China will monitor the amount of energy consumption and carbon dioxide emission of constructions in 15 major cities, including Shanghai, before 2010.
An official with the Ministry of Construction made the announcement yesterday.
The project will help the Chinese government gain a clearer understanding of construction-related energy consumption before it undertakes further conservation measures.
"The lack of scientific statistics is a key drawback of our energy conservation works," Han Aixing, chief director of the ministry's science and technology department, said in Shanghai at a Sino-German seminar on energy efficiency in buildings.
He said many Western countries have detailed statistics on energy consumption in buildings. The city of New York, for example, has worked out the amount of carbon dioxide produced by downtown buildings.
According to the plan, the government will be in charge of measuring the overall amount of energy consumption - mainly power and natural gas - of various types of constructions, such as office buildings, shopping malls, hotels and residential complexes.
Besides Shanghai, other cities in the plan include Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
China has set a goal of reducing energy consumption by 20 percent by the end of 2010 compared with 2005. The amount of energy consumed in buildings accounts for nearly 50 percent of that total, Han said.
However, China's statistics on energy consumption in buildings is mostly based on guesswork.
And there are many loopholes during the process of administrative approvals for new buildings.
He said many building owners cheat the government by showing false figures on energy efficiency.
At the seminar, China and Germany co-issued a pamphlet of technical standards to make Chinese buildings more energy efficient. The standards cover temperature limits on summer cooling, the thickness of exterior walls and the layout and material of windows.
Felicitas Kraus, head of Energy Efficiency in Buildings of the Germany Energy Agency, said: "Building owners in Germany have to show a certificate of energy efficiency for their buildings."
She said most German tenants prefer buildings of better energy efficiency, even if they cost more.
She also said the German government has favorable policies to encourage the construction of energy-efficient buildings, such as low-interest loans and subsidies.
(Shanghai Daily August 24, 2007)