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Big opportunities for green experts in China

The director of a leading green building services consultancy has said engaging with the Chinese market is a “moral duty” for UK firms due to the potential impact of climate change.


Andy Ford, director at Fulcrum Consulting, said: “For UK companies who are at the cutting edge of sustainable construction there is a huge opportunity in China. But, perhaps if they are genuinely concerned with creating a sustainable future then one could say they also have a moral duty to engage.”


The company, which was a founding member of the UK Green Building Council, opened an office in China in March.


Mr Ford, who helped launch the Hong Kong office, said: “If we in the UK believe we have workable advanced solutions that can reduce the impact of the built environment on global warming then we should put our money where our mouth is and go where we can have maximum effect.”


BRE Global is the latest company preparing to follow in the footsteps of Fulcrum and BSRIA – which opened its Beijing branch in December – by officially launching an office in China.


Alan Kell (pictured), the director of BRE’s new International Centre of Excellence for Intelligent Buildings, has just returned from leading a UK Government-backed delegation to China to discuss intelligent and green buildings. He has been developing close links over the past two decades with China through his work at consultancy i&i – which saw two of its divisions absorbed by BRE at the beginning of April.


“It is 50 per cent of the world’s construction and the numbers involved are mind blowing. It is a chance to get it horribly wrong or to lead the world on the sustainable built environment.”


A BRE director is now in China undertaking three months of preparation for the re-launch and Mr Kell said feedback had been extremely positive at the ‘International Conference on Intelligent, Green and Energy Efficient Buildings and Technologies’ held in Beijing at the end of last month.


At the conference China launched its own Green Building Council and a labelling system for energy efficient products.


Mr Kell said he believed the BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) green building rating system could make a major impact in the Chinese market – despite the inroads made by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the rival rating system developed by the US Green Building Council.

He said: “Before I went I was rather pessimistic. I thought BREEAM had missed the boat due to the amount of work that LEED has done since 2005. LEED has got itself established there through a lot of marketing, but not many buildings have actually been completed.

“BRE’s presence and active commitment to re-engaging with China was welcomed. There is a huge appetite from the Chinese and UK consultants working out there for a British alternative. BRE did a lot of work out in China in the early 1990s and it is still very respected.”


Mr Ford said the Chinese government appeared to be fully engaged with the energy saving agenda and hopefully this would drive change in the wider population.

“The government of China has announced its latest five year plan which includes major energy saving targets and inclusion of energy performance certification which require five yearly renewal,” Mr Ford said.


“They are aware of the need to cut energy consumption and are moving rapidly to do something about it. It’s a good time to enter the market.”