of Intelligent and Green Buildings" to be held in Beijing on March 28-29, 2005.

This event, jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Construction of China and other domestic and overseas organizations concerned, aims at strengthening the international exchange and cooperation in the area of intelligent and green buildings, and enhancing the technical and management levels and promoting the development of the intelligent and green buildings in China. We expect this event to become an annual event which is authoritative, edge-cutting, and wide-ranging.

Mr. Wang Guangtao, minister of Construction, is the director of the Organizing Committee, I, myself, is the executive director, and Mr. Zhou Ganzhi, the former vice minister of Construction and the Academician of China Academy of Science and China Academy of Engineering, is the director of the Academic Committee.

Now we are getting ready for the event. We look forward to the participation of nearly 2000 government officials, entrepreneurs, experts and scholars from home and abroad in the technical exchange and cooperation in the field of intelligent and green buildings. I believe that this event will not only benefit the development of energy efficient and green buildings in China, but will also produce profound impact on the global sustainable development.

Now, my colleagues and I are happy to take your questions.