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    Sustainable Building design for Low Income and Middle Income Economies       

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Sustainable Building design for Low Income and Middle Income Economies
Annual Review of Energy and the Environment

L. Glicksman, L. Greden and L. Norford October 10, 2000

Trends in the Chinese residential sector
Current Problems in China
     Role of the consumer - do we want this here?
Technical Opportunities
Codes and Standards
Recent Efforts toward Sustainable Buildings
Current Policy in China Relevant to Residential Building Energy Efficiency
     Energy Conservation Law of 1997
     Reform of the price for heating
     Coal price deregulation
     Experience with appliances
Suggested Policies to Drive Adoption of Sustainable Buildings



As environmental concerns become more important at the local, regional, and global level, more attention must be paid to the development of sustainable buildings. Sustainability encompasses a wide range of attributes: building, site and urban design, energy consumption, environmental pollution, material use, interior environmental conditions, human comfort and productivity. The introduction of sustainable considerations in new buildings should go beyond measures for energy efficiency of individual buildings. The planning should include issues such as access for elderly and handicapped and urban design that fosters a sense of community.

Buildings consume a large fraction of resources and energy, and produce a substantial amount of environmental pollutants. For example, in the United States buildings consume over one-third of the total energy and well over one half of the electricity in the country. In regions of America that do not have substantial heavy industry, such as New England, buildings consume one half of the total energy.

As rapidly developing countries continue to grow, they will consume a larger share of global resources and produce substantial levels of emissions that can possibly lead to environmental damage. In many countries, these problems are compounded by the movement of population to large megacities. In concentrated population areas, depletion of land and local resources are coupled with high levels of congestion, pollutants, and need for rapid construction of housing for the burgeoning population. Figure 1 shows the estimated current world consumption of energy and the projected consumption one century hence (1). In the current situation, a large portion of the world's energy is consumed by the relatively modest population in Western Europe, North America, and Pacific Rim. Projecting future growth with business as usual to the end of this century, the rapidly developing countries such as China and India will be consuming a preponderance of the world's energy resources. Based on this scenario the total energy consumption of the world will increase from approximately 350 EJ (350 x1018 J) in 1990 to 1300 EJ in 2095. China (China, N. Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea) alone is projected to consume approximately 500 EJ by 2095, more than the entire current world energy consumption. Given the major role that China will play in future world's energy consumption and carbon emissions, the focus of this paper will be on that country. In the buildings sector substantial growth is currently taken place in China's urban regions. Means to insure that the new residential buildings are built in a sustainable fashion has a high priority.

Given China's heavy reliance on coal, as shown in the current and projected levels by the US EIA, fig2, the large growth in the energy consumption will lead to substantial increases in world carbon (2).

To insure a sustainable future for the world, it is important that these developing countries follow a more environmentally conscious path than the earlier developments in the Western world. These measures should not and need not impede the attainment of comparable standards of living. Although, at present, a majority of energy in developing countries is devoted to industry, it can only be assumed that as the standard of living improves a larger proportion of energy will shift to buildings, as it has in the Western world. In 1990, China's residential and commercial buildings accounted for 18 percent of China's total energy consumption. As the per capita income and standard of living improves, it can be expected that the fraction of energy consumed by buildings in China will approach that of the developed world, where it is roughly one third; ranging from twenty five percent in Japan to the high thirties in Western Europe.

In 1990, only about 7 percent of China's energy consumption was in the transportation sector. This is due to the concentration on heavy industry in China. In addition, housing has traditionally been supplied by the work unit and has been located close to the work place. As new residential projects are developed in urban areas far removed from the places of employment, this new urban development will contribute to increased energy consumption for transportation ( ). Proper planning of the building sector must be at an urban scale as well as for individual buildings.

                            Figure 1 Projections of the World Energy Use with "Business as Usual"

Figure 2 China's Carbon Emissions by Fuel Emissions

Figure 3 Fossil Fuel Carbon Emissions (3)

Trends in the Chinese residential sector

There has been a rapid increase in the construction of residential space especially in the urban areas of China, fig4 (5). Real estate companies have been formed to develop commercial housing. In 1996 the total investment in commercial housing reached 175 billion yuan (USD 21.9 billion) and there were 21,000 real estate companies with 700,000 employees (6). The real estate companies appear to range from government arms to quasi private enterprises. The combined urban and rural residential space newly built in 1996 exceeded 1 billion square meters. Assuming an average new residence has a floor area approaching 100 square meters, we estimate the yearly residential construction exceeds 10 million units. That rate of construction is an order of magnitude greater than the current US rate. The per capita living space has also increased, figure 5, although the urban per capita average is still less than 10 square meters. Just as in developed countries, location is a prime consideration. Some of the residents of new subsidized residences outside of Shanghai encountered by the authors expressed a preference to return to their previous housing located in the center of the city even though the units were smaller. On the other hand, some of the more affluent population preferred to live in more spacious garden developments further from the city center.

The ownership of durable goods has increased rapidly in the urban areas of China. A large proportion of urban households now have fans, refrigerators, washing machines and color televisions, fig 6. By 1996, eighty percent of the TV's were color models. Even urban households in the low-income levels have a large proportion of the above appliances. The surge in durable goods ownership has led to a rapid increase of electricity consumption, from 13 kWh per capita in 1983

In 1996 there were 11.6 air conditioners per 100 urban households ( ). China is now the world's largest producer of air conditioners. Given the climate for many parts of China, the demand for improved interior comfort during the summer is understandable. The summer climate of Shanghai is similar to that of southeastern US. Hong Kong has a tropical climate.

The ownership of air conditioners in urban areas is still predominately in the middle and upper income households. However, in Guangdong, the number of air conditioners was about 50 per 100 households. In Shanghai there are approximately 80 air conditioners per 100 households in 1998, fig 8 (8). In the summer of 2000 the electricity consumption for air conditioning in Shanghai is estimated to account for approximately one quarter of the peak demand in that city, the latter is estimated to reach 10,000 MW (9).

Although the size of new residential units has increased, the average total residential energy use per capita has not increased appreciably in the last ten years. This is, in part, due to the modest increase in per capita living space, only about 25 percent in the last ten years. The yearly construction of new residential units, which we estimate of the order of 10 million units per year, represents only roughly about 3 percent of the existing building units. Additionally, the increased use of energy consuming appliances, especially electrical appliances such as televisions, refrigerators, and air conditioners, has been offset by a substitution of efficient fuels (LPG, kerosene, or electricity of lighting) for inefficient fuels (wood, charcoal, and coal). Therefore, the amount of energy actually used by the people has increased but the final energy, as measured from calorific values, has remained stable (10).

Space heating is estimated to consume more that 80 percent of the total building energy use in China (11). In many urban areas, space heating is supplied by district heating systems. Individual units are not metered for space heating use and in many cases the residents of large apartment complexes cannot adjust the heat supply since turning off the supply to one unit also turns off the supply to units above it. The cost of the heating is included in the rent for the unit; sometimes the heating cost is billed on the basis of the floor area of the unit. Both the rent and heating cost are heavily subsidized by the work unit. The combination of these factors presents a strong disincentive for conserving energy.

Previously, the Chinese government would not supply funds for space heating installations in residential buildings located in regions in the middle and downstream area of the Yantze River basin or regions further south. In some of these regions the temperature is less than or equal to 5 oC for two or three months of the year (12). With increased income, Chinese consumers are demanding larger residential units with greater personal comfort in winter and summer. As the use of air conditioners, better lighting and other appliances increases, electricity use for non-space heating will consume a larger fraction of the total energy.

Currently, the energy consumption in a Chinese residential unit is an order of magnitude lower than a US residential unit. As more of the older housing stock is replaced with much larger units and there is more use of air conditioners and higher winter temperature settings, it is to be expected that the residential energy use will increase. For example, in Chongqing, China's most populous municipality, average household energy use increased by about seventy percent between 1990 and 1994 (13). The new construction in China should increase the average energy consumption toward the US figure. If incentives are not put in place to encourage more energy efficient designs, the newer Chinese residential units might well exceed the US energy use per unit.

Figure 4 Urban Floor Space Built per Year

Figure 5

Figure 6 Major Durable Consumer Goods

Figure 7

Figure 7

Current Problems in China
     Role of the consumer - do we want this here?

Recently constructed residential buildings suffer from poor construction quality. This manifests itself in little if any insulation in the exterior envelopes, loose single glazed windows, shortened lifetimes of materials, and little regard for buildings siting in large scale developments to promote ventilation. In many ways, traditional buildings in China were more environmentally friendly. They used building mass and wide roof overhangs to shade windows and walls to limit summer overheating. Proper site planning of buildings limited exposure to severe winter winds and promoted more community interaction.

Typical new units the authors visited in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen had floor areas approaching 90 to 100 square meters. The units have marginally better construction than older units. Many new units had poorly fitting windows and little, if any, insulation even in Beijing where the winter climate is similar to the upper mid west of the US.

The residents of many new buildings install air conditioners. The energy use in summer is compounded by the lack of designs to minimize interior heating, such as shading of windows from direct sunlight. Most units have outdoor balconies that would serve as sun screens in the summer. However, most residents close in the balconies with permanent windows to create larger living spaces for the heating season. In the summer, this creates a greenhouse space that substantially increases air conditioning requirements, figs 9,10. (show photos)

Role of the consumer - do we want this here?
In China, new apartments are sold as "boxes," that is, the interior is completely unfinished. This situation presents a dichotomy. On one hand, the consumer has the opportunity to decrease personal energy consumption by installing insulation before finishing the walls or by buying energy efficient appliances. Incentive exists to make such investments because the consumer is also the one paying for energy consumption.

However, a common problem throughout the world is that consumers must weigh the upfront investment costs with their perceived long term savings and benefits. For example, in Beijing, where average maximum temperature exceeds 30oC for approximately 40 days out of the year, yearly operating costs of a single unit air conditioner are an estimated 1280 RMB ($160) (electricity price of 0.8 RMB/kWh ($0.10/kWh), eight hours per day, consuming 5 kW of energy). This is approximately equal to a single month's mortgage payment of approximately 1500 RMB ($181) (typical fifteen year mortgage) (Choi, 1998). Additionally, the initial investment in an air conditioner is approximately 5000 RMB ($625). Any means to reduce air conditioning needs would have a noticeable affect on a Chinese consumer's pocketbook.

Technical Opportunities

There is a wide array of technical opportunities that could potentially be of great benefit to the Chinese residential sector. They need to be considered in an overall program that includes building design and technology in the context of community needs. For example, as buildings are made tighter to achieve higher energy efficiency, a potential problem that is indoor air quality. Buildings with loose fitting windows allow considerable flow of outside air. The airflow helps to dilute any pollutants generated inside by traditional Chinese cooking. In high efficiency, tight buildings this ventilation flow is limited. Care must be taken to vent pollutants directly from cooking areas and other sources to the outside. Alternatively, regenerative heat exchangers must be used to achieve adequate ventilation while maintaining good energy efficiency.

In many cases Western solutions and technology are not the right answer in developing countries such as China. These technologies, optimized for countries with high labor costs, a skilled workforce, and mechanized production methods, are a mismatch in areas of the world with plentiful unskilled labor and less-developed industries. New designs and solutions must use locally available materials and products. Construction methods must be easy to learn by relatively inexperienced labor. Local tastes and life style have to be considered in the design of individual buildings as well as large new communities.

Simple steps to improve buildings will yield substantial rewards. These should be considered before more capital intensive advanced technology. Some simple design goals such as natural ventilation may require substantial background analysis. The resultant design can then be made straightforward to execute.

Codes and Standards
      Building Codes in China

China's building codes are categorized in two manners: 1) by three zones based on heating needs and 2) into urban and rural areas. The heating zone is the northern section of the country, including Beijing, where heating of buildings is permitted during the winter ( ). The transition zone is approximately the middle third of the country, including Shanghai, where there is significant demand for space heating in the winter and space cooling in the summer. South of the transition zone, including Guangdong, is characterized by a hot climate where demand for cooling is significant.

The Ministry of Construction has authority over building energy efficiency standards. No new national standards have been released over the past two years. However, work has proceeded on local standards and on developing new national standards. Currently, codes do not exist for the southern zone or for rural areas. In the heating zone, residential building energy codes are already in existence. In the transition zone, provincial governments have begun developing standards, under encouragement from the MOC. However, these standards are based primarily on the heating zone standards and do not represent any significant advance.

In the seventh five-year plan, 1986 to 1990, energy conservation in buildings was initiated. Conservation goals and time horizons were specified in the 1987 Energy savings design Standards for residential Buildings (15). An energy conservation design standard was developed that specified a fixed reduction in heat loss in newer building. As Wirshafter points out, passage of a standard does not extend beyond a ministry's own jurisdiction unless the standard is adopted by the broader central government (16). The Ministry of Construction had developed a fve percent tax incentive for energy efficient constuction. However energy efficiency was not well defined; nearly all building managers found some way to qualify. The end result was a negligible increase in energy efficiency. The tax incentive was dropped two years ago.

Present building construction is also handicapped by prescriptive building codes. For example, wall and windows standards are specified. The design institutes who produce the construction documents for buildings are assumed to be familiar with and to comply with the building codes. Visits by the authors of several new housing developments revealed serious construction flaws and inferior products. There is little evidence that any post-construction inspections or tests are carried out to ensure compliance. Two government agency engineers responsible for energy efficiency policy promulgation as well as building inspections admitted that they only have done a few inspections of new buildings each year.

The present codes need to be supplanted by more enlightened codes that are performance based, requiring builders to achieve an overall performance while allowing latitude in the individual building systems and designs used. However, development of enlightened building codes will be fruitless unless they are enforced. At present, the issue of enforcement is much more pressing than the development of new codes. Equally important is a consumer education program with emphasis on key attributes of sustainable buildings. Independent agencies or companies who can aid the consumers are required for this to succeed. Architects and builders also need more education about proper designs and technical means to achieve energy efficiency, comfort and good indoor air quality.

One national code is the requirement that each residential unit have at least one window that receives one hour of direct sunlight at the winter solstice. This can lead to reduction in overcrowding of buildings and possibly have a positive influence on indoor air quality. However, the rule for winter sunlight must be coupled with many other equally important requirements for the overall building and site design to achieve the most beneficial results. In some residential developments the winter sunlight rule has led to a wide spaced collection of individual tall towers; a plan not unlike some of the failed low income housing developed in the US fig 11,12. (show photos)

Enforcement is of primary concern for building energy efficiency. Some codes exist, but it is left up to the Design Institutes (i.e. architectural firms) to be aware of the codes and design accordingly. No real enforcement mechanism is in place. What are the reasons for this lack of enforcement? First, vertical structural tensions in the organization of the Chinese government allow for great disparity between how the central governments expect firms and local government bodies to behave and how they actually do behave. Local officials theoretically must follow the central government, however funding and career support is typically controlled locally, so much more influence is held at the people's level. Second, local authorities are typically responsible for enforcement of the national and sub national regulations; however, local authorities and governments often have financial stakes in companies that might be affected by environmental regulations (17). This suggests that when environmental regulations are seen as in conflict with economic development, enforcement and implementation are difficult.

Recent Efforts toward Sustainable Buildings
coming soon...


The building sectors in developing countries share several characteristics important to policy design. Rapid growth or transition to a market economy creates a dynamic economic environment with little history to learn from. The disproportionate distribution of wealth must be addressed when balancing who will pay for investments. Furthermore, financial markets must be developed to provide for such investments. Along with the development of a financial market, the ability and desire to hold debt must transform. Finally, energy prices in developing countries often do not reflect true costs, thereby creating an inefficiency in the operation of a market.

Take China for example. Housing in China is transforming from its Soviet style, public good personality to a market system in which developers are encouraged to sell for a profit and residents are encouraged to own their homes. This transition creates a first generation of home buyers. Although the present state of the market is far from maturity, the move to a market system means that each consumer will have economic incentive to consider the relevant aspects for energy efficiency.

However, China's macro economy is riddled with incentives to ignore or undervalue investments in energy efficiency or to view such investments as too risky (18). Examples include underdeveloped capital markets and chronic inflation or deflation. Furthermore, for some enterprises, simple survival compels nonstop output. This is especially a problem in highly decentralized industries such as building materials. A great deal of obsolete and deteriorating equipment remains in operation in such industries (19). A large, deteriorating housing stock presents similar problems.

Barriers to widespread adoption of sustainable buildings evidenced in China and common to many developing countries include limited product availability, lack of information and training, split pricing incentives, dynamic economies, disproportionate incomes, and uncertainties in technical claims and future energy prices. The key to implementing residential energy efficiency in the long term is to demonstrate to people that energy efficient investments perform as promised: providing increased comfort while simultaneously reducing costs. Although people claim to value environmental quality, it is often the case that they will not sacrifice their own comfort, income, or perceived quality of life to otherwise make the necessary investment. Energy efficient investments must prove themselves, especially since they often require a larger initial capital outlay than the alternative.


Effective policy must be designed for the needs the stakeholders.
Stakeholders in the relevant housing market include occupants, potential occupants, developers, design teams, energy suppliers, and policy makers. A critical analysis of each stakeholder's needs and frames yields valuable information for policy design.

Occupants and potential occupants comprise the demand side of the market. In China, two primary ideology barriers are encountered in the transformation to a market system.. First, Chinese households are adverse to debt, quite the opposite of most Americans. The idea of obtaining a mortgage to buy a house opposes the traditional Chinese norm. Perhaps as the notion of holding assets is learned, aversion to debt will fade. Second, Chinese people are accustomed to housing and related services, such as heating, as a welfare privilege. The idea of paying for such essentials is not looked favorably upon. One piece of evidence supporting this is the low rate of collection for heating fees, only sixty percent in 1999 (20). Additionally, if occupants are not able to control the amount of heat provided, aversion to paying for heat is likely to continue.

There are studies underway at present to gauge the Chinese consumer's receptivity to sustainable design features. As the number of privately owned units increase and residents become responsible for the operating and maintenance costs the homebuyer should become more concerned with such design features. The importance of energy efficiency should increase if space-heating costs can be made to reflect actual costs to individual units. This requires the solution of technical issues such as means to meter district heating supplies to individual units in urban areas. Equally important is the need for a plan to introduce real market levels to heating costs without major economic dislocation for lower income families.

Developers and designers comprise the supply side of the residential market. Arguably, the most important factors to energy consumption are decided in the design and construction phases of the building and entire site. Investments in design and construction offer many benefits - decreased load on utilities, increased comfort and decreased expenditures for occupants, and less air pollution emissions resulting from decreased energy consumption. The underlying problem is how to get those responsible for the decisions in design and construction investment to care.

In a market system, one important factor is the firm's perception of the customer's marginal valuation of additional energy saving features. A developer is most likely to only make an investment that will be visible to the consumer and warrant asking for a higher price. Firms may not have knowledge or understanding of energy efficient technologies and construction methods. On the positive side, developers may be able to use energy efficiency as a competitive advantage. Overall, lack of information on all fronts hinders the market to act as a driving force for energy conservation. This is where policy must intervene.

Residential building developers in China are receptive to the inclusion of sustainable features in their new projects. However, it is difficult for the developers and their designers to define what this entails. Designers are not well versed in means to achieve energy efficiency. Proper building materials such as insulation systems are not well developed for traditional wall construction systems used in China. On the other hand, some developers we have encountered are eager to learn and are willing to try new products. That said, the bottom line is similar to the Western world, the need to minimize first costs. More enlightened developers would allow at most a five to ten percent premium on building costs for energy efficient features.

Current Policy in China Relevant to Residential Building Energy Efficiency

Policy must play a role in driving the exploitation of residential energy conservation measures. To date, the most significant achievements in residential energy conservation have been achieved through standards and labeling programs for energy efficient appliances. The most significant impediments to realization of residential energy conservation results are slow adoption of reformed energy prices, lack of enforcement of building codes, and few educational initiatives.

     Energy Conservation Law of 1997
The intentions of China's Energy Conservation Law (ECL), approved on 1 November 1997, are as follows (21):
promote energy conservation activities throughout society,
improve energy efficiency and increase economic benefits thereof,
protect the environment,
ensure economic and social development, and
meet the needs of people's livelihood. Relevant to building energy efficiency, the law states that the government should develop polices and plans that ensure rational energy utilization and strengthen educational activities to increase public awareness of energy conservation. Although the ECL does not give clear guidance on the extent of regulations or the specific goals that are to be achieved, it can be viewed as a tool for pushing energy efficiency as something that is looked at favorably from the national government.

Typical to federal law, the ECL gives little guidance for implementation, a necessary characteristic for the law to have been passed. Development of specific measures is left to agencies of the central and local governments. Putting the responsibility for implementation into these hands allows local economic and environmental conditions to be better accounted for. The Ministry of Construction (MOC) is the responsible central agency for building construction and codes.

Provisions that affect the energy users relating to residential energy consumption include keeping and submitting statistics on energy consumption, displaying energy conservation product specification labels, developing energy conservation plans, implementation of energy efficiency measures in institutions and schools, and complying with building design, construction, and decoration standards. The State Bureau of Statistics is responsible for statistical gathering and reporting at the national level.

Provisions for technical innovation relating to residential energy consumption include the development of improved thermal and insulating performance in buildings (heating, cooling, and lighting), promotion of energy efficient lighting, and encouraging research institutions, universities, enterprises, and individuals to promote energy efficiency projects. The ECL and all three provinces studied included provisions for the improved building performance; a promising sign only if some enforcement mechanism is in place. The Zhejiang regulations for technical innovation specifically state that the Departments of Construction (above county level) shall adopt measures to encourage new technologies, processes, equipment and materials and promote energy efficient buildings and organize demonstration projects for this purpose (22).

     Reform of the price for heating
In pre-reform China, prices of all energy products were under unified state control and the products were allocated according to plans. Multi-track pricing and partial liberalization was introduced in the 1980's. Energy prices, beginning with coal, were to a great extent freed up, in parallel with important new reforms in taxation, finance and other areas, in the early 1990's (23).

Pricing and billing of centralized space heating in China are both in need of reform if market incentives are to drive energy conservation. Currently, consumers either receive heat as a welfare commodity or are billed for heat based on occupied floor space. They do not pay for the amount of heating energy actually used; therefore incentives do not exist to reduce heat energy consumption. Other disadvantages of the current system include low comfort level due to over or under heating, increased pollution due to unneeded burning of fuel (primarily coal), and low fee collection rate. Building-area-based billing for heat is a bottleneck for energy savings.

The primary barrier to pricing reform is lack of experience. Pricing for heat under the current mode is a black box based on building area. A pricing system based on amount of heat consumed must be developed. This also requires methods to measure and monitor heat delivery. The primary barrier to billing reform is ideology change. Without having to directly pay for heating fees in the past, consumers tend to think of space heating as a kind of welfare rather than merchandise. The Institute of Building Environment and Service Tsinghua University and the World Bank are currently working on a three-phase program to use a combination of market, technology, and institution to promote the pricing and billing reform of centralized space heating in China (24).

     Coal price deregulation
One reason for high unit energy consumption is that energy prices are too low and do not accurately reflect production costs (25). When fuel prices are lower than production costs, subsidies are needed to maintain production levels. However, subsidization is costly for governments and tax payers, leads to inefficiencies, and discourages innovation. Lack of capital hinders the ability to expand energy production, which then constrains economic and technological development. This scenario describes China's coal based energy system. Energy is wasted when low energy costs discourage conservation. China has begun to address this problem by reducing subsidies to the coal industry to the tune of 50% over the past decade (26). To increase the effectiveness of the market, the decrease in subsidy must be passed on to the consumer in the form of increased prices that better reflect the production cost of the energy.

     Experience with appliances
Encouraging the use of energy efficient appliances requires that standards be introduced and that consumers are aware of energy efficiency. Minimum efficiency standards either leave consumers with more efficient options to choose from or require that all options meet a certain efficiency level. Energy efficiency standards for refrigerators and ballasts for fluorescent lamps are scheduled to go into effect this year (2000) ( ). Energy efficiency standards for air conditioners are currently in progress.

Several energy efficiency programs have been introduced in China with mixed success to date. In the China Green Lights program, two major barriers are the high initial cost of more efficient technologies and poor quality of some of the products manufactured in China. Screw-in compact florescent lights have been observed to fail very prematurely, negating the life cycle savings and losing consumer acceptance (28). The recently initiated CFC-Free Energy Efficient Refrigerator project aims to improve the energy efficiency of Chinese refrigerators through a series of market-oriented measures for manufacturers and consumers (29). Quality assurance is of primary importance for energy efficiency incentive programs to be successful, an important lesson for designing similar programs for buildings.

Suggested Policies to Drive Adoption of Sustainable Buildings

Policy options are plentiful and will be most effective if implemented as part of a portfolio of programs. Policy must serve to create financial institutions, building codes and provisions for enforcement, and pricing of energy that reflects costs and externalities. Perhaps the most effective course of action is for demonstration projects to be built, tested by a reputable source, and publicized. This would serve to minimize perceived risk. Demand side management (DSM) programs, in which utilities offer subsidies for such investments, offer yet another way to leverage incentives for energy efficient building design. DSM programs operate on the principle that the benefits of investments in energy efficiency outweigh the costs of expanding electricity supply under increased environmental pressure and fluctuations in loads. Finally, education and awareness concerning the comfort, health, and cost saving benefits of sustainable buildings must be proliferated through public service announcements, workshops, and media coverage.

The most important part of the policy package, because it serves as the foundation for all other program aspects, is development and enforcement of building codes for energy efficiency. They serve to educate, provide a baseline for monitoring, and offer a standard for quality. Commanding attention to codes through enforcement is a way of forcing such considerations on developers and architects. Additionally, with a solid, trusted code system for energy efficiency, market signals can play an important role in the adoption of sustainable practices. Developers who adopt the codes early can create a competitive advantage and possibly ask for a premium price. In parallel, public awareness for sustainable buildings and the associated quality aspects must grow. Public service announcements and media attention to demonstration projects will educate occupants about the environmental and quality issues associated with their homes. By guiding consumer behavior in a young market, demand for energy efficient investments can be created and sustained.


The introduction of sustainable considerations in new buildings should go beyond measures for energy efficiency of individual buildings. The planning should include issues such as access for elderly and handicapped and urban design that fosters a sense of community.

1. fig 4, Edmonds et al 1995
3. Edmunds et al 1995
4. Jones, D.W. (1991), 'How urbanization affects energy-use in developing countries,' Energy Policy, September 1991, 621-630.
5. China Statistical year Book 1997, p 324
6. Zhang, The Impact of housing Privatization in China, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 1999, vol. 26, pp. 593-604
7. China statistical yearbook
8. Impact on Urban Energy and Environment from High Rise Buildings Air conditioning in Shanghai, Technical Report, Prof. Long Weiding, Tongji U, Shanghai, March 2000
9. Long
10. United Nations (1991), Sectoral Energy Demand Studies: Application of the End-Use approach to Asian Countries, Energy Resources Development Series, No. 33, p. 44.
11. see Lara's ref, Institute of Building Environment and Service, Tsinghua U, 2000
12. Siwei and Youchen, Design of Energy-efficient Residential Building in transition Zone of China, Energy and Building, 14, 225-229, 1990.
13. chinaenvironment
14. chinaenvironment
15. Levine et al, China's Energy System: Historical Evolution, Current Issues, and Prospects, Annu. Rev. Energy Environ., 1992, 17 PP 405-435
16. Wirtshafter, Energy-Conservation Standards for Building in China, Energy Vol. 13, no 3, 265-274, 1988
17. Ibid.
18. Sathaye, J.A., Sinton, J., Heller, T. (1999), 'Doing Better with Less Energy,' IEEE Spectrum, December 1999, 42-49.
19. Ibid.
20. Jiang, Y. (2000), Pricing and Billing Reform of Centralized Space Heating in China. Proposal to the World Bank.
21. Sinton, J., Levine, M., Fridley, D. Yang, F., Lin, J. (1999), 'Status Report on Energy Efficiency Policy and Programs in China,' Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory, (February 2, 2000).
22. Wang, A.L. (1999), 'A Comparative Analysis of the 1997 Energy Conservation Law of China and the Implementing Regulations of Shandong, Zhejiang, and Shanghai,' (November 17, 2000).
23. Sataye, et al.
24. Jiang, Y.
25. Wu, Z., Wei, Z. (1991), 'Policies to promote energy conservation in China,' Energy Policy, 19:10, 934-39.
26. Geller, H.(1999), 'Policies for a More Sustainable Energy Future,' American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Report E992.
27. Sinton et al.
28. Ibid.
29. Ibid.

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