Green technology should be a core value for property developers if the country is to achieve sustainable and environmentally-friendly growth, says a report by one of world's leading real estate management and services firms.
Green buildings are designed, built and operated to have low environmental impact while enhancing the health, welfare and quality of life for residents.
Currently, sustainable buildings in the country are "at best" limited to a handful of top-notch properties in major cities, with very few examples of such facilities in second- or third-tier cities, according to Jones Lang LaSalle's report Sustainable Real Estate Development in China.
More than 80 percent of completed space in China fails to meet State-required efficiency standards and up to 95 percent are considered "high energy consuming", with average consumption levels two to three times higher than those in developed countries, it said.
"There are huge gains to be made by adopting sustainable practices in the Chinese real estate market," the report noted, referring to the fact that half of all electricity and a third of all water are consumed in commercial buildings.
"It represents huge space to make progress in energy efficiency in the areas of commercial buildings," said Justin Kean, the author of the report and associate director of Occupiers Research at the property consultancy.
The Chinese government has set an ambitious goal of reducing energy usage per unit of GDP by 20 percent by 2010. It also aims to cut water consumption per unit of industrial output by 30 percent by the same year.
The awareness of sustainable real estate in China lags far behind that in the West, the report said.
"The low awareness is a major problem in promoting sustainable real estate."
Education of both owners and occupiers, the report said, is key to ensure that they implement green strategies.
Meeting sustainable standards can add up to 10 percent of the cost of a commercial building project, the report estimated.
"The increasing costs may deter some developers from adopting sustainable practices" and that is where the government can play a role - such as providing incentives - said Eric Lee, head of property management for North Asia at Jones Lang LaSalle.
(China Daily March 22, 2007)