CMPD advancing green urbanism in China

Relevant implications for the Building and Construction sector identified in GEO-5 for Business:

  • Population growth, rapid urbanization, and economic development resulting in substantial demand for new buildings
  • Increasing concerns about climate change, waste, and resource scarcity driving adoption of on-site renewable energy and energy-, water-, and resource-efficiency
  • Increasing pressure to change construction practices – and expanding markets for sustainable buildings – in order to reduce consumption of water and resources and generation of waste
  • Increasing consumer demand for building materials and designs that incorporate renewable resources, recycled materials, and energy- and water-efficient technologies and processes
  • Increasing regulatory measures to drive green building practices and technologies, reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and minimize waste

Over the last 40 years, China has experienced enormous economic growth to become one of the world’s largest economies. Millions of people have become economically active and are relocating to China’s cities, leading to escalating demands for energy and water, high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, and severe air and water pollution. Hundreds of millions more new city dwellers are expected over the next couple of decades.  China Merchants Property Development Co Ltd (CMPD) has been trying to get ahead of these trends, developing pioneering green buildings and green communities in China.

Green as a competitive advantage

China Merchants Group was founded in 1872 as one of China’s national enterprises. China Merchants Property Development (CMPD), one of the Group’s core businesses, was established in 1984 and includes sustainable, green real estate development among its core values.  CMPD was among the first advocates of green real estate efforts in China, responding to market demand by bringing the concept into practice as early as 2002. It has also been a pioneer in China in broadening the concept of green development to include ecologically sustainable integrated community development (i.e., green neighborhoods). CMPD now views research and deployment of green building technologies as a core competence and competitive advantage for the company.

Track record of green real estate leadership

CMPD has a history of building landmark developments, ranging from single buildings to entire communities, that integrate green and energy-saving technologies and products.

In 2004, CMPD completed its flagship development, the TaiGe Apartment complex, in the Shekou Industrial Zone in Shenzhen.  TaiGe was China’s first LEED-certified residential development, awarded Silver status in 2005. Aimed at meeting market demand from environmentally conscious tenants, TaiGe was a demonstration project, incorporating a range of green building features such as high-performance chillers, solar panels, water-efficient fixtures, wastewater reuse for lavatories and landscaping, and some renewable materials (e.g., bamboo floorboards). Building exteriors were designed to reduce the urban heat island effect, as reducing heat islands by 1°C can reduce the energy needed for cooling by three percent. Apartments have high-efficiency refrigerators that use environmentally friendly refrigerants. The lighting system uses an average of 4.23 W/m2 (compared to the 6 W/m2 target for energy efficient buildings in China), and the development uses less than a third of the electricity typically consumed for domestic water heating. The green TaiGe development has also been very successful financially, securing premium rents.

China Merchants’ influence on Shenzhen goes far beyond the TaiGe Apartments. China Merchants developed the Shekou Industrial Zone in Shenzhen in 1979, and CMPD was later involved in revitalizing the Shekou community to establish a more sustainable living environment and make it more of a green habitat.  CMPD’s headquarters is also in Shekou, in the No.3 building in the Nanhai E Cool Innovation Park that the company developed; in 2013, the Park won “National Green Building Innovation First Prize” and was awarded three stars (the highest award) in China’s green building rating system.  Among other features, the No.3 building features solar photovoltaic and solar hot water systems, natural ventilation, a rainwater harvesting system, and a constructed wetland for dealing with wastewater – achieving significant energy savings and resulting in water savings of about 50%.  Shenzhen more broadly has become a green building hub in China, developing dozens of sustainable building projects and piloting a range of technologies and practices.  

CMPD has also developed a sustainable, integrated, mixed-use community on the outskirts of Guangzhou called Jinshan Gu (The Hills), which has 8,000 homes, a school, offices, leisure facilities, green spaces, and wetlands.  The Hills, which won a UN Habitat Business Award in 2009, is based on the One Planet Living concept developed by BioRegional and WWF, which includes 10 sustainability principles aimed at helping developers keep greenhouse gas emissions and resource utilization at a sustainable per capita level.  The Hills seeks to achieve a 65% reduction in energy usage and a 50% reduction in water usage from a 1990 baseline, as well as a 30% reduction in car traffic.  To achieve those goals, CMPD developed an ecological master plan for The Hills that included a critical mass of pedestrian and cyclist destinations, greywater treatment using reed beds, permeable coatings on roads, and buildings with green roofs, natural ventilation, daylighting, energy-efficient building envelopes, and building-integrated solar photovoltaics. CMPD also has a goal of making The Hills zero-carbon, and it continues to work with BioRegional to explore financially and technologically viable options for meeting that goal over the next decade.

Continuing to promote a greener future

CMPD has created a Green Real Estate R&D and Application Center and continues to host a range of green real estate forums to deepen the industry’s thinking and development of green property.  Going forward, CMPD will build all residential developments to meet or exceed China’s green building standard requirements.

About China Merchants Property Development Co Ltd

Founded in 1984, CMPD is one of China’s top real estate development companies. The company is mainly active in 3 key product lines: residential, commercial, and business parks.  CMPD’s division for sustainable building alone has grown rapidly, with an annual growth rate of 34% in operational income and 28% in asset growth from 2009 to 2013.

Quote Jianxin Hu, Deputy General Manager:

“From our beginning, CMPD embraced the concept of sustainable development as the foundation of our strategy. Our motto ‘Home is where the Heart is’ serves as our leading light whereby “Home” extends into cohesive socio-cultural structures such as communities, the country, the region, and even the world. We are proud to say that, after 30 years of ups and downs, we are taking the lead in sustainable building development in China, thereby playing an important role in the future urbanization of our country.”

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