World green building trends in 2018: Spotlight on China

Amanda Sawit

Green building is expected to surge in Mainland China, with nearly 67 percent of all projects likely pursuing green by 2021, according to a new report from Dodge Data and Analytics, to which USGBC was a contributing partner. Compared to figures from the last iteration of the report published in 2015, the percentage of respondents from Mainland China who expect to do more than 30 percent of their projects green nearly doubled, underscoring an upward trend for growth.

Sectors with expected growth

In Mainland China, respondents expect to see green building growth across multiple sectors, with relatively high percentages reported compared to global averages. The sectors with the highest reported percentage of growth are new construction (65 percent), commercial construction (54 percent), new high-rise residential (49 percent) and commercial interiors (43 percent).

World Green Building Trends 2018: China

Business benefits

Respondents from Mainland China are conservative about the percentage of operating cost savings they expect to see from new green buildings. However, Mainland China respondents do expect to see payback in five years, which is markedly lower than the global average of seven years. Regarding green retrofits, payback time reported on Mainland China projects is on par with the global average of six years.

Overall, global green building activity continues to rise, with significant increases expected in 19 countries over the next three years. The study was conducted in 86 countries and surveyed 2,000 building professionals, including architects, contractors, consultants, developers, engineering firms and investors.

Green finance

Additionally, to bolster the development of a sustainable economy—including a green built environment—many governments, including China's, are now seeking to progressively encourage green financing in their domestic marketplaces. With the expansion of green financial products and market regulation maturation, more funds are projected to be allocated into green projects both in China and globally.

According to a new report by USGBC and Cushman & Wakefield, green financing is receiving greater interest in China and is continuing to be a catalyst in the transition to a greener economy, because it provides the necessary financial support for the development of green projects, including green real estate.

China has firmly established itself as a global leader in green financing, with both domestic policies and international leadership bringing real progress. For example, China has become the second largest green bond issuer globally. In 2017, a total of 181 bonds amounting to RMB 248.6 billion (U.S. $37.1 billion) were issued in China.

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