David Lennett, Senior Attorney, Washington, D.C. and Beijing
Today, California is charting a path other states should follow to protect public health by adopting new rules promoting the recycling of old mercury thermostats that hang on … Continue reading →
Imagine a pharmaceutical prevention, treatment or even cure for Alzheimer’s disease. It is almost impossible to overstate how monumental a development that would be and how it would answer the prayers of millions. Though science isn’t there yet, a new … Continue reading →
Frances Beinecke, President of NRDC, New York City
Scientists recently reported that the level of carbon in the atmosphere has passed 400 parts per million. Carbon pollution causes climate change, and many experts believe we need to bri… Continue reading →
Theo Spencer, Senior Advocate, Climate Center, New York
As the six month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy rolls by, the passage of time is giving us a clearer picture of what preventive measures really worked. Thanks to an excellent serie… Continue reading →
Greenlaw from NRDC China, NRDC China Program, Beijing
May 2-9, 2013NRDC has been working in China for over fifteen years on such issues as energy efficiency, green buildings, clean energy technologies, environmental law, and green suppl… Continue reading →
David Doniger, Policy Director, Climate and Clean Air Program, Washington, D.C.
Carbon dioxide concentrations have hit 400 parts per million for the first time in at least three million years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admini… Continue reading →
Simon Mui, Scientist, Clean Vehicles and Fuels, San Francisco
An independent panel of scientific experts today reaffirmed that an oil industry association’s study of California’s landmark clean energy law (AB32), in particul… Continue reading →
Last week, California’s State Assembly took its first steps toward adopting a groundbreaking new law to help keep plastic trash out of our oceans by creating a marine plastic pollution… Continue reading →
Taryn Kiekow, Staff Attorney, Marine Mammal Protection Project, Santa Monica, California
Endangered fin whales may once again face Iceland’s harpoons. According to media reports, Iceland will resume fin whale hunting next month af… Continue reading →
Christine Xu, Program Assistant, China Program and Energy & Transportation Program , Washington, D.C.
Spring has arrived and this year, the greenery is not just outdoors: NRDC’s office in Beijing has been awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification for Commercial Interior design (LEED-CI).
USGBC Sr. Fellow Mark Ginsberg in Beijing presenting us with LEED-CI Gold plaque
There were many different aspects to take into consideration during the LEED application process. We started from the very beginning of selecting an office building that was close to multiple bus routes and subway lines, along with bicycle storage units offered on site. Additionally, we:
Procured environmental-friendly construction materials;
Used non-toxic interior design materials (such as bamboo);
Designed a space layout that utilized as much natural light as possible, with motion sensors for more efficient artificial lighting;
Reused existing furniture and other energy efficient appliances from our previous office;
Offered several types of recycling bins (paper, glass, plastic, metal); and
Posted reminders for staff to shut down electrical devices (air purifiers, water heaters) at the end of the day for energy conservation.
NRDC has been at the forefront of green building advocacy for decades. In fact, we were the first international environmental organization to introduce the concept of green buildings in China in 1995. We also strive to lead by example: all five of our U.S. offices are LEED certified – two are Platinum and three are Gold. I’m proud to announce that our Beijing office is following suit and is leading by example in China.
There are a number of different green building labeling systems in the world. China has its own Three Star System (3SS) — developed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD) in 2006. Recognizing the explosive growth in the buildings sector, MoHURD introduced 3SS to spur building sustainability and to reap the huge potential in energy savings. 3SS follows a similar structure as the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system, which allocates points based on the environmental and human benefits of various criteria, including energy savings, water savings, indoor environment, and resources and materials. Both labeling systems are being used increasingly more in China, although 3SS covers mostly government and luxury residential projects while LEED covers a wide range of different types of construction, such as New Construction (for new construction projects and renovation projects), Commercial Interior, and even Retail buildings, residential Homes, and Healthcare (medical buildings).
But no matter which labeling system is used, the ultimate goal of each is to harmonize building development with environmental protection. This is critically important for China. The World Bank estimates that half of all new construction in the world will be built in China by 2015. This translates to consuming more than one third of all energy in China and emitting 25 percent of China’s total carbon emissions. Therefore, greening buildings can bring a significant reduction in China’s energy demands and is one way to help China reach its energy intensity reduction target of 16 percent per unit of GDP by 2015. Additionally, green buildings can also help China achieve several other goals listed in the 12th Five Year Plan (2011-2015), such as increasing non-fossil fuel to 11.4 percent of electricity generation and reducing water consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
Effective building efficiency rating systems can provide the needed incentives to develop efficient building technologies and propel them into the market faster. Given that China already has plans in place to increase the number of green buildings to one billion square meters and have 20 percent of all new buildings be constructed as green buildings by 2015, developing a robust green building labeling system is essential to helping China reach these targets. NRDC is working on accelerating this process through our partnership under the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC)’s building efficiency consortium.
Led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, we are engaged in a five-year research project under CERC focused on building efficiency. Specifically, it involves diving into research on key technologies, such as advanced heating and cooling, efficient lighting and building envelope technologies to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the buildings sector. And just as important, we are researching policy tools, such as building codes and labels, to help deploy these technologies more widely and quickly in the marketplace.
Besides providing a highly effective solution to reducing energy consumption in China’s rapidly expanding urban centers, green buildings create another added bonus: a better working environment for staff. This means healthier employees, higher morale, greater productivity and employee retention. Earning LEED Gold-CI means that NRDC’s Beijing office is helping to conserve China’s energy and resources as well as to provide a healthy working environment for our staff. We look forward to helping China build more energy efficient buildings and achieve a similar win-win situation.
Peter Lehner, Executive Director, New York City
In 2011, residents of sprawling, fast-growing, Charlotte became part of a case study on obesity. Just a few years earlier, Charlotte had been one of the most car-dependent cities in the na… Continue reading →
Amanda Maxwell, Latin America Advocate, Washington, DC
Latin America Green News is a selection of weekly news highlights about environmental and energy issues in Latin America.
April 26-May 3, 2013
Executives from Barrick Gold&mda… Continue reading →
Jake Schmidt, International Climate Policy Director, Washington, DC
It is critical that countries agree in 2015 to significantly reduce their climate pollution and secure a global agreement to address climate change. There are at least … Continue reading →
Rob Perks, Transportation Advocacy Director, Washington, D.C.
On Monday the Obama administration announced the president’s pick to take over from Ray Lahood as secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The nominee is Char… Continue reading →
Carolina Herrera, Latin America Advocate, Washington DC
President Obama’s visit to Mexico this week will be the second time he meets with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in less than six months, highlighting the import… Continue reading →
Grace Gill, Program Assistant, CMI/India/Climate Center, New York
April 18 – 26, 2013
India Green News is a selection of news highlights about environmental and energy issues in India
Bidding system revealed for phase … Continue reading →