Discussion paper

Increasing residential building energy efficiency in China: An evaluation of policy instruments

14 Apr 2016

Various policies targeting at building energy efficiency have been promulgated by the Chinese government in the past decade. However, few studies evaluate if China is on the right path to meet its energy goals through these policies by providing an assessment of their effect in reducing energy consumption in residential buildings or the feasibility of such policies to catalyze these reductions. This paper attempts to fill this gap by systematically quantifying (1) the energy savings catalyzed by existing policy instruments; (2) the additional energy savings that could be realized by strengthening these policies; and (3) the relative advantages of each policy. Results show that each instrument has different advantages, but collectively they are able to exert significant impact on China’s future building energy outlook. A continuation of current policies is likely to reduce energy use in the urban residential sector by 9.7%-14.6% over the next ten years and an enhancement of them might reduce energy use by 15.8%- 24.9%. The method applied in this paper for comparing building energy policies is adaptable for international use, and that the relative strengths of each policy instrument can serve as a rough approximation for countries with a similar building efficiency and institutional context.