The cost of creating a greener future

An international green building exhibition in Beijing. China set an ambitious target to make 30 percent of the country's new construction environmentally friendly by 2020. [Photo/China Daily] 

Environmentally friendly building companies to boom if targets hit

Twenty-eight-year-old banker Wang Ning bought an apartment for his parents in Shanghai a year ago. Unlike regular apartments in China, this one boasted "organic" credentials and constant temperature and humidity levels all year round thanks to a "ground source heating pump system".

"This apartment was a little more expensive than others in the same neighborhood but, for elderly people, the right temperature and humidity and also fresh air mean a lot," said Wang.

The couple did not need to install air conditioners in their new home, saving a lot in electricity bills. In a city where temperatures rise as high as 40 degrees Celsius in summer and fall below zero in winter, Shanghai is often short of electricity.

Landsea Group Holding Ltd, the company that built the apartment, is a leading real estate developer in China, specializing in building energy-saving and environmentally friendly communities.

Reliant on its ground source heating pump system, fresh air replacement and ceiling radiation, as well as the use of solar power, the apartment provides a comfortable living environment, with lower use of traditional resources such as mains electricity.

"The idea of green construction is still pretty new to most Chinese people, but most of our clients are well-educated people with high incomes. Some have experienced living abroad," said Xie Man, the sales manager at Landsea Enjoy Green, a cluster of residential buildings located in northwestern Shanghai's Nanxiang county.

The buildings have been on sale since the beginning of last year at a price of about 21,000 yuan ($3,300) a square meter. Seventy-five percent have been sold, leaving more than 100 apartments available.

"The scientific system in our buildings will push up the price by 2,000 to 3,000 yuan a square meter," Xie said. Some people are happy with that because they want a comfortable temperature and humidity and are concerned about air pollution.

Under the current Five-Year Plan (2011-15), China explicitly stated that constructing green buildings is one way of meeting the target of reducing energy consumption by 16 percent and carbon emissions by 17 percent for every unit of gross domestic production by 2015.

China set an ambitious target to make 30 percent of the country's new construction green by 2020, according to a document jointly released by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in early May.

It was the country's first announced goal for the development of green buildings.

The document said authorities will adopt measures including increasing policy incentives and improving industry standards, as well as promoting technological progress and the development of related industries, in order to attain the goal.

The document also specifies a goal of bringing China's building energy consumption ratio closer to that of developed countries by 2020.


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