Report

Evaluating the certification system of green building materials in China

11 Jul 2017
Description

Certification of green building materials is a proven and effective way to incorporate, at large scale, products that are energy efficient, have minimal ill effect on indoor air quality, and/or have other green attributes into buildings. Recently, the General Office of the State Council of China, in order to increase the supply of high-quality green products into the buildings market, issued guidance on developing a uniform system for green product standards and certification by 2020. This guidance is one of many high-level government plans to employ certification as a fundamental tool to increase the market share of green building materials.
This report investigates the certification and testing system in China and the United States relevant to green building materials in order to identify areas for improvement and provide recommendations for China’s certification system. Moreover, to provide a basis for comparison, we examine certification systems in both the United States and China to identify shared features among programs that are indicative of a successful program. We conducted analysis by exploring program websites, reviewing the literature, and carrying out structured interviews.
Areas for improvement in the Chinese system include the following:
1. Greater uniformity in testing protocols for a specific product property,2. More consistency in testing results among laboratories,3. Better streamline certifications for individual product categories,4. Greater alignment among performance standards,5. Inclusion of product categories that presently have no coverage from an existing certification program,6. Stronger promotion strategy to get more products certified, including linkages to policies and incentives, demonstration projects, and energy-efficiency monitoring, and7. Greater number of products certified by instituting a continuous or graded certification scheme.
Certification labels provide consumers an aspect other than price by which to compare products, thereby helping the consumer to make more informed choices and understand the different categories of performance. Labels are also a great tool for the implementation of building codes and building rating systems: they can help ensure that green building elements are incorporated at each stage of the construction process, including design, development, and compliance. Furthermore, uniformity of testing could be encouraged by linking with building requirements such as building codes and building rating systems.
Certification labels provide consumers an aspect other than price by which to compare products, thereby helping the consumer to make more informed choices and understand the different categories of performance. Labels are also a great tool for the implementation of building codes and building rating systems: they can help ensure that green building elements are incorporated at each stage of the construction process, including design, development, and compliance. Strategies to increase certification of products in the US have many linkages to building codes, whereas very few strategies in China have such 

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