DEMAND for green building technology is on the rise in China with the country expected to be home to half of the world’s building construction between now and 2020. Without intervention, building-related energy consumption is set to double in this time, which has led Chinese authorities to establish a raft of environmentally-friendly building plans and policies.

According to Austrade ’s country manager for China, Peter Osborne, these trends are creating opportunities in China for Australian businesses offering green building products or services. “Not only has the Chinese Ministry of Construction instructed all Chinese cities to cut their building energy use in half by 2010, but there is also a plan to retrofit a quarter of existing public buildings to increase their energy efficiency in the same time frame,” he sys. “A wide range of Australian businesses have already achieved success in China. However, the enormity of China’s ongoing demand for green building technology means there’s potential for further Australian businesses to expand into China.

Australian green businesses already established in China are bracing for a surge in demand in the coming years. Since licensed manufacturing got underway in 2001, Rapidwall, a low-cost prefabricated walling system, has been collecting the waste product from power generation plants in China – flue gas gypsum – which is produced as a result of desulphurisation. The waste is turned into plaster and subsequently into the Rapidwall product, thereby helping to clean up the environment.

According to Rapid Building Systems CEO Peter Zwaans, SA-developed Rapidwall has increasingly become the building material of choice in China. “Local authorities class Rapidwall as the second most economical building system available and it’s proved to be one of the most popular because it helps to reduce pollution from coal fire plants and chemical plants, and it’s very quick to assemble,” he adds.

“In 2006, Beijing City Council established an RMB 20,000 [$3,100] grant for people using green building materials, including Rapidwall, to construct a home. So there’s extra incentive for locals on top of the fact it’s a low-cost, earthquake-resistant and fire-proof product.” Rapidwall has been used for a variety of buildings in China.

Source: Construction Contractor