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Get insights on energy efficiency in China


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  • 9,571,302 km2
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Buildings - Key Information on China

China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. With this growing economy comes the world´s biggest construction market, ranked number 1 in terms of annual building volume. The sector is so large that by 2015 nearly half of the new buildings annually constructed worldwide will be located in China by 2015.

The rapid urban growth, which is increasing at a tremendous rate, with the urban population rising fivefold in the last 50 years from 107 million in 1960 to 586 million in 2009 (Yifel 2012) is partially responsible for this construction boom. Existing building area in 2010 being at  48,6 billion m2 and the rate of new construction at ca. 2 million m2/a

The residential sector is the largest of the building sector, with 60 % of all new buildings; this is followed by the public and commercial sector with 30% and the industrial sector with 10%. As growth in household wealth has increased there has been a significant market growth for new residential buildings as well as the appliances market including the energy consumption increase that goes with it. The rapid transformation and post industrialization that China is currently undergoing has also led to the demand for office buildings in the service sector rising dramatically. With these offices buildings also comes an increased demand for energy for thermal building conditioning. Between 1996 and 2008 total floor space (in urban areas) in northern China has tripled from three billion to nine billon square meters.

This rise in demand for energy makes the building sector the most significant driver in overall energy consumption. The construction market will by 2020 account for 40% of the country’s total energy consumption. It was estimated that the Chinese building sector consumed 373 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2005 or about 14% of total global building energy use. Of this It was estimated that the residential sector was responsible for 90% of building energy consumption. (IEA 2007). This is approximately 28 per cent of the country’s total energy consumption (UNDP 2010). Energy demand in China will maintain high growth in the future as more buildings are built.

At present although the focus in the building sector is more on that of green buildings, energy efficient buildings play an important yet slightly lesser role. However energy efficient building in China cannot be seen as being separate from green buildings in China but rather as complimentary.

Despite this China has achieved significant progress in improving building energy efficiency over the last two decades, much of which can be attributed to carefully planned development strategies, and strong and consistent support from the central government. 

Strategic approach

The Strategic Approach is a worldwide valid recommendation for energy consumption levels. A Strategic Approach to integrated building design is the key to achieving high-energy savings at low or no extra cost in residential buildings. bigEE recommends using this Strategic Approach for energy efficiency in buildings.

Strategic Approach for the climate zones of China
Strategic Approach climate zones China
Map of China with climate zones and energy consumption levels according to the Strategic Approach of the bigEE project

The following table lists the energy consumption ranges as set by bigEE to achieve LEB, ULEB and nZEB/PLEB. (Note: For climate zone definitions for China please read the Climate text under Overview)

Cold (e.g. Qinghai) Temperate (e.g. Beijing, Shanghai) Hot and Humid (e.g. Shenzhen) Hot and Arid
kWh/m2TFAyr kWh/m2TFAyr kWh/m2TFAyr kWh/m2TFAyr
LEB 40 – 80 40 – 80 100 – 150 50 – 100
ULEB 20 – 40 20 – 40 50 – 100 25 – 50
nZEB 0 – 20 0 – 20 0 – 50 0 – 25
PEB ++ ++ ++ ++

For detailed information on the Strategic Approach please see the Strategic Approach text of the Interactive Buildings Guide more ...

The following table lists the provincial capitols of China and their corresponding climatic zones according to the Strategic Approach of bigEE

City HDD18°C CDD10°C Humidity (warmest month) % bigEE Climate
Beijing 3035 2164 76 Temperate
Changchun 4719 1537 53 Temperateæ
Changsha 1598 3047 74 Temperate
Chengdu 1574 2590 84 Temperate
Chongqing 1303 2917 74 Temperate
Dongguan 405 4437 80 Hot and Humid
Fuzhou 835 3583 76 Hot and Humid
Guangzhou 446 4328 79 Hot and Humid
Guiyang 1979 2270 77 Temperate
Haikou 121 5016 84 Hot and Humid
Hangzhou 1220 2781 78 Temperate
Harbin 5804 1254 58 Temperate
Hefei 1983 2650 82 Temperate
Hohhot 5081 1221 97 Temperate
Jinan 2405 2656 69 Temperate
Kunming 1487 1871 65 Temperate
Lanzhou 3521 1504 63 Temperateæ
Lhasa 3826 652 54 Cold
Nanchang 1514 3141 76 Temperate
Nanjing 2016 2641 81 Temperate
Nanning 615 4325 95 Hot and Humid
Qingdao 2653 1981 81 Temperate
Shanghai 1925 2681 82 Temperate
Shantou 455 4089 84 Hot and Humid
Shenyang 4139 1760 80 Temperate
Shenzhen 239 4909 26,7 Hot and Humid
Shijiazhuang 2652 2416 59 Temperate
Taiyuan 3504 1679 89 Temperate
Tianjin 2995 2232 75 Temperate
Ùrumqi 3764 2311 49 Temperateæ
Wuhan 1662 3033 79 Temperate
Wuxi 1988 2586 82 Temperate
Xi'an 2521 2262 63 Temperate
Xining 3503 1498 63 Temperateæ
Yinchuan 3824 1604 63 Temperate
Zhengzhou 2352 2512 63 Temperate


This systematic tool, will allow you to browse a list of strategies and recommendations, for building energy efficient buildings, in the four major world climates and types of building that might be of interest to you. Please choose a Climate Zone, State, Mode and Building Type to see our Recommendations on achieving LEB. ULEB and nZEB/PEB buildings.

Explore worldwide recommendations in the bigEE Buildings Guide

Good Practice Examples

Here you can find examples of holistically planned and energy efficient Good Practice Buildings in China. These Good Practice Building examples provide essential information at a glance (key information including climate zone, building typology and primary energy consumption) and show detailed descriptions upon choosing any particular example (detailed description including passive architectural features, construction, techniques and technologies used as well as any special features and energy cost savings).

For Good Practice Building examples worldwide please go to the Interactive Buildings Guide Good Practice Page more ...

Jun Yue Hai Tang

Jun Yue Hai Tang
Low-Energy Building
Year 2009
Location Ürumqi, China
Area (TFA) 15580 m2
Dwellings 175
Cost 249 EUR/m2
Consumption 18.4 kWh/m2/year (primary energy)

Zai Shui Yi Fang

Zai Shui Yi Fang
Ultra-Low-Energy Building
Year 2012
Location China
Area (TFA) 5112 m2
Dwellings 54
Cost 138 EUR/m2
Consumption 23.7 kWh/m2/year (primary energy)

Passive House Bruck

Passive House Bruck
Ultra-Low-Energy Building
Year 2013
Location Changxing, China
Area (TFA) 2200 m2
Dwellings 46
Cost None EUR/m2
Consumption 93.4 kWh/m2/year (primary energy)

Good Practice Technology

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