Navigant Research Blog

New Chinese Subsidies Target Improved Building Efficiency

— June 10, 2012

The Chinese government recently announced a series of subsidies and incentive schemes aimed at energy efficiency and renewable energy proliferation around the country and on June 1, it started offering subsidies for televisions and fixed-speed air conditioners.  The total volume of available subsidies will be about RMB 26 billion ($4 billion), though the program aims to use the subsidies to drive total consumption of RMB 450 billion ($70 billion).  The program represents part of a national plan to stimulate domestic consumption in 2012 by investing RMB 170 billion ($27 billion). Of that sum, more than 50% will be aimed at energy efficiency and renewable energy products under a series of subsidies (that haven’t been announced yet) and other incentive programs.

China represents the world’s largest construction industry, and about 2 billion square meters of new space are added to China’s building stock ever year, as described in Pike Research’s report entitled “Global Building Stock Database.” A surge in energy consumption has accompanied this growth and China surpassed the United States as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases a few years ago.  However, a recent report from the International Energy Agency adds that China’s carbon emissions intensity per unit of GDP fell by 15% between 2005 and 2011.

In an effort to curb its carbon emissions growth, China’s 12th Five Year Plan, released in 2011, laid out the Chinese government’s ambitions to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16% from 2010 to 2015.  This most recent wave of subsidies is aimed at helping China meet these goals by targeting specific energy-intensive appliances – televisions and air conditioners – that are responsible for a significant portion of the growth in China’s per-capita energy consumption.

As I wrote in Pike Research’s recent white paper, “Smart Buildings: Ten Trends to Watch in 2012 and Beyond,” the Asia Pacific region’s size relative to the rest of the world is not always reflected in revenues for energy efficiency technology.  Despite the region’s dynamic construction activity, it represents just 25% of the global market for building automation systems (BAS) and controls, 20% of the global market for building energy management systems (BEMS), and 17% of the global market for intelligent lighting controls.  However, as the Chinese government bolsters sales of energy efficiency equipment in the next few years through subsidies and other regulations, China’s market share for smart building technology is expected to grow, placing the building industry at the center of China’s strategy to reduce the energy intensity of its economy.


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