Public-private collaboration for low-energy buildings

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Lessons from China

Clay Nesler, VP, global sustainability and industry initiatives, Johnson Controls, recently discussed the importance of an ongoing collaboration between the United States and China for improving energy efficiency for buildings.

Nesler shared his insights at VERGE 17, an annual conference and expo focusing on the technologies and systems that accelerate sustainability solutions in a climate-constrained world. The event was held in Santa Clara, Calif., in September 2017.

The public-private partnership, started six years ago, remains popular in both countries, according to Nesler, who is chair of the U.S. Industrial Advisory Board of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center Building Energy Efficiency Consortium. “This initiative is successful because it leverages the resources of 70 researchers and over 50 partner organizations in the U.S. and China,” Nesler said. “The U.S. government contributions are matched over four-to-one by the Chinese government and U.S. and China industry partners.”

“This initiative is successful because it leverages the resources of 70 researchers and over 50 partner organizations in the U.S. and China.” -- Clay Nesler, VP, global sustainability and industry initiatives, Johnson Controls

Energy efficiency efforts in China are important for various reasons, Nesler said, including the following:

  • Two billion square meters of building space have been constructed annually in China for the past few decades.
  • Half of new construction globally in the coming decade will be in China.
  • About 25% of China's energy consumption in 2011 came from buildings.
  • Building energy consumption in China could increase by 40% over the next 15 years.

China is a great place to pilot new technologies, Nesler added. For example, Johnson Controls is testing air-scrubbing technology at its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Shanghai. “It’s going to save energy because we don’t have to condition that outdoor air,” he said. “The air in the building is going to be a lot cleaner than the air outside.”

The entire presentation, “Public-Private Collaboration for Low Energy Buildings,” is available on video. In addition, there are videos of Q&A sessions with Nesler filmed during VERGE 17.

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