March 2008

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Helping China Grow a Greener Future
China's Ministry of Construction (MOC) estimates that China will double its current building stock by 2020. The vast majority of these projects are large—commercial office buildings between 100,000 and 150,000 m2 and residential developments that span more than 500,000 m2 of construction area.

Mike Williams
Mike Williams C.Eng. FCMA, MCIBSE, MSyI
Managing Director, Founder
CDC - Central Data Control

As part of the recent delegation of UK business representatives to China, and a regular visitor to the county since 1999, I have two observations that are perhaps not immediately evident to ‘outsiders’. Firstly, until you actually visit the country it is impossible to fully understand the sheer scale of the building work that is taking place there. There are many statistics that advocate this, for example, The World Bank estimates that between now and 2015, roughly half of the world's new building construction will take place in China, but it was not until I began to talk to Chinese companies, visit local building sites and talk to local planners that I could truly take on board the scale and potential impact of this huge growing nation.

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Unsurprisingly, there is an increasing worry about the impact of the country’s economic growth on the environment - which has historically been 11% - as it is set to increase 8% annually from 2008 to 2010. China is the world's biggest coal producer and oil consumption has doubled in the last 20 years, and the demand for electricity and other energy sources is set to continue to rise exponentially. The average Chinese person consumes just 10-15% of the energy the average US citizen uses, but with the economy developing at this high speed, many analysts expect China's total emissions to overtake America's by 2050. This, coupled with the volume of construction taking place is a concern, not just for the Chinese government but also for the wider World, primarily how this will affect our planet, and there is a need for proactive solutions to address the risks.

The second observation I have from my numerous visits is the willingness of the Chinese people and Government to do as much as possible to help reduce their impact on the environment. Unlike the UK, there is not just a willingness to consider possible options to do so, but instead a determined effort is being made to actually implement best-practice green solutions.

China's leaders acknowledge that climate change could devastate their society and in 2004 Beijing announced plans to generate 10% of its power from renewable sources by 2010, coupled with more recent plans to reduce energy use by 20%, all symbolising a step towards green technologies. Driven by government concerns about pollution, resource depletion, and energy deficits, and the desire for international recognition (Beijing's commitment to a Green Olympics was a strong selling point in its proposal), a green building industry is emerging in China, which promises commercial opportunities to UK businesses, who can provide the necessary help and guidance to Chinese companies looking to go green.

One such technology that is being widely deployed in China is integrated building management solutions and services, such as CDC’s Integra building management software and consulting service which can offer advice at every stage. Intelligent building technology improves energy efficiency, lowers the total cost of ownership and delivers improved return on investment. There is an enormous potential market for this technology in China and companies from the UK, such as CDC, have been sharing their expertise on the subject, (obtained through years of R&D of intelligent building technologies), with companies in China looking to maximise the greenness of their buildings.

Compared to conventional buildings, those with intelligent management solutions consume less energy, preserve natural resources, and provide a better indoor environmental quality. Integrated building management systems work by creating a fully-integrated building service environment – including security, lighting, air conditioning and heating – to deliver improved facilities management, energy efficiency, cost savings and increased productivity.

China's Ministry of Construction (MOC) estimates that China will double its current building stock by 2020. The vast majority of these projects are large—commercial office buildings between 100,000 and 150,000 m2 and residential developments that span more than 500,000 m2 of construction area.

If each of these developments incorporates intelligent building technology, the scope for energy usage reduction is huge.

It is for these reasons that intelligent buildings are top of the agenda for China, as they not only deliver greater profitability and efficiency for Chinese companies, but also fit Wen Jiabao’s agenda to reduce the country’s emissions, ultimately leading to a greener, and brighter, future for all involved.

About the Author

Mike Williams Managing Director C.Eng. FCMA, MCIBSE, MSyI

CDC’s founder and managing director is widely recognised as the UK’s leading visionary in the field of integrated systems within the Intelligent Buildings arena.  Initially training and qualifying as a chartered building services engineer, Mike later qualified as a chartered accountant.

Mike has demonstrated a strong track record of turning vision into reality, through both promoting and delivering Intelligent Buildings and an involvement in various high-profile committees such as: The British Council of Shopping Centres, British Standards Institution (BSI), and a long time involvement with Intelligent Building Group (IBG), for which he is its General Secretary.

In 2006 Mike was appointed an advisor to the Beijing Government on energy saving in buildings; and was admitted to the Experts Panel of the Intelligent Buildings Committee of the Chinese Ministry of Construction, as the first and only non Chinese member.

CDC’s business activities are centred in the UK, Scandinavia, the Gulf, China and SE Asia.


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