IFC’s Green Buildings Program in China
Leading engineers and scientists from throughout China have been helping the EDGE green buildings team over the last six months to align the EDGE software with the nation’s green building labeling system, the “Three Star System.” Progress on the partnership with the Center of Science and Technology and Industrialization Development (CSTID) was announced in Beijing at China’s largest green building conference, the International Conference on Green and Energy-Efficient Building and New Technologies and Products Expo, on March 22, 2017.
The EDGE software, which is available in Mandarin, has been modified to generate a compliance report to demonstrate the achievement of key parameters with the Three Star System. EDGE now includes new criteria to encourage the harnessing of geothermal, hydropower, wind and biomass energy over traditional coal options. Additionally, reporting capabilities have been created and data has been sharpened to match nearly 30 of China’s major cities. The goal is to enable the software to be used for compliance and to ensure the greatest accuracy possible on projected energy and water reduction in new buildings, as well as carbon emissions generated by building operation.
IFC’s EDGE and CSTID teams also plan to explore ways to encourage green hotels, as the World Tourism Organization forecasts China to become the world’s most visited country by 2020. Their collaboration will build on CSTID’s existing work on its green building label for hotels through guidance on resource-efficient design and operations.
There is no nation that can provide greater results in carbon emission reductions than China, due to the magnitude of its population and growth in incomes and urbanization. Half of all buildings constructed annually are built in China, which is home to the largest construction market in the world. China is predicted to build the equivalent of the current built environment of all of Central and South America by 2030, according to data extrapolated from Navigant Research. Buildings collectively account for 30 to 40 percent of the entire country’s energy usage.
In a 2016 survey, five percent of property developers in China responded that their properties are green, but 28 percent report that they expect to be designing their projects green within the next three years. Market demand was the main driver of green buildings according to 43 percent of respondents (compared to 30 percent worldwide).
China’s government began encouraging the development of sustainable communities as early as the mid-1990s, according to the Asian Development Bank. Dozens of eco-cities are currently being developed, including the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City, as well as Dongtan outside of Shanghai and Wuhan.
EDGE is part of IFC’s holistic strategy to steer construction in rapidly urbanizing economies onto a more low-carbon path. In addition to EDGE software and certification, IFC’s green buildings program offers expertise on government policy reform, green buildings investment and advisory, and support for new product development by financial institutions. In China, IFC’s work in green buildings is generously supported by Switzerland (SECO), Hungary (EXIM) and donors to the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program of the World Bank (ESMAP).