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A Businesslike Approach
Enterprises balance saving the environment with making profit
By Xu Bei & Jin Zhixiao  ·  2019-12-02  ·   Source: NO.49 DECEMBER 5, 2019
A waste-to-energy plant in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province in east China, on August 19 (XINHUA)
When the UN Climate Change Conference—COP25—opened in Madrid, Spain, on December 2, countries and non-state actors alike were once again called on to address the world's environmental problems with concrete measures.

In China, many companies have long been engaged in saving energy, recycling and making the best of waste.

Yu Honghui, General Manager of the China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group (JIN ZHIXIAO)

Energy-efficient buildings

The sci-tech museum at the Hangzhou Energy and Environment Industrial Park, developed by the China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group (CECEP), in Zhejiang Province, east China, is a prime example of passive-house construction. A passive house, a specially designed building that can retain heat from the sun, lights, the human body and electronic appliances to maintain constant temperature, humidity and oxygen, is an advocated solution to saving energy. The museum, which opened in 2009, saves one fourth energy per square meter with its unique shading system, ventilation, and electricity and water reuse.

However, while passive houses save energy compared to normal buildings, the cost per square meter is 1,000 yuan ($142) higher.

While the high cost is a deterrent in implementing them widely, the government is subsidizing developers to introduce energy-efficient construction.

Also, since a passive house is highly energy saving, the cost of maintenance is lower, Liu Ming, an executive with the China Construction Eighth Engineering Division, said.

In 2014, 11 passive house projects were launched in Shandong Province in east China with the provincial government providing as much as 60 million yuan ($8.5 million) in subsidies.

"Passive houses are emerging in China as developers become optimistic. As more domestically developed building materials enter the market, the price of passive houses will go down," Liu said.

Ahead of COP25, China published the Report on China's Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change 2019, detailing its work in addressing climate challenges in 2018, including policies and measures. It was the 11th consecutive report since 2009.

An exhibition hall at the China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group headquarters in Beijing showcases the company's technologies (JIN ZHIXIAO)

Waste to resources

Domestic waste is another growing environmental issue as China's urbanization deepens. More than 150 million tons of household waste is produced in cities per year and the volume is increasing by 8 to 10 percent year on year. The value of wasted resources is nearly 25-30 billion yuan ($3.5-4.2 billion).

Linyi is the most populous city in Shandong. Its downtown area alone produces about 3,100 tons of domestic waste a day, along with sewage, livestock carcasses and sludge.

In 2006, the CECEP undertook the work of dealing with the city's domestic waste. The Linyi Ecology Recycle Industrial Park was established to deal with all kinds of waste. It burns the combustible waste to generate power. Solid waste that can be recycled is reused as well as by-products generated by chemical or physical reactions.

From the garbage, the park provides steam to 141 factories nearby and supplies heating and electricity to the city.

"It's a decent way to address waste, which is also a symbol of civilization," CECEP General Manager Yu Honghui told Beijing Review in a recent interview.

Leading enterprises like state-owned CECEP have cutting-edge technologies, operational expertise and a long-term vision to plan and invest. So they can create public benefits and meet economic interests, which makes environmental protection more sustainable.

"State-owned enterprises undertake political, economic, social and environmental responsibilities. It's our mission to be actively involved in energy conservation and environmental protection," Yu said. "When you are witnessing waste turning into valuable resources, you know you are doing good. Both the company and the country will win respect and gain more opportunities."

Copyedited by Sudeshna Sarkar

Comments to yanwei@bjreview.com

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