New Green Building Evaluation Standard Released in China


The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of China announced the approval of the new "Green Building Evaluation Standard" as the national standard, which will be put into practice after January 1, 2015. The old version of the standard shall be repealed simultaneously.

The national "Green Building Evaluation Standard" in China, first released in 2006, has been acting as the guiding principles for design, construction, operation and rating of green buildings in China. The most popular Three Star Systems applied in the rating of green buildings in China was first introduced in this document. As of the end of 2013, projects that are labeled as green buildings according to this standard have reached 1446 with a building area of 160 million square meters. As one of the main indicators in the recently released "National Urbanization Plan", the proportion of green buildings accounted for in the total new buildings should reach 50% by 2020 in comparison to the 2% in 2012.

The major adjustments in the new standard lie in the scope of building types and the methodology of rating.

The scope of applicable buildings in the new standard is expanded to all types of civil buildings from the previous residential buildings and public buildings, which only limit to office, commercial and hotel buildings. It also clearly points out the rating will be conducted on the design as well as the operation of the buildings. In addition to the traditional indicators, including land, energy, materials and water conservation, indoor environmental quality and operation, construction management is also included in the new standard, a strong indication of the increased emphasis on whole process control.

With regard to the rating methodology, there is a major shift from the traditional to the new scoring system. The new standard will still adopt the “control items” applied in the old version, while the “general items” and “preference items” will be merged together as the new “score items” and an additional "bonus items” are also created in the new version . Among these, “control items”, as the basic requirements and the first step, decide if the building can enter the scoring process as a green building; "Score items” will evaluate the total scores of the buildings from the 7 indicators, which carry different weight in the comprehensive evaluation, and lastly the" bonus items " is designed to encourage the improvement and innovation in green building technology and management. One-star requires a total score of 45-50, two-star 60, and three-star 80.

Under the new national standard, it will be more difficult to obtain the green building labeling in China.

Under specific items, the new standard has issued different levels of quantitative requirements in comparison to the traditional qualitative requirements. The better the building complies with the quantitative requirements, the more scores it can get when evaluated under the specific item. With this new practice, it needs more than the simple application of certain technology or energy efficient product, but its actual effective functioning to achieve more scores.

The new standard compiling committee has carried out an assessment of the new standard by evaluating existing seventeen green building residential projects under the new national standard and found that 10 three-star buildings are degraded to two-star; four buildings of two-star becomes one-star and only 3 buildings keeps their original rating. 

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