LEED making existing buildings in China greener

LEED making existing buildings in China greener

Graphic courtesy of USGBC

Two recent LEED platinum buildings in China are illustrating the country's growing commitment to using LEED for existing buildings, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED offers existing buildings a framework to keep pace with the rapid development of advanced building technologies and more stringent environmental standards for sustainability in China. 

Existing buildings hold incredible promise, the organization said. Many older buildings around the world consume too much water and energy, though. With some keen attention to building operations, that can be turned around drastically by using LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M). It can take up to 80 years to make up for the environmental impact of demolishing an old building and constructing a new one, even if the resulting building is extremely energy-efficient, according to the USGBC.

The organization believes in the phrase “the greenest building is the one already built,” and that LEED can be pivotal in increasing the efficiency of those structures.

In China, where existing buildings account for the majority of buildings on the mainland, improvements can still be made. Although, according to the World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, a small percentage of Chinese respondents (19 percent) expect to do green retrofits of existing buildings in the next three years compared to the global average of 37 percent, mainland China has an enormous opportunity to continue their sustainable leadership by greening these existing structures. Here are two examples of projects that achieved LEED platinum for O+M.

AZIA Center, Shanghai 

In 2015, AZIA Center became the first office building in China to be certified LEED platinum under LEED v2009 for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance. To meet LEED’s requirements to use less energy, water and natural resources, and improve the indoor environment and building operations, many sustainability measures were implemented in the 11-year-old AZIA Center:

·     The site was restored and 500 square meters of plant area were added to create a better environment for residents and visitors.

·     Electricity and water submeters were used to improve energy efficiency by monitoring power and water consumption.

·     A new landscape irrigation system was installed to help with rainwater collection for irrigation.

·     To improve the indoor air quality, the air handling unit and fresh air unit filters were replaced.

Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the USGBC, praised AZIA Center’s green building efforts.

“In the face of global climate change, our reliance on nonrenewable energy and the various threats to human health have become the biggest challenges. However, the Green Building Campaign has offered us a great opportunity. AZIA center has served as a perfect model for China’s existing buildings,” he said.

Beijing International Finance Center (IFC), Beijing 

IFC Beijing is a landmark office building in the Central Business District of Beijing. Considering the city's serious air quality issue, much effort was made to help IFC Beijing achieve Platinum status for LEED v2009 for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance to create a healthier environment for the building's occupants.

According to CBRE’s research on “Property and Pollution—The Impact of Smog on the Beijing Office Market,” the outdoor air ventilation rates for all air-handling units serving occupied spaces were increased by at least 30 percent to help prevent particulates from entering into the building, smoking was prohibited in the building and within 7.5 meters of entryways, outdoor air intakes and operable windows were installed and an indoor air quality management plan for facility additions and alteration phases was developed and implemented to protect construction workers' and occupants' health.

Issues during the operation and maintenance phase of existing buildings are sometimes ignored because of the focus on new construction and the fast pace of development in China. However, AZIA Center and IFC Beijing are emerging to provide excellent examples of the value of addressing existing buildings.


Topics: Architectural Firms, Associations / Organizations, Building Owners and Managers, Certifications, Construction Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Energy Saving Products, Engineering Firms, Great Commercial Buildings, Office Buildings, Sub-Flooring, Technology, Urban Planning and Design, USGBC

Companies: U.S. Green Building Council

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