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The Key Market Drivers for China's Better Built Environment


In May, I had the privilege and pleasure to travel to China with USGBC's Mahesh Ramanujam and International WELL Building Institute's Paul Scialla to promote LEED and WELL as key market drivers for China's built environment. Both Mahesh and Paul were greatly excited by the enthusiasm of the leaders in China using LEED and now looking to incorporate WELL into their built environment. Building and human performance is very much alive in China.

What is WELL?

The WELL Building Standard® is an evidence-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring the performance of building features that impact health and wellbeing.

WELL is administered by the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI), a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and wellbeing through the built environment. The WELL Building Standard® is third-party certified by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which administers the LEED certification program and the LEED professional credentialing program.

What is LEED?

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for their project. Still curious about what LEED is or why you should use it? Learn more in the LEED digital marketing brochure.

The following are some reflections Mahesh and Paul had about the trip. Here are some photos, too.  

Reflections from Mahesh Ramanujam and Paul Scialla

One of our favorite sustainable building slogans is Shimizu Corporation's, Today's Work, Tomorrow's Heritage. After a two-week, six-city visit to China this May, and many meetings with companies and people deeply committed to such an adage, we are happy to add another favorite tagline to our roster, that of Greenland in China: Create Better Life.

To "Create Better Life" is also to leave a heritage. And heritage has powerful meaning – something bestowed to our children, passed down by tradition.

Buildings and communities are a vital part of the heritage of any civilization.

A building lives longer than us. One hundred years? Two hundred years? A thousand years? From that perspective, USGBC is committed to leaving a heritage of healthy, green structures for all. It is essential, for the wellbeing of our nations and our planet, that we get this right.

LEED, Three Star or WELL, it does not matter which green building rating system is used, it is all about the quality and the sustainability—it is about heritage. 

USGBC and IWBI met with many companies in China, all of them doing extraordinary things to create a better life for China and the world around them.

Many of the companies, including the sponsors of our green building executive forums (Kawneer, Butler, CBRE, Wanda Group and China Merchants Bank) are all deeply focused on quality construction with building and human performance at the top of their minds, LEED and WELL being key tools.

We also met with and engaged over 1,000 green building leaders through our forums in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macau. We are grateful for their work. We are happy they were there continuing to fight the good fight and demonstrating their commitments to building holistically, with quality and scale in mind. They want to move towards a world where instead of saying "green building" we say, "every building is a green building."

Every story about a green building is a story about people and the creation of a better life and heritage for us to pass on from generation to generation.

By Joseph Crea Director, International Marketing and Communications. Additional material added from WELL and LEED websites by David Thorpe.

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