Mahesh Ramanujam

Every story about a green building is a story about people. And you’ve heard it before: at USGBC, we say every story about a LEED building, community or city is a story about leaders. Leaders across the globe recognize that LEED works and enhances an organization’s triple bottom line—people, planet and profit. By certifying to LEED, leaders across the world are raising the bar for the global market, positively impacting the quality of our built space.

The Hongqiao Central Business District (CBD) in Shanghai, China is no exception. Set up in 2009, Hongqiao CBD covers an area of 86 square kilometers and integrates the Changning, Minhang, Jiading and Qingpu districts. Its core area of 4.7 square kilometers surrounds the Hongqiao transport hub. This CBD area is also identified for fast growth in the 12th five-year plan and is of strategic importance to Shanghai. This area is uniquely positioned geographically and serves as a gateway to the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region. The YRD region is one of the most economically prosperous, up-and-coming areas in mainland China, accounts for 20 percent of China’s GDP and is responsible for one-third of China’s imports and exports.

The administrative committee is committed to transforming the entire CBD area into a low-carbon and green construction community, and to transforming Shanghai into an international trade center. Hongiao CBD’s global vision aims to attract large private enterprises and listed multinational companies who wish to capitalize on CBD’s advantage of international traffic. The administrative committee, led by CPC Committee Secretary and Executive Deputy Director Mr. Min Shilin, are true leaders in the green building movement.

I am excited to announce that last week, USGBC and Hongqiao entered into a strategic partnership to further bolster and support the CBD’s sustainability goals. The partnership will incorporate LEED and the China Green Building Standard into Hongqiao, creating a new low-carbon city that will transform Shanghai into an international transportation hub in the YRD region.

Both rating systems are being used across the project in a variety of buildings to attract new tenants, build a healthier community and scale up the value and market demand for healthier, higher-performing green buildings across China. Currently, there are nine projects in CBD pursuing LEED certification. At a minimum, all projects in CBD must meet China 2 Star requirements. Hongqiao’s leaders are also exploring the possibility of incorporating LEED for Neighborhood Development and LEED City, and integrating their state-of-the-art centralized performance management system into USGBC’s LEED Dynamic Plaque.

The plan is ambitious, remarkable and achievable. Hongqiao’s vision is simple: create an environment where businesses thrive, commerce flows easily, jobs are created, people’s health improves and the environment is protected. Hongqiao is employing a triple bottom line strategy, creating a one-of-a-kind development project for Shanghai, China and the world.

The dedication, passion and commitment of the entire Hongqiao team is very inspiring. They are deeply committed to sustainability and have carefully integrated this early on into the master plan, design, construction and operational aspects of this city and have had a positive influence on their developers.

They have approached this development with a long-term view in mind, and not merely as a temporary structure. They have taken a very complex project, created an integrated transportation hub and deployed it so well that it has appeared effortless.

This is because they have a very clear, distinct vision. It is a focused, systematic, results-oriented and global approach that will create a long-term, enduring impact. By incorporating sustainable building practices into this project, they will see a stream of environmental, economic, community and worker productivity benefits for decades to come.

We applaud the Hongqiao Central Business District and the team of leaders who worked so hard on this project. You have helped raise the bar for what we should expect for our built environment. Your leadership is what is really making sustainability happen on a global scale.

It is an honor to work with this prestigious, visionary group. You are leading us from the front—and we are extremely honored to follow in your footsteps. LEED ON!