The highest carbon dioxide mitigation and energy-saving potential can occur in existing buildings, Association of the European Heating Industry secretary general Andrea Lucke said at the Sino European Congress at ISH China & CIHE 2011 in Beijing.
Simultaneously, about a third of the energy expended in China and Europe is lost in heating and hot water generation, together with the cooling of buildings. This is more than the entire transportation sector in this region.
However, for the green potential of existing buildings to be tapped, "the quality of the building shell will need to be improved through the application of modern systems engineering," said Lucke.
"Plant engineering modernisation offers an especially favourable cost-benefit ratio. If outdated boilers are replaced, and modern gas and oil fuel value-engineered technology is used, the payback is within six years.
"With more efficient performance in apartment buildings, offices and other properties, payback periods of two to three years can be achieved." This will reduce fossil energy demand and help the environment, which are critical to sustainable development, said Wen Zuoxiang, director of the technical committee of the China District Heating Association.
The inaugural China International Trade Fair for Heating, Sanitation and Air-Con, from 3 to 5 March at the China International Exhibition Centre in Beijing, is the biggest evenbt of its kind in Asia, attracting 700 exhibitors from 19 countries.