Joys of paint­ing the town green

En­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ma­te­ri­als are trans­form­ing prop­erty con­struc­tion, spawn­ing a big in­dus­try

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS FOCUS - ByWUYIYAO in Shang­hai wuyiyao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

One Satur­day ear­lier this month, en­gi­neer Zhang Shup­ing, 29, vis­ited a mar­ket for con­struc­tion and in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tion ma­te­ri­als in Shang­hai, and was ut­terly sur­prised to find sev­eral prod­uct la­bels marked “for green build­ings”.

Sur­prised be­cause un­be­known to Zhang, green, or en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, build­ing ma­te­ri­als have ac­quired di­men­sions of a le­git­i­mate main­stream mar­ket seg­ment.

The global mar­ket for green con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als is ex­pected to grow from $111.6 bil­lion in 2013 to $254 bil­lion by 2020, ac­cord­ing to a re­search note by Nav­i­gant Con­sul­tancy Ltd.

Signs of that were ev­i­dent at the Shang­hai mar­ket where Zhang was greeted by green win­dow glass prod­ucts, paints, coat­ing ma­te­ri­als, au­to­mated light­ing so­lu­tions, and even pre-fab­ri­cated bath­rooms that help re­cy­cle used wa­ter for re­peated use in toi­lets.

“As an en­gi­neer, I know that­many com­pa­nies have been eye­ing en­ergy ef­fi­ciency so­lu­tions in in­dus­trial man­u­fac­tur­ing, but now I see aware­ness of green build­ings is in­creas­ing among peo­ple,” said Zhang.

Each la­bel, he noted, con­tains de­tails like en­ergy saved by the prod­uct and how use of nat­u­ral re­sources would be min­i­mized by the prod­uct, com­pared to reg­u­lar prod­ucts.

Zhang no­ticed the green prod­ucts were more ex­pen­sive than oth­ers though. But the green la­bels claim the ad­di­tional cost would be more than off­set by the sub­se­quent sav­ings on util­ity bills.

An­a­lysts said that in China, build­ings us­ing green ma­te­ri­als and green tech­nolo­gies are be­com­ing Frank Chen, a trend.

And soon, they pre­dict, green would be­come a “must” for sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

China aims to cap car­bon emis­sions at the glob­ally stip­u­lated peak by 2030 or ear­lier, promis­ing to cut car­bon diox­ide emis­sion per unit of GDP by 60 to 65 per­cent from the 2005 level, ac­cord­ing to a doc­u­ment sub­mit­ted to the Sec­re­tariat of the UN Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change last year.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­search note of theMin­istry ofHous­ing and Ur­ban- Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, en­ergy con­sump­tion of build­ings in China may reach 35 per­cent of the coun­try’s en­tire en­ergy con­sump­tion in a cou­ple of years.

“Car­bon emis­sions could be re­duced by up to 50 per­cent when a build­ing is op­er­ated un­der the green build­ing stan­dards,” said Frank Chen, head ofCBREChina re­search.

Chen said that en­ergy can be saved through both “pas­sive” and “ac­tive” mea­sures. Pas­sive mea­sures in­clude ef­fi­cient de­sign and tech­nolo­gies like green light­ing, shad­ing, ther­mal in­su­la­tion and air flow man­age­ment. Ac­tive meth­ods cover power man­age­ment, au­to­ma­tion and im­proved user be­hav­ior.

“We ad­vise that from the very be­gin­ning, a build­ing needs to be de­signed to be green,” he said.

More mea­sures are needed to en­sure all build­ings go green, he said. Pol­i­cy­mak­ers, de­vel­op­ers, res­i­dents and build­ing users can play spe­cific roles to make a build­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, said Zhu Yingxin, a pro­fes­sor and deputy chief of the In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tec­ture at Ts­inghua Uni­ver­sity.

Ed­u­cat­ing the build­ing oc­cu­pants is a sig­nif­i­cant part of mak­ing a build­ing green, said Zhu.

In­dus­try in­sid­ers said it is nec­es­sary to spread aware­ness that green build­ings are not costlier than con­ven­tional ones in the long run.

Javier Gi­meno, CEO for the Asi­aPa­cific op­er­a­tions of Com­pag­nie de Saint-Gobain SA, a French con­struc­tion ma­te­rial sup­plier, said the com­pany sees in­creas­ing de­mand for its green build­ing ma­te­ri­als in China. For, al­most all the par­ties in­volved in build­ing de­vel­op­ment and con­struc­tion have re­al­ized the im­por­tance and ben­e­fits of go­ing green.

“Lifes­pan of a build­ing can be decades, and green ma­te­ri­als save a lot of en­ergy. If you do that cal­cu­la­tion, you can fig­ure out that us­ing green build­ing ma­te­ri­als is ac­tu­ally sav­ing money,” said Gi­meno.

A build­ing needs to be de­signed to be green.” re­search head of CBRE China

CUI XIAO / FOR CHINA DAILY

Two vis­i­tors en­joy their time at the serene Green Light­house in Nan­jing, Jiangsu prov­ince. The en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly Sino-Dan­ish project is a cylin­der-shaped three-story build­ing with an un­der­ground floor and al­lows sun­light to fil­ter in from the top and sides, min­i­miz­ing light­ing and sav­ing on elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion.

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