China has launched ambitious plans to make its residential and
office buildings more energy-efficient.
In the first five months of the year, industrial standard makers
announced three sets of new national standards: namely, regulations
on energy saving for civil buildings, standards for residential
buildings and standards for technical evaluations of residential
Another new guideline regarding the assessment of green
buildings will take effect on June 1. Though not a compulsory
standard, it asks for even higher standards in energy consumption
and other environment-related indices.
According to Wang Guangtao, the Minister of Construction,
these standards have formed a basic framework of industrial
standards regarding energy-efficiency of buildings.
Chinese legislators are also actively involved in the process.
Both the Law on Energy Saving and the Law on Architecture are being
revised to accommodate the new standards.
A new decree on energy-saving for buildings is also high on the
agenda of the State Council, Minister Wang said recently.
China's efforts to improve the energy-efficiency of its
buildings is important for itself, but it also affects the rest of
China is now the world's fourth largest economy and the second
largest energy consumer. Over 30 percent of the world's coal, steel
and cement are now consumed in China.
On the other hand, architectural energy consumption is
accounting for 30 percent of the country's total energy
consumption. The figure will rise to 40 percent if energy
consumption for manufacture and transportation of construction
materials is considered.
According to Jiang Yi, a professor in architecture with the
privileged Tsinghua University, if nothing is done to check the
situation, architectural energy consumption in China will double by
To meet the new demand would require the building of more than
10 power stations the size of the Three Gorges power station, he
Chinese vice-premier Zeng Peiyan and other senior government
officials have repeatedly pointed out that reducing the
architectural energy consumption should be given top priority in
the national drive to turn China into a resource-saving and
The subject is already among the priorities in both China's 11th
Five-Year-Plan period (2006 - 2010) and its medium and long-term
plan for science and technology development.
The application of new materials and new energy is a major part
of the government strategy to reduce architectural energy
A good example is the government effort to phase out the use of
traditional bricks made of soil that have been used in China for
thousands of years.
The manufacture of such bricks is not only energy-intensive, but
also destroys tens of thousands of hectares of precious farmland in
China every year. Bricks of this kind also provide poor insulation
which increases energy consumption. By 2010, these bricks will have
been phased out in all China's cities.
Government has also launched an ambitious plan to renovate
existing buildings to make them more energy-efficient. The
renovation of buildings housing the Ministry of Construction and
other central government departments has already begun.
Planners hope to renovate 25 percent of all residential and
public buildings in major cities by 2010, as well as 15 percent of
the buildings in medium-sized cities and 10 percent of those in
small cities. The whole job will be completed by 2020.
The government is also working on new policies that will provide
tax rebates and other financial incentives for the construction and
purchase of energy-efficient buildings.
(Xinhua News Agency May 25, 2006)