From: Reuters
Published January 14, 2008 06:47 AM

China still building "energy-guzzling" buildings

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's developers are still building "energy-guzzling" buildings, flying in the face of sustainability pledges made during their design, state media reported on Monday.

China, facing an uphill battle to secure energy and resources to feed its booming economy, has set targets to make new buildings 50 percent more energy efficient by 2010.

But only 53 percent of China's new buildings had met national energy conversation standards, the China Daily said, citing a construction ministry survey which blamed cost-cutting developers.

"The findings are alarming. More comprehensive measures are needed to achieve the national goal," the paper quoted Song Chunhua, president of the China Real Estate Association, as saying.

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Song said developers had "changed their minds" on implementing energy-saving standards and were "still building new energy guzzlers."

Rapid industrialization and soaring car ownership have borne much of the blame for China's choking pollution and rising emissions, but analysts now point to its booming construction industry as a huge drain on global energy stocks.

Construction and building materials consume 16-18 percent of China's energy use, analysts have estimated, and around half of the world's new buildings go up in China each year.

Some 400 million people are expected to flock from rural areas to cities by 2020.

China has pledged to spend more than 1.5 trillion yuan ($207 billion) in renovations to old buildings, of which 99 percent failed current energy-saving standards, Song said.

But growing affluence poses a threat to efficiency goals as the country's rapidly expanding middle class clamors for larger, more energy-intensive housing.

($1=7.261 Yuan)

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