February 26, 2008 (Xinhua) – China’s green construction system, with a market value estimated at 1.5 trillion yuan (US$208 billion), is growing through energy-efficient projects, the Ministry of Construction said here on Tuesday. Qiu Baoxing, deputy head of the ministry, said the construction area involved had increased by 2 billion square meters each year, nearly half of world’s total.
As the largest construction market, China also has the largest amount of energy to conserve.
Northern areas of the country had launched home-heating metering and renovation projects to cut energy costs, with 150 million square meters expected to be changed to new systems.
The central government appropriated 900 million yuan (125 million U.S. dollars) in 2007 exclusively to upgrade household heating meters, while big cities such as Dalian and Qingdao started pilot projects.
The total cost of these projects was estimated at 200 billion to 300 billion yuan, Qiu said. He said that energy companies would bear much of the cost, such as the initial construction expenses. They would benefit afterwards from the operation of energy-efficient systems.
In addition, there would be more construction of renewable energy projects, such as solar power. In 2007, the central government allocated 700 million yuan to support 212 pilot renewable construction projects.
By the end of the year, 700 million sq m were using solar power for energy, and approximately 80 million sq m were using geothermal heat.
Qiu said that 97 percent of new construction designs in China met energy-efficiency standards and 71 percent of on-going construction projects — some designed before the standard was introduced — also did. These figures were up 1 percentage point and 17 percentage points, respectively, from a year earlier.
Energy-efficient buildings constructed from January to October last year could save energy equivalent to 5 million tons of standard coal.
China is also the world’s biggest cement consumer, using more than 43 percent of the world’s total output. The government had pledged to improve energy efficiency during the cement production progress by eliminating vertical kilns and promoting more advanced technologies in rotary kilns.
Qiu also said that an expo of green construction and related products would be held in Beijing in late March. Developed countries, including the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and France would participate.
The expo was expected to have 2,000 to 2,500 participants.