By China Daily/ The Nation
As of April, there were 320 million square metres of green building space in China, certified by either the domestic Green Building Evaluation Standard (GBES) or the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard of the US Green Building Council.
The figure is 154 times as high as in 2008, when the GBES was launched.
The rise reflects rising concern about environmental issues, as well as government support and awareness among developers and tenants of green buildings, market observers have said.
Beijing and Shanghai each have nearly 20 million square metres of green building space, taking the top two positions in the ranking of global green buildings. That is more than other major world cities including Chicago, New York and Washington, DC, according to the survey by US-based CBRE, a realty-services provider.
Carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 50 per cent when a building is operated under the green building standards, according to CBRE data.
The world’s top 10 green cities in terms of building space include Shenzhen and Wuhan, the report said.
First-tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have begun to harvest economic yields from green buildings, including gaining rental premiums and higher occupancy rates, reducing operation and maintenance cost and value-added advantages to talent recruiting and branding. Rental premiums of LEED-certified green buildings in China may reach 25.7 per cent, according to CBRE data.
Analysts say green buildings do not cost more than conventional ones, as many assume, and in addition to hardware that may cut carbon emissions, water consumption and energy use.
Meanwhile, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has launched its environmentally conscious Element brand in the Asia-Pacific region. The firm recently announced the debut of Element Suzhou Science and Technology Town in China.
Owned by Suzhou Science and Technology Town Kexin Cultural Tourism Development Co, the 188-room targets the modern, eco-conscious traveller by incorporating a plethora of green features. The hotel features the first-of-its-kind keyless entry system that allows guests to use their smartphones as keys to their suites – the "SPG Keyless Check-In".
Additionally, the Element Suzhou offers guests more than 900sqm of flexible meeting and event space, a 24-hour fitness centre, and indoor saline swimming pool, as well as complimentary bicycles for rent. Each guestroom features a work space with high-tech office and entertainment equipment, as well as an energy-efficient kitchen.
"As Starwood’s eco-innovation lab, the Element brand has redefined the category with its light-filled atmosphere, eco-minded design and commitment to innovation," said Brian McGuinness, senior vice president of speciality select brands for Starwood.