Environmentally friendly buildings present China with a unique
opportunity to make concrete progress in the country's efforts to
In a recent report titled Is China Ready to Take the
LEED? international real estate money management and services
firm Jones Lang LaSalle highlighted that as sustainable buildings
become more prevalent in China, Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) is emerging as the preferred method for
certifying these innovative, market-moving developments.
China's cities are in the midst of a massive building boom,
creating intense competition in major markets and dramatically
increasing energy consumption. Sustainable buildings offer a
significant solution - both in terms of the need for market
differentiation and greater energy efficiency.
In light of this, LEED has emerged as the preferred rating
system, because it is flexible enough to be applied to a diverse
variety of markets and also because it enjoys the greatest
recognition of various international rating systems.
This recognition is especially important when one considers that
a prime motivator for developers to create a certified sustainable
building is to differentiate their projects from the
"It is important that builders and occupiers develop an
understanding of LEED and the overall sustainable building
movement, as it has significant business implications and is an
opportunity to make a real contribution in the effort to improve
China's environment," said Benjamin Christensen, research manager
of Jones Lang LaSalle Beijing, one of the authors of the
In the past, companies in China would only focus on increasing
sustainability levels in their individual tenancy. But as more and
more certified sustainable buildings enter the market, the
sustainability of these buildings will be a significant draw for
"This will be the case not only because this type of office
space satisfies corporate social responsibility (CSR) demands, but
also because sustainable buildings are proven to increase
productivity, decrease employee turnover and, very importantly,
save energy costs," added Christensen.
For developers, the emergence of LEED-certified buildings means
the China office market is reaching a new level of sophistication
and that sustainable design will increasingly be a prerequisite for
top projects. This, in turn, implies that the technology and
expertise necessary to design and build a sustainable building will
be more accessible and established in the country.
LEED's emergence also means the public and the government would
be more aware of sustainable buildings and rating systems, such as
LEED, thus providing developers with a new opportunity to enhance
their public image and launch a platform for marketing new
For tenants, the increase in LEED-certified office space means
they will have office options that better satisfy global CSR
requirements. Those who choose to occupy sustainable buildings will
likely save money on energy and increase staff productivity because
of improved internal office environment.
Prosper Centre, a 148,000-sq-m office and retail complex in
Beijing CBD (central business district), is setting an important
precedent as it will be the first LEED-certified office project to
be completed in the capital, the report said.
Hong Kong developer Henderson Land aims to make its new project,
World Financial Centre, a pre-eminent Grade A office building in
Beijing. The developer has stated that the market demands that a
building of this caliber must be highly sustainable. The World
Financial Centre is currently pre-certified for LEED and is aiming
for LEED Platinum upon completion.
The report also highlighted that the push toward more
sustainable construction in China is being led by both the market
and the government.
The government has created a framework of minimum requirements
for energy efficiency on all new construction. The requirements are
based on the average energy efficiency of Chinese buildings in 1980
and aim to decrease energy use on all new construction by 50
percent before 2010 and by 65 percent before 2020.
The current requirement across China is 50 percent, but in both
Shanghai and Beijing, the local governments have already increased
the minimum requirement to 65 percent.
(China Daily November 23, 2007)