See also ::Taking the LEED in China: Beijing's Building Green, ::Building a Green China, and ::China Digital Times Photo series: The most extravagant district government in the world as well as ::Buildings Account for Half of All CO2 Emissions and ::Beyond Generalities: Buildings, Climate Change, And Policy Making. Photo of the Tai'An Municipal Government, Shandong Province, courtesy of ::China Digital Times.
Apparently, the Chinese people are tired of government funds being spent on official public building McMansion equivalents. In response to the many complaints incurred by "luxurious" government structures - and to central government concerns about local corruption - on Wednesday, China's leaders announced that they "will ban the construction of wasteful and extravagant official buildings." Indoor gardens, fountains, atriums, dance stages, and lobby areas higher than a single story are all on the new no-no list. Though government office buildings should still be "stately," officials are now required to "be frugal in spending public money because China is still a developing country." And what if they fail to stick to the cost limit of 4000 yuan (about US$518) per square meter that's been set for ministerial level government office buildings? Or the lower cost limits set for municipal and county-level government buildings? Or otherwise violate the new rules? The edict stipulates that excessive space can be confiscated and sold. In addition to hopefully encouraging government buildings that are physically smaller, the new regulations also push for structures with smaller footprints. China Daily quotes deputy construction minister Qiu Baoxing: "Some local government office buildings set bad examples with their huge energy consumption." Buildings are now supposed to conserve energy, particularly the elevators, heating and air-conditioning facilities, which must be "environment-friendly and energy-efficient."