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Building Energy Efficiency Policies in China: Status Report

Research Report E129


Shui Bin, ACEEE; Li Jun, CIRED (France)


In recent years China has been adding about 1.7 billion square meters (18.3 billion square foot) of new floor space on an annual basis. In 2010, the total area of existing buildings in China was approximately 48.6 billion square meters (523.1 billion square foot). How to improve the building energy efficiency of the soaring number of new buildings and accelerate the retrofit of the huge stock of existing building are two daunting challenges currently facing China.

The authors begin with a brief history of building energy efficiency policies in China. The body of the report is structured as a review of five aspects of China’s building energy efficiency: building energy performance; building energy efficiency policies for new buildings; building energy efficiency policies for existing buildings; application of renewable energy to buildings; and rural building energy use.

The authors summarize that China has achieved significant progress in improving building energy efficiency over the last two decades, much of which can be attributed to carefully planned development strategies, and strong and consistent support from the central government. Meanwhile, Chinese officials and building energy experts are aware of the outstanding challenges still to be tackled, including (1) rising building energy consumption; (2) the need for an institutionalized process for the updating of building energy codes; (3) difficulties securing financing for retrofit projects; (4) scarcity of technologies and management needed for promoting the application of renewable energy in building energy efficiency; and (5) the enormous task of promoting building energy efficiency in rural areas.