“At present, many professionals focus on the cost of green building. It’s a misunderstanding. What we need to focus on is the value rather than the cost of the green building.” said Mr. Koh Linji, the Director of Singapore International Development Division, Building & Construction Authority recently at an interview with the media. Singapore’s green building technology has always been in the world’s leading position. The governments advance the “green building” as an important State policy. The purpose of Mr. Koh's trip to China is also to promote the "green building" concept of Singapore.
Reporter: What can China learn from Singapore’s experiences?
Mr. Koh: As far as individual cases go, China is at the same level as Singapore since both adopt about the same technologies. But conceptually, Singapore has push the green building further forward.
Singapore cares about the approaches for passive house. In other words, we will make the building better in thermal insulation through design, reduce the use of artificial lighting by taking advantage of natural lighting, and adopt natural ventilation whenever it’s possible. The reduction of artificial lighting will save energy while natural ventilation can cut down emissions from mechanical devices. If one can do a good job on passive house structure, heat insulation, and building directions, the inner building climate will be effectively isolated from the external environment and won’t be affected by the change of external conditions. Less energy needs for heating and cooling appliances mean less consumption of energy.
In China, people often believe that a green building must use renewable energy such as solar panels, geothermal heat pump, or wind energy. Otherwise, it’s not a green building. That is a big misunderstanding. The main purpose of constructing green building is to reduce the damage to natural environment in terms of energy and water conservation. That by no means says that you have to use renewable energy.
Another misunderstanding is that it is only green when you plant trees. That is not right. At present, some architects are fond of green roof. We advocate green roof too, as the plants on rooftop do absorb sunlight and help reduce direct sunlight. However, there are also people believe that although trees stay green all year round, they get withered in winter in northern China. As trees cannot stay evergreen, they don’t promote green roof. Actually, when you have a layer of soil on the roof, even though the trees are withered in winter, it sustains temperature for the roots and prevents cold air from getting in through roof.
Reporter: From the cost perspective, between green house and ordinary house, how big is the difference?
Mr. Koh: No difference. Same here in China. Singapore emphasizes the application of existing economically sustainable techniques on green building. It means that we don’t take the expensive hi-tech approach. I believe we should design green buildings based on the current technologies and materials, rather than letting hi-tech be the sole overriding factor.
In Singapore, for instance, for a building that meets energy efficiency requirement, such as 10% energy savings, there is no cost difference. In China, according to China’s national standards,” Green Building Evaluation Criteria”, one star building is already green class. Someone did a survey and found out that the cost for one star green building was about the same as ordinary residential house. The cost for three-star would be 9% higher. But commonly-held perception is that green buildings are very expensive.
For example, green buildings must have solar panels. Because solar panels are expensive, so does the cost for the building. Actually, the cost for green building is about the same as a regular building. Green building doesn’t mean that you have to use renewable energy. That is a big misunderstanding.
Look at Chinese traditional dwelling units, such as Jiangnan’s gardens and Beijing’s courtyards. Many of them have the traits of a green building. Why? First of all, the buildings lie at a traditional north-south orientation, maximizing the use of sunlight in winter time. It'll keep the house warm without heating the brick bed. Secondly, numbers of patios in the design maximize the use of day light. Sunlight will shine into the house to reduce the need for artificial lighting. Moreover, it provides natural ventilation. That is the green building. It’s been around since ancient times. Traditional folk approaches are inexpensive and don’t require hi-tech.
Reporter: So, what makes it so hard to promote green building concept in China?
Mr. Koh: Most people support the concept of emission reduction. The question is how to implement it. That goes back to the topic we just talked about. There are a few conceptual misunderstandings in China. One is about the trees, the other is about the expensive cost. So, what we need to do in the coming years is to have this problem solved. As long as you do a good job on thermal insulation in your design and offer a comfortable environment under natural conditions, the cost will not be so high.
We should not look at the construction cost only. We need to see the value and appreciation potentials of the green building and promote it from these two aspects. Currently, all local governments are very supportive in response to the policy of the Central Government. But there is still some resistance in private sectors. The main reason is that green buildings are believed to be very expensive.
Review Conference for Two National Glass Standards Held in Fujian
National standards review conference for “Light weight physically strengthened glass” and “Architectural safety glass, Volume 2” was held in Fujian. This review conference was jointly sponsored by the National Industrial Glass and Special Glass Standardization Technical Committee, China Building Material Test & Certification Group Co., Ltd., and the National Safety Glass & Quartz Glass Quality Supervision and Inspection Center, hosted by Fujian Xin Fu Xing Glass Co., Ltd. 48 experts from the industry standards committee examined the two proposed national glass standards and discussed the future directions in flat glass.
According to the introduction, “Light weight physically strengthened glass” for the first time classified 3 mm or thinner tempered glass that had been heat treated to enhance its mechanical strength. It plays an irreplaceable role in regulating glass product standards and promoting the healthy development of glass market.
The purpose of this national tempered glass standards amendment is to provide unified standards for the properties of tempered glass, homogeneous glass treatment, system requirements, and its testing methods. The revision of these standards will positively contribute to the improvement of the nation’s glass safety, especially building safety. It will also help to promote the transformation and upgrade of the industry while effectively resolving overcapacity issues that the domestic glass industry is currently facing.
US Develops New Anti-bacterial Glass That Kills 99.99% Bacteria in Germy Water
The Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have created a device that can make use of more sun’s energy. In experiments, the device killed 99.999 percent of bacteria in just 20 minutes. The rectangle device has about half the size of a postage stamp device and looks like nothing but a little piece of black glass. It consists of thin “nanoflake” walls of molybdenum disulfide on a glass surface and each flake is topped with a thin layer of copper.
Under sunlight, the molybdenum disulfide and copper act as a catalyst, using that sunlight to produce hydrogen peroxide and other disinfectant in the water. When their work was done the killer chemicals quickly dissipated, leaving pure water behind.