Cantwell Announces First of Its Kind Grant, Releases Report Highlighting Opportunities to Cooperate with China on Clean Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Receives State Department Grant to Promote Better Energy Efficient Building Code Compliance in China

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and representatives from the U.S. Department of State, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China announced a first of its kind cooperative effort to implement and promote increased compliance of energy efficient building codes in two pilot cities in China.  The World Bank estimates that by 2015 half the world’s building construction will take place in China.  Yet, only 49 percent of the buildings are actually built to code. The PNNL project is unique because in addition to developing building codes, PNNL will work with local government officials to create willingness of all stakeholders to comply.
“China is now the world’s largest construction site, and the types of buildings they build will determine global energy use for decades to come,” said Cantwell.  “We already sell China software, planes and coffee and are poised to sell even more energy efficiency design, services and products.  For the first time the U.S. State Department has drawn on one of our national labs, PNNL, to assist China in gaining voluntary compliance.  This moves China and the U.S. away from a global scrabble for oil to a global greener future.”
The State Department has awarded PNNL a $518,406 grant under the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP) to implement and enforce energy efficient building codes and standards in two Chinese cities.  At today’s announcement, the State Department and PNNL signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize this initiative.  These dollars will be combined with additional funds from China and the U.S.-based Blue Moon Fund.  PNNL has been conducting research, technology development, and deployment programs in support of energy efficiency in the building sector for over three decades and has extensive experience in local enforcement issues. 
“The United States and China have a symbiotic relationship – we have a shared responsibility and a shared opportunity to help solve the global energy and environmental challenges,” said Mike Davis, PNNL’s associate laboratory director for energy and environment.  “With this MOU, we can be more flexible and innovative in how we can partner PNNL’s science and technology expertise with APP’s mission.”
"This project exemplifies the goals of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate: promoting the development and deployment of cleaner, more efficient technologies to address the global climate challenge,” saidUnder Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky.  “We expect Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's work on this project to yield significant and tangible results, continuing the APP's record of fostering both economic and environmental benefits throughout the Asia-Pacific region."
While China’s building energy codes are mandatory, compliance and enforcement remain problematic.  A survey conducted by the MOHURD (the former Chinese Ministry of Construction) in northern China in 2005 suggested that, while over 87.5 percent of the buildings complied with the energy standard on paper, less than 49 percent were found to be compliant upon actual inspection.  Anecdotal results in southern China indicate even lower compliance rates.  Eventually, it is hoped that new building codes enforcement practices adopted here could be used as a model in the approximately two billion square meters in new construction China is adding every year.
“The Pacific Northwest has a long history pioneering the development and deployment of green building technologies which could allow us to become a primary supplier to China’s nascent but potentially enormous green building market,” said Cantwell.
Cantwell has been a leader in urging the U.S. to expand clean energy cooperation with China, believing such efforts are in the strong interest of both nations. In April 2007, Cantwell authored a bipartisan letter to President Bush, signed by 11 other senators, urging him to develop a comprehensive bilateral agreement with China on clean energy.  Because of Cantwell’s leadership, Gig Harbor, Washington was chosen for the first meeting on developing a ten year energy-environment plan between the U.S. and China as a spin-of of Strategic Economic Dialogue. She plans to introduce legislation on formalizing the cooperation through establishment of an Executive-Congressional Commission on China and India in the areas of energy and the environment.