China will spend hundreds of millions of yuan to make its buildings more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, Vice-Minister of Construction Qiu Baoxing said yesterday.
China's fast urban growth had accelerated the pace and expanded the scale of construction and in the process a "huge amount of energy is being wasted," observed Qiu.
Last year's energy efficiency improvement target hadn’t been met because the scheme to renovate buildings to conserve energy was limited to only a few regions, conceded Qiu.
A ministry inspection in 30 regions last year showed the four municipalities of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing were doing relatively well in implementing energy saving schemes. But other regions were way behind in technological standards and government supervision.
Qiu said it would take 1.5 trillion yuan (US$193 billion) to make buildings more energy efficient by 2020. The money would be raised through national subsidies. "This will be a tremendous market," said Qiu.
China has about 60 percent of the world's scaffolding and the number of buildings in the country will almost double by 2020. The area they occupy will increase from 43 billion to 73 billion square meters, Qiu explained.
Though Qiu didn't quantify the energy waste he gave an example to illustrate the voracious consumption of Chinese buildings. "In Beijing 22.4 kilograms of standard coal is needed to heat one square meter of a house in winter whereas Germany does that with just 9 kilograms," he said.
Enforcing strict energy efficiency standards and renovating existing buildings were two key factors to prevent energy waste. "The period before 2020 will be crucial to decide if China takes a growth path with low energy and resource consumption," Qui said.
All new buildings in China have to cut their energy--heating, lighting and air conditioning-- consumption by 50 percent with this figure rising to 65 percent in more prosperous cities like Beijing and Tianjin, Qiu added.
"If we can achieve the goal we can save energy equivalent to 350 million tons of standard coal by 2020 and 110 million tons during the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-10)," Qiu said. The additional costs of making buildings more energy efficient was 100 to 200 yuan (US$12.8-25.7) a square meter and it shouldn't raise real estate prices by much, he observed.
A spot check on 610 projects nationwide found that 10 percent of builders hadn't followed energy saving standards. An international conference on "intelligent, green and energy-efficient" buildings will be held in Beijing in March.
(China Daily January 19, 2007)