Beijing's Linked Hybrid (Photo courtesy of Steven Holl Architects)
Put this in your smokestack: No country emits more greenhouse gases than China, and nothing emits more greenhouse gases in China than buildings. It's true that China's traditional architecture has been green for centuries, and that the rest of its buildings use a fraction of the energy of their equivalents in the West. But as the country continues to urbanize and raise its standards of living, China's building footprint could easily make the US blush. As the government seeks to promote its own green building standards, projects that are certified by foreign-born systems like LEED (118 buildings have sought or are seeking accreditation) are becoming increasingly appealing to high-end developers.
Until the cost savings and brand-name appeal of green building can spread among Chinese architects and developers – and move beyond the major cities – China has these impressive models to follow. And their lessons aren't just for China.