China Academy of Building Research

Professor Stephen Lau from the National University of Singapore explains the routemap adopted by China towards Green Building development.

The source of the materials presented are attributed to http://www.cabr.com.cn and shows that coastal areas of China, where land values are higher and space is more constrained and economic conditions suit the adoption of green building standards.  


The costs of projects that are ‘greener’ are higher but the additional costs are falling over time as the solutions to the standards are adopted and better understood.

Globally, Europe, China and Australia are seen to be amongst the highest standards in green buildings as shown by the International Energy Efficiency Scorecard 2012. China now 4th overall globally in terms of standards in the 2014 analysis (Germany is 1st).

There is strong emphasis on air quality, particularly PM2.5 in Beijing and the point source with significant contributions coming from outside Beijing itself through coal fired energy generation and construction. This is particularly challenging in the context of growth in China – both in terms of urbanisation and energy demands.

Policies to tackle this set standards in new construction to meet carbon targets and air quality. Consideration of embodied energy in materials is now more prominent and recognising 70% of the impact is in life use.

Collaborative research undertaken between the US and China has consdiered absolute and relative targets against population, GDP and on a spatial basis. Further analysis of CO2 emissions of typical cities has been undertaken. China working to dependency on non fossil fuels which is driving interest in nuclear power in China.


The concept of a ‘Green Campus’ is developing in China. The opportunity to educate students about green building technologies is a primary driver for this with the health and energy efficiency benefits seen as secondary in both schools, colleges and universities. Learning is being taken up in Provinces and a competition to stimulate thinking around sustainable campuses is to be launched later this year led by the China Green Business Council. Active engagement with children in popular science lectures in the Provinces.

Author: Andy Nolan

An experienced director-level professional with expertise in sustainable development, cities, universities, governance, policy and strategy. 15 years of experience working in the field of sustainability in both the private and public sector. Has worked within a local authority, in multi-authority partnerships locally and nationally. Experience in higher education across four universities in the UK plus representative bodies. Particular areas of interest and expertise include; energy; transport; climate change; waste management; air quality; decentralised energy; education for sustainability; smart cities; knowledge transfer; research.

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