The green building rating system created for the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City (SSTEC) project in Tianjin, China, has been put to the acid test. Early assessment showed that crucial design targets pertaining to energy and water consumption were not met.
In a paper presented at the Macau International Environmental Cooperation Forum end of March, vice-chairman of the SSTEC Administration Committee Lin Xuefeng gave a review of the SSTEC, the world’s largest integrated eco-city project, after three years.
Lin Xuefeng (photo credit: GPA Photo)
He said the project had gone through three stages: the learning stage, the review stage and thirdly, that of “exploring new ideas”.
In the first phase, the committee had studied the national green building standards and borrowed ideas from Singapore to produce new rating standards as a benchmark for the project. All buildings in SSTEC have to meet these standards, just as Singapore imposes mandatory compliance to green ratings for all new buildings.
Lin said some 700,000 sq m in SSTEC met the green standards, and that most of the buildings have obtained the maximum 3-star rating.
“However, as we progressed into the review stage, we found some problems as well. Buildings are assessed individually, and we find that energy and water efficiency performance usually do not meet the overall goal we set for the eco-city.”
The statistics speak for themselves:
• In 2010, of the 129 buildings assessed, only 11 could achieve the designed target for energy and water consumption.
• In 2011, only 18 of the 280 buildings assessed met the target.
“So, it seems these targets can’t be easily achieved,” said Lin, adding that as they go into the third phase, they need to come up with ways to control the outcome with regard to the green elements of the eco-city.
He said there was a need to set specific and measurable targets for water and energy consumption “for every single constructed floor area.”
Lin said that without quantifiable parameters, buildings may be able to achieve certain scores to be eligible for green rating, but may not deliver the performance outcomes that they desire.
SSTEC is the result of a government-to-government collaboration signed in 2007. Experts from China and Singapore drew up a set of 26 key parameters, which are quantifiable and in line with those in developed countries, to ensure that SSTEC achieves what it was designed to do.
When contacted, Ho Tong Yen, the CEO of Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Investment and Development Co Ltd, the master developer for the project, declined to comment on Lin’s assessment.