Energy waste in buildings 'to stop'

By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-19 07:28

China will spend hundreds of millions of yuan to make its buildings more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, Vice-Minister of Construction Qiu Baoxing said yesterday.

China's fast urban growth has accelerated the pace and expanded the scale of constructions and in the process a "huge amount of energy is being wasted".

Qiu conceded that last year's energy efficiency improvement target was not met because the project to renovate existing buildings so that they could save more energy was limited to only a few regions.

A ministry inspection in 30 regions last year showed the four municipalities of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing were doing relatively well in implementing energy saving codes. But other regions were way behind in technological standards and government supervision.

Qiu said it would take 1.5 trillion yuan ($193 billion) to make the buildings more energy efficient by 2020. The money will be raised through national subsidies. "This will be a tremendous market."

China has about 60 percent of the world's scaffoldings, and the number of its buildings will almost double by 2020. And the area they occupy will increase from 43 billion to 73 billion square meters, Qiu said.

Though Qiu didn't quantify the energy wasted, he gave an example to illustrate the voracious energy consumption of buildings in China.

"In Beijing, 22.4 kilograms of standard coal is needed to heat 1 square meter of a house in winter, whereas Germany does that with just 9 kilograms," he said.

Enforcing strict energy efficiency standards and renovating the existing constructions will be the two key factors to prevent energy waste, he said.

"The period before 2020 will be crucial to decide if China takes a growth mode with low energy and resources consumption."

All new buildings in China have to cut their energy (heating, lighting and air conditioning) consumption by 50 percent, with the level being raised to 65 percent in more prosperous cities like Beijing and Tianjin, Qiu said.

"If we could achieve the goal, we can save energy equivalent to 350 million tons of standard coal by 2020 and 110 million tons during the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-10)," Qiu said.

The added cost to make buildings more energy efficient is 100 to 200 yuan ($12.8-25.7) a square meter, and it shouldn't raise real estate prices by much, he said.

A spot check on 610 projects nationwide found that 10 percent builders hadn't followed energy saving standards. An international conference on "intelligent, green and energy-efficient" buildings will be held in Beijing in March.

(China Daily 01/19/2007 page3)

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