A lot to bring to the table

Updated: 2013-06-22 09:00

By Cecily Liu and Yang Yang (China Daily)

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Pilot projects like Jinshan are becoming popular in China because the country's new leadership is emphasizing sustainable urbanization as a key government aim.

In January, the State Council issued a Green Building Action Plan with ambitious targets, including adding more than 1 billion square meters of green building floor area by 2015, 14 times the area at the end of last year.

But Jaya Skandamoorthy, director of market development and innovation at the Building Research Establishment in the UK, said awareness of the benefits of green building is still lacking in China, even within the construction industry.

To help China raise awareness and understanding of sustainable construction, Skandamoorthy's team is now working with China's largest developer, Vanke, to build Green Building Park in Beijing, a public space that displays leading building technology for both practitioners and the general public to see.

Skandamoorthy said the park's visitor center is designed to comply with Europe's green building standard, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, and China's Three Star Green Building Standard.

"We don't want to just take our standards to China," Skandamoorthy said.

"Instead, we want to take good industry practice to China but adapt them to China's existing standards."

The UK's building standards are performance-based, he said, meaning a building's performance in its specific environment will be assessed. In comparison, Chinese building standards are prescriptive, meaning regulations exist for specific material or methods that must be used.

Encouragingly, many European companies are already taking best industry practices to China, one example being Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects of Denmark.