Embodied Carbon in Chinese Commercial Buildings and Potential for Building Materials Innovation

In view of the recent research publication from the China Energy Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the China Green Building blog discusses the embodied and operational carbon emissions in China’s buildings.

China’s buildings officially account for 19% of China’s total energy consumption but according to various Chinese academics, buildings probably account for more like 23%. This is expected to rise to 30% by 2010, broadly in line with the US.

Unfortunately, the paper does not state explicitly what percentage of total CO2 emissions is accounted for by buildings, but since China’s fuel source is so predominantly coal driven, it’s probably fair to say that buildings currently account for about a third of total CO2 emissions. However, according to a presentation at JUCCCE by Marc Porat, CEO of CalStar Cement and Chairman of Serious Materials (see below for more info on CalStar), buildings- both their operation and construction- account for 52% of total CO2 emissions in China.

This is significant, especially when coupled with the data from the global McKinsey Carbon Abatement Cost Curve, which calculates building efficiency to be one of the cheapest sources of carbon abatement available globally. Buildings are therefore a key leverage point for reducing carbon emissions in a cost-effective manner.

To understand how China is tackling the challenge of carbon emission, you can follow the CDT green building tag for more posts.


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