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.

Thinking Differently about How we Inhabit The Earth – session from Heather Henriksen, Harvard


Universities are central to the challenges of how we sustain human life on our planet. Climate change is one challenge in which universities can be engaged in the lab, in the classroom and on the campus as a living laboratory. Integrating these three areas is key.

Harvard is taking this approach but recognises the challenge of devolved decision making across 13 schools. It’s collective vision for the University puts education and empowerment of students at the top of its agenda.

The Harvard Sustainability Plan focuses on 5 areas:

  • Emissions and energy
  • Campus operations
  • Nature and Ecosystems
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Culture and Learning

Schools are given some latitude in terms of playing to their strengths and building on the opportunities they have specific to their school.

Recognising the continued growth of the Harvard Campus the university has developed its own Green Building Standards to replace its ‘guidance’ to require higher standards in new build. They were revised and approved at the end of 2014. The benefits of reducing risk has been acknowledged as a consequence of their adoption. 7 success factors focus on early engagement with users, designers and before anything is committed; modelling of energy and life cycle costing; aggressive baseline and reward cutting edge innovation; industry alignment, etc.

the University’s approach has enabled some other benefits such as testing university research on buildings on the campus. Building on the LEED design model and developing these as underpinning the standards at the University.

These include a healthy materials disclosure to drive healthier buildings. The Living Building Challenge is a new standard that looks to enhance the health impact on building occupants. Harvard are also moving towards net zero energy buildings. Already, Harvard is ‘ahead of code’ and policy locally, nationally and sector.

Harvard is targeting energy intensive buildings, particularly labs and data centres. They collaborated with other universities to develop off-site data centre solutions for several universities which gave inward investment to a deprived area in MA which attracted $25m State funding.