Green building solutions for energy efficiency

Updated: 2015-02-03 08:50

By Deborah Lehr and Leigh Wedell(China Daily)

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Increase the role of market forces: Reform of resource pricing in the energy sector will ensure more efficient supply and demand of energy.

Use data more effectively: Tracking energy use would allow governments, building owners, utility companies and users to regulate their behavior in a more cost-effective manner.

Promote incentives to change behavior: Incentive programs, such as rebates, and awareness campaigns can encourage more widespread use of energy-efficient appliances and "three-star" building designates.

Raise awareness of - and access to - energy efficient building materials and methods: Training in the application of existing technologies for architects, developers and contractors will ensure better use. And creating awareness among the purchasers of new homes and apartments on the benefits of green buildings - cost savings, better resale values, even a healthier lifestyle - will drive demand for these energy-efficient technologies.

Actively enforce building codes and regulations: Vigorous enforcement through inspections, combined with raising awareness, will help ensure greater compliance with China's ambitious energy efficiency agenda.

The solutions to carbon reduction are within China's reach. And there is both an environmental and political urgency for it to intensify its "war against pollution", as Premier Li Keqiang calls it. Yes, there are systemic challenges to overcome - lack of capital, legal infrastructure and too few enforcement officials, to name a few.

We all have a stake in supporting and emulating China's new energy efficiency policies. Cleaner air in China and in the US means progress toward a sustainable future for all.

Deborah Lehr is a senior fellow at the Paulson Institute and chairman of the Antiquities Coalition, and Leigh Wedell is the chief sustainability officer of Paulson Institute.

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