China / Across America

Broad chair early believer in climate change

By Paul Welitzkin in New York (China Daily USA) Updated: 2016-04-27 11:10

There may be climate change skeptics in the US, but Yue Zhang, chairman and CEO of Broad Group, has never doubted that changes in global or regional climate patterns have occurred.

"I believe that this has happened over the past 20 years," Zhang said in an interview.

"The biggest problem we face in the world right now isn't terrorism or world war. It's climate change," he once told the BBC.

Zhang was in New York on Monday for a seminar sponsored by the New York chapter of the China General Chamber of Commerce on creating a sustainable New York City. He noted the signing of Paris Agreement on climate change last week.

"It's great news for us. Our products, when compared with traditional ones, will sharply reduce costs. So this will help to create lots of opportunity," Zhang said. He received a Champions of the Earth award in 2011 from the UN Environment Programme.

In 2012, Zhang's company shocked the world by completing a 30-story building in 15 days. Zhang, a former artist, started Broad with $3,000 in 1988 mainly to produce industrial air conditioning units.

Since then Zhang has obtained more than 100 patents and each of his inventions has transformed its respective industry, making Broad a green technology leader in many fields.

Sustainability is one of the main reasons why Broad and its US subsidiary (Broad Group USA) are in business. Hackensack, New Jersey-based Broad and its parent in China specialize in manufacturing central air conditioning non-electric absorption chillers that are powered by natural gas and waste heat.

Both firms specialize in cogeneration (combined heat and power or CHP) which is the simultaneous production of electricity and heat from a single source like natural gas, biomass, coal, waste heat, or oil in an integrated energy system.

According to Doug Davis, Board USA's director of sales in North America, the company is working on projects at a new MGM casino outside of Washington and two Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals in Connecticut.

Davis said the installation of Broad's technology at the VA hospitals is particularly exciting for the company. "If we can reduce energy costs by as much as a third, this means there will be more funds for patient care at the VA," he said.

Last year Broad completed a project for the Whole Foods store in Brooklyn, New York, that features a 157 kilowatt CHP system that provides simultaneous heating and chilled water annually through cogeneration of heat and electricity. It is designed to keep the store functioning during a power grid failure.

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