Energy Retrofitting: The Story of Sohota

The Asia Society’s China Green project has produced a new documentary about an energy retrofitting firm. Watch it below:

China’s economic boom has fueled a flurry of real estate construction, but the growth has also exacerbated the nation’s growing energy crisis. While millions of Chinese have seen their standard of living increase, if the government fails to enforce building and energy efficiency standards, China will soon be unable to power itself as a nation. Despite some progress made between 1980 and 2000, energy intensity, a measure for the energy efficiency of a nation’s economy, has dropped dramatically.

The Chinese government has responded by setting a five-year plan to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent by 2010. The plan calls for buildings in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Tianjin to implement energy savings by about 65 percent. Despite such government support, improvement has been slow. Nevertheless, experts agree China may be on the cusp of a boom due to a growing number of private energy service companies (ESCOS) nationwide.

Sohota Electric, an energy savings company in Zhuhai, Guangdong is one of those firms. Twelve years ago, company President Chen Xiaogang began selling energy efficient appliances and products, though demand for them was nowhere near it is today. He remembers trying to pitch the idea of energy retrofitting to oil refineries and other state-owned enterprises. Nobody bought it. Now, a decade later, Chen’s clientele includes state television broadcaster CCTV, whose energy bill Sohota has cut by 16 percent.

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