LEED in China: Challenges and Opportunities in a Controlled Housing Market

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Frank Fan
Sustainability, Jones Lang LaSalle, Greater China

The LEED system was introduced into China in 2001, and has had a rapid increase in adoption in the last 5 years. However, LEED faces localization and policy challenges under the complexity of the real estate market in China. The China Green Building Label is gaining attention from clients and developers, Chinese professionals and researchers argue about the practical effects of LEED standards, and market noise about “Green” and “Certification” has caused some confusion. Meanwhile, due to the lack of data transparency and high standards in operations management, some LEED certified projects exhibit similar performance to projects without such certification. All of these factors could severely affect the future promotion of LEED in China.

On the other hand, Chinese government bodies have put an unprecedented emphasis on green building and energy saving developments in the 12th-Five Year Plan. Considering the limited natural resources and huge population in China, the country could face a huge energy shortage in the future. Furthermore, changing consumption viewpoints and accumulated wealth will further stimulate and support the increasing demand for healthy and sustainable homes in China.

Therefore, it’s expected that we will see a market with two green building labels in China in a short period. The one which lasts longer will be the one which can capture the market trend and improve the system intrinsically.  Even though the government is controlling the housing market, green buildings could have a tax reduction or exemption from personal purchase limitations in order to promote this new strategic industry. The coming 18th CPC National Congress will shed some light on the future roadmap.

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