MIT Experts Attend Sino-U.S. Symposium on Low Carbon Community


The Sino-U.S. Symposium on Low Carbon Community was held on June 17, 2016, as part of the Fourth Shenzhen International Low Carbon City Forum. Experts from MIT and China (from the government, business, and academic sectors) discussed diverse views and shared their experiences on China's low carbon community creation and development.

This seminar was part of the Shenzhen International Low Carbon City Forum, and it was presided over by Dr. Chengchuan Tian, Director of the Department of Strategic Planning for Climate Change in the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The seminar was divided into two sessions: the keynote speech session and the expert discussion session.

Dr. Yu-Hung Hong from MIT first gave a keynote speech on "The Sustainable Values: The Green Buildings' Environmental Benefits." He also introduced the research of Andrea Chegut's from MIT’s Center for Real Estate on assessing the economic value of green buildings at the MIT Center for Real Estate. In Dr. Hong's speech, he pointed out that green technologies can bring remarkable economic benefits to the real estate industry. However, the awareness of green buildings disseminates at a very slow pace. Dr. Hong also introduced some bills and incentives related to green building in the US and Europe, hoping these documents can serve as a reference for China to promote its own green building development.

An MIT doctoral student, J. Cressica Blazier, introduced her collaborative study with researchers from Tsinghua University and Shandong University, entitled "China's Clean Energy Development at the Neighborhood Scale." The study found that neighborhood patterns can have a great impact on a city's energy consumption. Ms. Blazier also introduced an online estimator for calculating neighborhood energy consumption. A user may upload some design indicators of a neighborhood, and the online estimator will calculate the energy consumption. This tool intrigued the Chinese experts. They think that this tool can not only be used for specific project evaluation, but also help bring a relatively scientific standard of neighborhood energy performance to help regulate the creation and operation of clean energy neighborhoods.

Chongchao Pan is the Deputy Secretary-General of the National Standardization Technology Alliance for Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction (STCE). When presenting the progress of research methods on carbon emission in low carbon communities, Chongchao Pan affirmed Ms. Blazier’s model and online tool. He stressed that the biggest problem in the methods of accounting carbon emission reduction lies in data. Further, Ms. Blazier’s model and online tool can help obtain first-hand data. This provides both theoretical support and improvements in the accounting methodology.

In her keynote speech, Lei Feng, Vice Chairman of the Beijing Building Technology Development Co. Ltd., introduced an actual Chinese low carbon community: the Taihu Lake New Town Low Carbon Community in Suzhou City Wuzhong District. She addressed the community's measures of reducing carbon emission through architecture, transportation, green space, solid waste and wastewater. This speech provided a case study and empirical evidence of low carbon community.

During the expert discussion session, Dr. Hong and Ms. Blazier from MIT introduced the US experience in creating low carbon communities, and carried out in-depth discussions with Chinese experts and practitioners on how to translate the US experience to China's low carbon community creation and promotion. Dr. Ting Shao pointed out that the complexity of China's political and social environment determines that we should make more long-term and targeted top-level design and planning based on foreign scholars' studies and existing domestic low carbon community practices. Dr. Shao is the Vice Director of the Real Estate Office in the Institute of Market Economy in the Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council. Finally, Jinying Sun, Director of the China Architecture Design Group, hopes that the experts from the US and China can carry out more collaboration to jointly promote low carbon communities in China and the whole world.