Real estate association urges developers in China to go green to reduce nation’s carbon footprint

As world leaders prepare to arrive in Copenhagen for the final days of the Climate Summit, property developers in China are being urged to build energy efficient homes in a bid to cut the country’s carbon emissions.

Developers should construct more compact apartments and avoid wasting space to reduce carbon dioxide emission, according to Gu Yunchang, vice president of the China Real Estate Research Association. He told a property forum in Chengdu, capital of south western Sichuan Province, that developers should also expand green areas in residential communities, as low vegetation coverage curbs the absorption of carbon dioxide.

He also called for wider use of renewable energy including solar, wind and geothermal energy, and uniform efforts by developers to reduce waste. At present China's construction energy consumption accounts for 40% of the entire country’s output per year, said Gu.
Green buildings could make Chinese developers among the most competitive in the future, said Wu Shaman, general manager of the subsidiary real estate company of China Railway Construction.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed total investment in real estate development from January to November was valued at 3,127 billion yuan, up 17.8% year on year and prices in 70 of China’s largest and medium sized cities rose 5.7% in November.
A total of 2.988 billion square meters of floor space was under construction in the first 11 months of the year, an increase of 17.2% from a year earlier, the NBS data also shows.

As result the Chinese government is beginning to scale back some of the stimulus it introduced last year and early this year to support the real estate market during the financial crisis. It also pledged to curb the speculation that has pushed home prices to unsustainably high levels in some cities.

Johnson Hu, an analyst at UOB Kay Hian, said the central government will continue to closely monitor the property price trend and fine tune its policies. ‘If property price increases continue, while the target of gross domestic product growth is achieved or if there are signs of rising inflation, the government will very likely cancel the remaining housing market stimulus measures in the first half next year,’ he said.

The State Council has already announced that from January 2010 sales of homes by individuals will be exempt from tax only after at least five years of ownership. The government had reduced the period to two years to encourage property sales.