Sustainable Building in China—A Green Leap Forward?
China is constructing new commercial buildings at an enormous rate—roughly 2 billion square meters per year, with considerable interest and activity in green design and construction. We review the context of commercial building design and construction in China, and look at a specific project as an example of a high performance, sustainable design, the Shenzhen Institute of Building Research (IBR). The IBR building incorporates over 40 sustainable technologies and strategies, including daylighting, natural ventilation, gray-water recycling, solar-energy generation, and highly efficient Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. We present measured data on the performance of the building, including detailed analysis by energy end use, water use, and occupant comfort and satisfaction. Total building energy consumption in 2011 was 1151 MWh, with an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of 63 kWh/m2 (20 kBtu/ft2), which is 61% of the mean EUI value of 103 kWh/m2 (33 kBtu/ft2) for similar buildings in the region. We also comment on the unique design process, which incorporated passive strategies throughout the building, and has led to high occupant satisfaction with the natural ventilation, daylighting, and green patio work areas. Lastly we present thoughts on how the design philosophy of the IBR building can be a guide for low-energy design in different climate regions throughout China and elsewhere.