China Focus: Green buildings rising across China

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-13 17:00:19|Editor: An
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BEIJING, June 13 (Xinhua) -- The tall glittering buildings standing near Gucheng subway station in western Beijing's Shijingshan District might not look much different from the high-rises of the downtown, but on closer inspection, there is more to them than meets the eye.

The new complex boasts some of the highest standards of green building, featuring over 50 innovative processes and systems.

On the outside of the buildings are glass walls that help shield noise and heat, as well as infrared and ultraviolet rays. Solar photovoltaic panels lie on the roofs while energy-saving LED lamps lighten the inside of the complex. People working there breathe filtered air and enjoy large roof gardens.

As more and more Chinese become more environmentally savvy, the country's developers have responded by placing more focus on green construction.

China rolled out its first set of national standards for green buildings in 2006, which calls for maximal conservation in energy, power, land, water and material to protect environment and reduce pollution during the construction and use of the buildings. There are three levels of green building qualifications now in China.

About 700 construction projects had achieved the top two levels of green building qualifications in 2016, according to an industry report. In 2009, there were only 20 green building products across all three qualification levels, by 2015 this had risen to 3,799.

Greenland Group, a leading green developer and one of the main developers behind the Gucheng green complex, has built around 320 green projects since 2008 and now plans to apply the green approach to new livable towns, according to Lu Lu, head of the green industry center with the company.

"Chinese now aspire to live in green, high-quality houses," said Miao Leru, deputy head with China Real Estate Association.

According to a development plan for the construction sector released by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) last Month, around half of China's new urban buildings must meet green construction standards by 2020.

All new urban residential and public buildings should meet energy conservation requirements by 2020, with energy efficiency levels 20 percent higher than 2015 while about 40 percent of new urban construction projects should use environmentally friendly and energy-saving materials, the plan added.

Green buildings yield significant operational savings compared with traditional buildings and produce higher asset values, according to the World Green Building Trends 2016 Smart Market Report released by Dodge Data & Analytics and United Technologies Corporation earlier this year.

Rapid growth in green involvement in China is expected, with surveyed Chinese companies showing higher willingness to invest in green buildings than their global counterparts in average in fields of new commercial buildings, new high-rise residential buildings and mixed-use communities.

There is still much room for improvement, according to Chen Yiming, chief engineer with MOHURD, citing that the ratio of buildings reaching green review standards in all finished urban construction projects and that for achieving green operation qualification remain rather low.

Encouraging sustainable business practices is the top social reason for going green in China while the major challenge ahead is higher outlay costs, the survey pointed out.

Developers must bear the higher financial strain associated with green building, but technological development and the green material industrial chain will help reduce the costs, Lu said.

Most importantly, market demand and recognition are both growing in China, which means building green will pay in the long run, both environmentally and financially, he added.