Energy efficiency offers investment bonanza

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2006, 12:00am

Investors stand to benefit from a 2 trillion yuan market in converting residential buildings into energy-efficient dwellings, a Ministry of Construction official said.

The estimate is based on a reconstruction cost of more than 100 yuan per square metre for a total of 15 billion square metres of urban residential dwellings nationwide.

Xu Zongwei , deputy director of the ministry's policy and law department, said it would offer great investment opportunities.

'These energy-efficient revision projects could be sold to interested investors through a promotional policy and flexible mechanism to ensure return on investment,' he said yesterday.

The energy-efficient conversion projects are among the initiatives launched to achieve a reduction of energy usage. The country's 11th Five-Year Programme calls for a 20 per cent reduction in energy use.

Air conditioning, heating, lighting and water consumption in buildings account for 30 per cent of energy consumption.

Ways to make housing more energy efficient include adding an insulated layer to outer walls, roofs and floors to keep buildings warm. Insulation in windows can also be replaced to keep room temperatures higher.

These measures can cut energy use by a third.

Mr Xu said the government should encourage state-owned banks, energy companies, construction companies and construction material suppliers to invest in these projects.

He estimated that an investor winning a project to convert a 100 square metre area and signing a 30-year contract with the government on energy efficiency conversion, would need to invest at least 100 million yuan.

The return would be slow to materialise, but could amount to 50 million yuan in 20 years.

Aside from these energy-saving projects, Beijing has been working on a new way to measure gross domestic product by taking into account the cost of environmental damage and resource consumption.