As rapid growth in the construction industry continues to occur in China, the increased demand for a higher standard living is driving significant growth in energy use and demand across the country. Building codes and standards have been implemented to head off this trend, tightening prescriptive requirements for fenestration component measures using methods similar to the U.S. model energy code American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1. The objective of this study is to (a) provide an overview of applicable code requirements and current efforts within China to enable characterization and comparison of window and shading products, and (b) quantify the load reduction and energy savings potential of several key advanced window and shading systems, given the divergent views on how space conditioning requirements will be met in the future. System-level heating and cooling loads and energy use performance were evaluated for a code-compliant large office building using the EnergyPlus building energy simulation program. Commercially-available, highly-insulating, low-emittance windows were found to produce 24%–66% lower perimeter zone HVAC electricity use compared to the mandated energy-efficiency standard in force (GB 50189-2005) in cold climates like Beijing. Low-e windows with operable exterior shading produced up to 30%–80% reductions in perimeter zone HVAC electricity use in Beijing and 18%–38% reductions in Shanghai compared to the standard. The economic context of China is unique since the cost of labor and materials for the building industry is so low. Broad deployment of these commercially available technologies with the proper supporting infrastructure for design, specification, and verification in the field would enable significant reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the near term.
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