Mandatory civil building energy efficiency codes strictly govern the energy consumption of new buildings in China. As the promotion of building energy efficiency in China has increased in recent years, compliance with mandatory civil building energy efficiency codes has also improved, increasing from less than 10% in 2000 to nearly 100% in 2012, a remarkable achievement. However, because the promotion of energy efficiency strategies in China has followed a unique pattern, some researchers doubt these statistics.
In response to these doubts, this paper summarises and analyses the framework of measures implemented by the Chinese government to enforce mandatory building energy efficiency codes. First, the development and implementation of China's mandatory civil building energy efficiency code system is summarised. Second, the building supervision and inspection systems used to assess energy efficiency are introduced and analysed in detail in order to provide a framework for the development of energy policies in other countries. Third, the assessment and reporting processes used to determine compliance rates are reviewed. Finally, the improvement of compliance rates and its impact on building energy savings in China are discussed. Along with the increase in compliance rates in the construction stage from 71% in 2007 to 100% in 2012, the energy savings of new buildings per increased floor area per year increased from 20.4 kWh/m2 to 28.4 kWh/m2. The supervision and inspection systems reported in this paper are the keys to enforcing building energy efficiency codes.
Improving compliance with building energy codes is a basic and effective way to improve building energy efficiency (BEE). The main purpose of this paper is to identify how the Chinese government enforces Mandatory civil building energy efficiency codes (MCBEEC). The measures implemented by the Chinese government to enforce MCBEEC are worth referencing to support energy policies in other countries. The BEE supervision and inspection systems are analysed in detail and have been proven to be keys to the enforcement of MCBEEC.
The summary of the Chinese BEE code framework provided in this paper illustrates that the BEE code system reached full implementation when Yunnan and Guizhou provinces enacted their provincial BEE codes for residential buildings. All categories of civil buildings (residential and public buildings) are contained in the current code system.
As the promotion of building energy efficiency in China has increased in recent years, compliance with MCBEEC has also improved, rising from lower than 10% in 2000 to nearly 100% in 2012, a remarkable achievement. Among the BEE measures available, the establishment of a BEE supervision system is a key to enforcing the MCBEEC. The BEE supervision system consists of four components: (1) the improvement in the BEE legal system; (2) the establishment of a whole-process BEE supervision system; (3) the inclusion of MCBEEC compliance in the construction quality supervision system; and (4) the adoption of MCBEEC compliance rates as an assessment index for local governments. Based on the summarised frameworks and content of this paper, these four measures have been separately proven to comprise a successful BEE supervision system: (1) improving the legal system; (2) supervising the entire construction process; (3) drawing support from the effective construction quality supervision system; and (4) inspiring initiative of local governments.
The BEE inspection system is another key to enforcing MCBEEC in China. The details of both the national and provincial inspections are summarised and analysed in this paper and consist of the following components: (1) preliminary; (2) inspection content; and (3) methods of handling inspection results. Based on the analysis above, the inspection system has been proven to be effective and essential to the enforcement of MCBEEC.
The process for assessing and reporting compliance rates was also analysed in this paper. Compliance rates are collected by county-level administrations in both the design and construction stages. This level-by-level assessment results in compliance figures that actually cover all new buildings in China.
Finally, the relationship between the energy savings of new buildings per increased floor area per year and compliance rates in the construction stage is analysed. Based on the data released by the MOHURD, the energy savings of new buildings per increased floor area per year increased from 20.4 kWh/m2 to 28.4 kWh/m2 along with compliance rates in the construction stage, which increased from 71% to 100%.