Approaches to energy efficient building development : studying under Chinese contexts

Abstract: This thesis presents a general description of approaches to energy efficient building development under Chinese contexts. The purpose of the work is to discuss how Chinese building development can be approved from an energy saving perspective. Building development is a complicated process that relates to many stakeholders’ interests. The developed countries have studied in this field extensively for several decades. Generally, the approaches to energy saving can be set at three levels: administration, construction industry and architectural design. More new strict codes for energy efficient buildings are being issued for enforcement. At the same time, many research institutes have developed Building Environmental Assessment (BEA) methods, where energy efficiency is an important factor in the models. Various technical solutions for energy efficiency are developed as well. The administrative approaches are not the main objective discussed in the thesis, though the importance of them is undeniable. BEA systems are not only assessment methods, but also market-based stimulating approaches for sustainability of construction market. Technical methods have been developed for a long period. Passive House and Low Exergy (LowEx) Systems are two representative examples in European countries. All of these approaches are relatively unfamiliar to Chinese architects and developers, let alone their effect and applicability. The thesis tries to analyse this situation and their applicability within Chinese context. In China to a certain project, the importance of technical issues is relatively recognized. However, a few successful individual cases in technique can not change the reality that most of new building development has failed in energy efficiency in China. This is a serious situation when China is in an enormous expansion phase in building new houses. The thesis tries to discuss the reasons for this phenomenon. One reason could be that the stakeholders in the developing process are not aware of the importance of collaboration which is the only method to get “Both Win” according to Game theory. The thesis discusses a paradigm to replace two traditional linear paradigms in building developing process. Architects should act as coordinators of different stakeholders rather than technical supporters. The thesis tries to discuss the propositional route of developing energy efficient buildings. Technical approaches are basic research, which presents the concepts that have been proved realizable; BEA encourages developers to develop more energy efficient buildings for economic benefit, which will make good demonstrations for whole market; national laws and policies are final approaches, which ensure that every project will have good performance of energy efficiency. When the old standardization and legislation are finished, a new cycle will begin with more advanced techniques. China government has started the progress to enhance energy efficiency. However, this process will be tough and slow. The thesis discusses Chinese special conditions and the problems that cry out for solution in the future.