A visitor looks at a green building model at the 16th China International Exposition of Housing Industry, Products and Equipment held in Beijing in October. (Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily)
China is making rapid progress in green buildings and appears set to cement its place among the world's top markets for cost-effective and environment-friendly structures, according to an industry report.
The 2017 China Green Building Report by CBRE Research said the green building concept has been accepted by more and more property developers and local governments in China.
This has already made China the world's second-largest market for LEED-certified projects, trailing only the United States. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the world's most widely used green building rating system.
Latest data suggest there are over 520 million square meters of green building space in 336 Chinese cities.
Including LEED-certified projects, accredited green building space would total over 600 million sq m.
LEED aims to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. It includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighborhoods.
As of August 2017, LEED-certified space in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen totaled 23 million sq m, accounting for 51 percent of all certified area in China, a 1 percent increase from 2014.
To date, 54 cities are covered by LEED's footprint in China. Beijing is the first Chinese city to have more than 10 million sq m of LEED-certified green building space.
It is followed by Shanghai (8.34 million sq m), Chongqing (4.12 million sq m), Shenzhen (2.64 million sq m) and Wuhan of Hubei province (2.5 million sq m).
Other cities in the list are Guangzhou of Guangdong province (2.31 million sq m), Chengdu of Sichuan province (2.08 million sq m), Hangzhou of Zhejiang province (1.72 million sq m), Tianjin (1.72 million sq m), Suzhou of Jiangsu province (1.71 million sq m), Nanjing of Jiangsu province (1. 24 million sq m), and Shenyang of Liaoning province (1.06 million sq m).
"Such growth in green building development is closely associated with the policy support from the Chinese government and market motivation," said Stephen Tam, senior director of asset services with CBRE Greater China.
In March, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development released the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) on green building development. The plan envisions a period of acceleration of "quantity and quality" for green buildings in China.
At least 50 percent of all newly constructed buildings should be certified as green buildings by 2020, it said.
In the early stages, LEED certification was adopted and promoted by only Hong Kong developers and foreign enterprises from relatively mature economies.
In recent years, however, an increasing number of local developers have begun to adopt the standard for their new projects.
Currently, about 62 percent of all newly built prime office buildings are LEED-certified, according to CBRE data.
Major Chinese developers including Soho China, Excellence Group, Sino Ocean Group and Ping An actively engage in developing green office buildings.
Higher rents, energy and water efficiency, better air quality, sustainability, lower operation cost, a high-quality work environment－all these factors have facilitated overall comfort and driven demand for green office space in China, said Tam.