US and China to create clean energy research centre

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The US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been chosen to lead a consortium for a US-China Clean Energy Research Center on Building Energy Efficiency.

According to a statement, the centre will develop technologies for low-energy residential and commercial buildings, as well as work on commercialisation of those technologies and research how human behaviour affects building energy use.

The Clean Energy Resource Center (CERC) will receive $12.5m (£7.8m) over five years. The funding will be matched by consortium partners to provide at least $25m in total US funding. Chinese counterparts will contribute an additional $25m.

‘The US-China Clean Energy Research Center will help to save energy and cut costs in buildings in both the US and China,’ said David Sandalow, assistant secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs. ‘This new partnership will also create new export opportunities for American companies, ensure the US remains at the forefront of technology innovation and help to reduce global carbon pollution.’

Studies have concluded that significant energy savings are possible through more energy-efficient buildings; savings on the order of 40 per cent for existing buildings and 60 to 70 per cent for new buildings.

The need is especially acute in China, which has experienced rapid urban growth. The pace is expected to continue for the next several decades as urbanisation continues, meaning China will be building new homes, roads and infrastructure for hundreds of millions of rural-dwellers moving to the cities over the next 40 years or more.

‘Energy efficiency in buildings has the greatest potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the next two decades of any energy sector,’ said Mark Levine, Berkeley Lab scientist and leader of the consortium. ‘This collaboration between China and the US can lead the way in demonstrating the great opportunities for and benefits of co-operation between nations in addressing greenhouse gas emissions.’