Navigant Research Blog

In Asia Pacific, Green Buildings Gain Ground

Madeline Bergner — April 29, 2014

Recently, the World Green Building Council launched the inaugural Asia Pacific Regional Network Leadership Awards in Green Building.  The awards program will recognize organizations in the region committed to sustainability and green building.  Navigant Research’s report, Energy Efficient Buildings: Asia Pacific, found that the Asia Pacific region is home to about 40% of the world’s building stock, with great potential for both energy efficiency retrofits and more efficient new construction.

Across the region, individual policies and incentives exist to promote energy efficient development.  Additionally, a number of regional and bilateral programs have formed to share best practices and conduct joint projects.

Already, country-level energy reduction targets bolster the implementation of energy efficient building technologies throughout the region.  For example, after successfully achieving a 19% reduction in energy intensity between 2006 and 2010 under the 11th Five-Year Plan, China’s 12th Five-Year Plan targets an additional 16%  reduction between 2011 and 2015.   Similarly, the government of Japan announced a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30% from 2005 levels by 2020.  These ambitious goals encourage companies and other entities to retrofit or build more efficiently from the start.

Regional Efforts

In addition to individual goals, Asia Pacific nations have formed various regional and bilateral partnerships to promote energy efficient development and modernization.

Founded in 1990, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Working Group promotes energy investment and clean energy technologies and policies.  In 2007, the group resolved to work toward a collective goal of reducing energy intensity by at least 25% by 2030.

There’s no question that both individual and group efforts are beneficial in that both increase the total stock of energy efficient buildings, but is there a way to use these congenial relationships to further motivate countries to build more efficient buildings?

Challenge Accepted

The U.S. Better Buildings Challenge, which my colleague Eric Bloom covered in a previous blog post, and Northern California’s Best Buildings Challenge provide examples.  These programs set energy reduction targets and participating companies commit to pursue those reductions.  The motivation to join can vary drastically, depending on the organization – from the desire to promote sustainability to the bottom-line savings offered by more efficient buildings.  The Better Buildings Challenge targets a 20% increase in energy efficiency by 2020, equivalent to about $58 million in energy savings each year.

A countrywide, or regionwide, challenge to meet an aggressive reduction target could help increase the energy efficient building stock in Asia Pacific.  In particular, developing countries seeking advice on best practices or technological implementation could capitalize on such an opportunity, as they go through high periods of building and construction.   The World Green Building Council’s Asia Pacific award could serve as such a forum for collaboration and leadership that will spur energy efficient building and development throughout the region.

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