Energy Retrofitter Sohota 圣通的央视节能改造

China’s economic boom has fueled a flurry of real estate construction, but the growth has also exacerbated the nation’s growing energy crisis. While millions of Chinese have seen their standard of living increase, if the government fails to enforce building and energy efficiency standards, China will soon be unable to power itself as a nation. Despite some progress made between 1980 and 2000, energy intensity, a measure for the energy efficiency of a nation’s economy, has dropped dramatically.The Chinese government has responded by setting a five-year plan to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent by 2010. The plan calls for buildings in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Tianjin to implement energy savings by about 65 percent. Despite such government support, improvement has been slow. Nevertheless, experts agree China may be on the cusp of a green building boom due to a growing number of private energy service companies (ESCOS) nationwide. 

Sohota Electric, an energy savings company in Zhuhai, Guangdong is one of those firms. Twelve years ago, company President Chen Xiaogang began selling energy efficient appliances and products, though demand for them was nowhere near it is today. He remembers trying to pitch the idea of energy retrofitting to oil refineries and other state-owned enterprises. Nobody bought it. Now, a decade later, Chen’s clientele includes state television broadcaster CCTV, whose energy bill Sohota has cut by 16 percent.

Though experts predict an increasing demand for energy efficient green buildings, the notion of profitability is still fairly new. In 2006, the state-owned Big Four— the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Bank of China, the China Construction Bank, and the Agricultural Bank of China—refused to loan Chen capital for the CCTV retrofitting project. Undeterred, Chen finally found a credit cooperative in Zhuhai willing to loan him four million RMB. Sohota, then, installed energy efficient equipment to cut lighting, heating and cooling costs — plus they hired a team of onsite engineers to monitor the progress.

As China’s energy crisis worsens and the public grows more comfortable with green technology, investors will begin to realize this sector’s economic growth potential. As a result, firms like Sohota are likely to flourish.

China’s Ministry of Construction has reported that all buildings constructed before 2000 are not energy efficient. If true, this translates into a huge retrofitting opportunity for the green buildings sector.

For China to successfully carry out its five-year energy plan, it must rely, in part, on these emerging green companies to relieve demand, and set China on the path to energy independence. As for Chen, he is currently working on retrofitting a chain of supermarkets owned by Shanghai Bailian Company—China’s largest retailer by volume. He says he has seen public support for energy efficiency vastly increase in recent months. Good news for his small, but dynamic, enterprise.

Produced by Ariane Wu, Michael Zhao

Originally published on April 22, 2009

4 Responses to “Energy Retrofitter Sohota 圣通的央视节能改造”

  1. Andrew M. McGreevy, Ph.D. Says:

    The China Green videos are a wonderful resource. Please continue with coverage of China’s environmental issues. I will be citing your resources in academic research and in history courses that I teach. A.McGreevy

  2. Celestine Walsworth Says:

    Wow, your homepage is one great resource. Truly like it.

  3. Truyen Says:

    I am Pham Thanh Truyen from Vietnam. I want to share my thoughts about this topic. The current situation in China is the same as in Vietnam. Actually, from the year 2005 the Government of Vietnam has been seeking the assistance from nay international organizations and institutions to upgarde the buildings that are not energy efficiency. It is not a easy prolem because here in my country had to take a long time to have the concencus of the people, the state and the contactors. Up to now, the project has been only gained some signs of effect. I think the government of two countries should cooperate to do this project succesfully because the infracstructure of the two countries is in the same situation.
    Mr.Truyen Pham
    The University of Technical Education Ho Chi Minh City

  4. Ushma Gramya Vikas Trust Says:

    please send us free video film/CD if possible in Hindi or English for free show to rural children/youth and women

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