At this year’s BAU China, the DGNB returned to the stage of the China Architectural Design Exhibition (CADE) EXPO 2023 in Shanghai. At the DGNB China Community Meeting on 4 August, the network met again for the first time since the start of the pandemic. In addition to many news about the development of the DGNB in Germany, there was a panel discussion on the added value of certified buildings and districts, best practices from China and an outlook on wishes and plans for the German-Chinese collaboration.
The DGNB China Community is an open format for partnership and networking between DGNB Certification experts, partners and other stakeholders. It is a collaborative platform across all sectors and stakeholders in the Chinese construction and real estate industry to promote sustainable solutions and synergistic benefits for sustainable development. Since 2015, it has therefore served to better define future development strategies of the DGNB in China.
This made it all the more important for me to meet again in person at the DGNB China Community Meeting at BAU China, where the focus was clearly on networking, discussion and knowledge exchange.
Added value of sustainability also wins over the Chinese market
The centrepiece of the event was our panel discussion. Moderated by Kai Zhang, former Director of DGNB Certification China, I had the opportunity to discuss with Ralf Dietl (AS+P), Chong Meng (CSUS Green Building Center), Yajin Sun (gmp International) and Lihua Wang (Landleaf Technology) their practical experiences in China and the added value of sustainable buildings and districts.
For Chong Meng, Director of CSUS, the sustainability certificate is a tool to steer the market towards a sustainable and low-carbon transformation. In addition to the implementation of local standards, he said that international cooperation could also have a positive impact on China’s sustainable building market, such as the dual certification of the Chinese 3-Star Green Building Standard and the DGNB System.
Lihua Wang, Senior Partner of property developer and technical services provider Landleaf Technology, gave the audience an insight into the economic considerations and benefits that drive clients to choose sustainable buildings.
From a planner’s perspective, Yajin Sun, Associate Partner at gmp International, reported on the conflict between creative design and sustainable planning based on a real project, the solution which, however, created added value for the design in the end.
At the level of urban and district planning, Ralf Dietl, Associate Partner & Creative Director of AS+P Shanghai, used a DGNB-certified district project in Frankfurt am Main to show how the DGNB System can be usefully integrated into the framework planning of districts to support the decision-making process in defining key issues and priorities for long-term sustainable development.
These practical experiences make us at the DGNB positive and confident. Thanks to the support of our local partners, we have already achieved some milestones in China. Even during the pandemic, the links between China and Germany in terms of sustainable construction have not been broken. Our overarching goal is to promote sustainability in the construction and real estate market there and to create a corresponding understanding of quality as the basis for responsible and sustainable action.
Success stories of sustainable building in China
Another highlight of the DGNB China Community Meeting was the certification ceremony for the Schaeffler Taicang New Campus Building 101 of Schaeffler Group China. The project is the first new construction of a production building in China to receive a DGNB Certification in Gold.
In addition to this current project, we also received reports on two DGNB-certified projects. BASF China and ARDEX China shared their experiences as project owners. The DGNB System helped them to systematically integrate sustainability aspects in the early planning phase, while effectively controlling construction and operating costs – and now to provide a high level of user comfort for employees and customers once construction is complete.
DGNB’s role in China – now and in the future
The DGNB sees itself in China as a network partner for German-Chinese communication and for the exchange of knowledge and experience on sustainable planning, construction and operation, as a knowledge platform for the training of experts and students and, last but not least, as a system provider, with DGNB Certification as an instrument for promoting building quality throughout the entire life cycle.
In order to further support and maintain the Chinese partnerships, we were able to win Rolf Demmler as the first DGNB Ambassador in China. On site, he will initiate further development and networking with the Chinese DGNB Community. Rolf Demmler is Director of SoftGrid (Shanghai) as well as DGNB Auditor and DGNB ESG-Manager and has almost 20 years of experience in sustainable building planning and consulting in China.
With the support of our representative of DGNB Certification in China, Shizhe Ma, we look forward to many more collaborations and joint working groups within the DGNB China Community. We hope for mutual understanding and learning as well as a long-term cooperation in the field of sustainable building to jointly improve the quality of building in China as well as in Germany and make it the new normal.