Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome back- random thoughts v4

Welcome back to my blog! It's been quite a while, so I have a good bit of random thoughts to catch up on. I'll have a few blog posts later this week covering a bit of what I've been up to on my recent travels, including learning about solar hot water heaters in Yunnan and a tour of the new Nokia Campus in Beijing.

China's energy use slows in 2008..
Energy generation in China fell in 2008 thanks to slowing economic growth. This resulted in less CO2 (about 2 billion tons less over 2 years), but as China Greenspace writes, this is a double-edged sword, since China will now be less likely to take on carbon reduction targets.
Image from NYTimes.

Energy intensity comparisons
A NYTimes editorial blasted the US for it's energy inefficiency, noting that "for each dollar of economic product, the United States spews more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than 75 of 107 countries tracked in the indicators of the International Energy Agency." But the US still performs better than China and India according to this graph from the US DoE. Although, the NYT article did note that China does ok on production of some goods, saying "the United States spends more energy to produce a ton of cement clinker than Canada, Mexico and even China." Let's hope China can meet their goal of 20% reduction in energy intensity by 2010.

Chinese people not happy with environment
The annual environmental satisfaction survey results are in, and the Chinese people are not happy. 76% ranked environmental problems in the country as "serious" or "very serious", up from 57% in 1998. China Environmental Law reports and comments.

New LEED system approved
The US Green Building Council's new LEED 2009 rating system was recently approved and will enter into force in March. All projects currently registered can continue to use the old rating system, but all new projects will use the new system. The new system weighs points according to their contribution to carbon emissions, which should align the ratings more closely with actual environmental performance.

LEED project statistics
A quick update on LEED building statistics in China (source USGBC):
Certified projects:
There are currently 14 certified building projects in mainland China, the majority of which are commercial interiors and new construction. Core and shell developments and neighborhood developments are also represented.
Registered projects:
There are 103 registered projects in China. This is fantastic growth, considering that the first LEED building in China was certified in 2006. Of the 103 buildings registered to pursue LEED certification, the numbers are split pretty evenly between core and shell developments, new construction, and commercial interiors.
One interesting note is the total lack of buildings pursuing certification under the LEED existing building program. This surprises me, but I guess it makes sense given how much new construction is happening in China.

Green paint
GreenBiz describes why China's paint industry is becoming greener and making money in the process. Green is the only part of the real estate and construction industry that continues to grow, thanks in part to regulation, like the EU's REACH protocol which regulates chemicals such as paints.

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