A demand for LEED
Last year when traveling to China, USGBC COO Mahesh Ramanujam saw first-hand the growing passion amongst the Chinese for green buildings, LEED in particular. A recent trip to China just a few weeks ago confirmed that enthusiasm in China for LEED continues to soar.
USGBC staff has been very active in China this year; a flurry of meetings, visits to LEED certified buildings, LEED plaque presentations and extensive conversations with USGBC members, developers and Chinese ministers. We even began nascent discussions about developing Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs) for Asia (USGBC launched APCs for Europe a few weeks ago).
To date, here are just a handful of our many activities in China this year:
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
In March, USGBC Senior Fellow Mark Ginsberg (former deputy assistant secretary at U.S. Department of Energy) participated in a plaque presentation for NRDC and a conversation anchored around occupational health associated with green buildings. LEED-CI (LEED Commercial Interiors), which NRDC recently achieved for their office in Beijing, has proved to be another opportunity for them to continue transforming their business culture, improve the health and productivity of their employees, and demonstrate their commitment to the green economy. NRDC has a long history of leadership, engagement, and credibility when it comes to LEED and green design. With the rapid urbanization of China and the country's increasingly poor air quality, NRDC's actions are timely as indoor air quality is becoming a paramount issue. A recent WorldGBC report shows that the green design attributes of buildings and indoor environments can improve worker productivity, occupant health, and well being. This results in tremendous bottom line benefits for businesses, and, chiefly, a company’s most important asset: their employees. NRDC understands that improved indoor air quality puts a strong emphasis on workers, their productivity, moral and overall health. Additionally, it cements strong and healthy company reputations. In short, it's a win-win for businesses—and their employees—to be associated with and apply LEED principles to buildings.
Green Building Conference
At the Green Building Conference in April, USGBC had the privilege of speaking after Qiu Baoxing, Vice Minister, Minister ofHousing and Urban-Rural Development. We also had a meeting with Mr. Qiu BaoXin, Executive Vice Minister, China Ministry of Housing, and Urban and Rural Development, and discussed collaboration between USGBC and the China Green Building Council in the areas of: Eco City, Green schools, Green existing buildings.
Speaking of our friends at the China Green Building Council, we also discussed the goal of advancing green building and supporting the goals of the governments of China and the U.S. to reduce significantly—and measurably—carbon dioxide (CO2) associated with buildings. The U.S. and China account for more than 40 percent of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use—more than 35 percent of the world’s energy consumption—costing businesses and households in the two countries roughly $1.5. trillion per year. By working together to improve energy efficiency in buildings it will allow for large cost savings that can be reinvested to advance economic growth and green job creation in both countries.
Financial Street Holdings
We had a LEED plaque presentation and a meeting earlier in the year with the developer of Financial Street Holdings—a state owned company—responsible for developing Beijing's financial district. Financial Street Holdings has now expanded to other Chinese cities with multiple development projects. In addition to expressing our sincere appreciation for their leadership, environmental stewardship and role in enhancing and transforming the built environment, I encouraged them to build on this, to commit more to LEED, and to promote LEED to other developers using Financial Street’s influence in Beijing and China.
ENN Smart Energy Service Building
Another LEED Platinum certificate presentation for this building on the ENN campus located in the Langfang hi-tech development area. LEED consultants were involved in the project at the earliest stage. Before and during master planning for the project, a separate sustainability study was undertaken to assess opportunities and goals for sustainable development. The study set a baseline goal of LEED Platinum Certification and what that might mean to the project. With city gas operations as its core, ENN Energy provides customers with optimized energy use solutions as well as natural gas, liquefied natural gas and other clean energy products.
Finally, one more plaque presentation to this commercial complex in Beijing. There are three buildings; Indigo One (office building, achieved LEED Platinum), Indigo Mall (LEED Gold) and a hotel (in the LEED process). The project was developed by a joint venture between Swire Properties and Sino Ocean Land along with Swire Properties, a USGBC Gold member.
USGBC remains committed to meeting Chinese market demand for LEED and continuing our collaboration of working closely with the Chinese government to determine how best to deliver more and more green buildings to China. We all remain united in that healthy buildings, healthy communities and a healthy planet are fundamental to shared prosperity, and yes, to our very well being and happiness.