Taking the LEED in China: Beijing's Building Green
China’s GDP is rising faster than a Beijing office building or housing project. But the color of that tower going up across the street—wherever you are there seems to be a crane and an army of construction workers—is slowly turning from the city’s traditional red to a neat shade of green. Over at China Dialogue, I've written something about the trend towards sustainable building in China’s capital, where the LEED green building standard has already been plastered on the scaffolding for a handful of new developments, like Steven Holl’s "filmic" Linked Hybrid mixed-use complex (above). Sure, greenwashing abounds on the real estate market (as it does in the supermarket), but that doesn’t mean architects and engineers aren’t incorporating low-E and rainwater collection into their vocabulary. LEED guru Rob Watson makes regular trips to the capital to meet with designers and officials (who are working on a homegrown standard), and everyone from developers to home buyers to big companies are lining up to learn more. Sure, LEED may have its naysayers (arguing among other things that the standard can be prohibitively hard), and indeed, getting the necessary materials is still harder in Beijing then, say, New York. But the increasingly easier LEED regime is helping construct greener buildings here, and giving green design something that can’t hurt in an increasingly image-conscious China: a nice shiny brand name.