According to the reporting by Chinese news outlets, the “Design Guidelines and Key Points of Evaluation Pertaining to Adoption of Energy Conservation Measures for Civil Buildings in Chengdu” (the “Chengdu guidelines”) came into effect on August 1. On that day, the urban housing authority of Chengdu made the announcement that the measures under the guidelines will be implemented. The guidelines contain a mandate to install PV systems on new public buildings. Individual building projects can adopt one or more types of PV systems. Furthermore, the mandate is applicable for new buildings, expansions, and renovations. To simply put, no PV system, no construction permit.
The Chengdu guidelines were based on a set of national mandatory standards listed in the “General Guidelines for Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Utilization in Buildings” (GB55-15-2021). Additionally, the development of the Chengdu guidelines took account of the region’s climate, industries, and energy supply system. The three main parts of the Chengdu guidelines are (1) the guidelines related to energy-saving designs for residential buildings, (2) the guidelines related to energy-saving designs for public buildings, and (3) the guidelines related to evaluations of energy-saving performances of civil buildings.
According to the Chengdu guidelines, new public buildings must be fitted with PV systems. One or more types of PV systems can be deployed depending on the project or the actual conditions. However, several requirements have to be met. For the installation of rooftop PV systems, at least 30% of the roof surface area of a building must be allocated for the deployment of PV systems. For the utilization of solar water heaters, at least 30% of the daily consumption of heated water must come from a solar water heater. And for the utilization of solar heaters, at least 25% of a building’s heating demand must be met by a solar heater.
Regarding the adoption of distributed generation PV for new public buildings, other types of solutions must be made available if there is insufficient rooftop surface area or there are conditions that prevent the 30% area allotment. Examples include ground-mounted PV systems, PV systems that can be clad on walls, etc.
The Chengdu guidelines also specify that PV systems on civil buildings must be connected to a city-wide energy consumption monitoring system. Meters for measuring water consumption, electricity consumption, natural gas consumption, and renewable energy generation must be installed in new building projects, renovation projects, or expansion projects that take up 20,000 or more square meters. New civic buildings that feature EV charging piles must also have a system that monitors the energy consumption of charging piles installed.
The above mandates are applicable for not only standalone buildings but also multiple buildings contained within the boundaries of properties that have a surface area of 20,000 square meters. Civic buildings encompass residential buildings, office buildings, tourism-related facilities, education-related facilities, communication infrastructure, and transportation infrastructure.
Regarding the adoption of solar canopies, the Chengdu guidelines permit outside solar canopies, retractable solar canopies, and fixed solar canopies. The selection of one of these solutions depends on the actual conditions. All in all, the amount of PV generation capacity installed must be enough to meet the specific quantitative requirements pertaining to energy savings (e.g., solar heat gain coefficient). However, requirements listed in the guidelines vary with respect to season (summer vs. winter), and orientation of the building.
The Chengdu guidelines also propose the collection of data related to the use of energy-saving building materials so as to ensure a more comprehensive evaluation of the amount of emissions that a building can produce during its lifecycle. In addition to this proposal, a template for analyzing carbon emissions from buildings has also been attached to the guidelines.