Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province, is the 8th largest municipality in China with a population of over 8 million inhabitants. In 2007, the State Council designated Greater Wuhan as one of the two experimental areas for the implementation of the national reform to build an energy-saving and environmentally friendly society. The urban area is also a study site for the implementation of the cooperation agreement for sustainable urban development, signed between the French Ministry of Ecology and Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD). According to MOHURD, if all urban buildings in China achieved energy saving standards, 335 million tons of oil equivalent (toe) could be saved by 2020. The peak load on the power grid could be reduced by 80 GW, i.e. the capacity of 4½ of the Three Gorges dams running at full capacity.
AFD initially financed a research program to study the large-scale implementation of energy efficiency programs in existing buildings in the center of Wuhan, in partnership with the Construction Commission of Hubei Province and with support from the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME). Following this program, an initial thermal rehabilitation project for municipal buildings was launched in Wuhan.
The project provides for the refit of several buildings (administrative buildings and buildings for public use) owned by Wuhan Municipality. During the first phases, the refit program will concern office buildings and Wuhan Municipal Library. A mechanism for energy performance contracts (EPCs) is included in the project in order to ensure that the initial energy saving targets are achieved. Under EPCs, the company or consortium which conducts the refit works is responsible for achieving a predetermined level of energy or consumption savings in the building. These savings are made throughout the duration of the contract, while ensuring there is a quality of comfort for users.
The project objectives include energy saving and reducing CO2 emissions – thanks to the rehabilitation of public and administrative buildings –, the first loan financing for their energy refit by a foreign donor, and a contribution to the development of the market for energy refit in buildings.
The main objective is to contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the city of Wuhan. The project should reduce annual CO2 emissions by some 15,000 tons. On the basis of buildings audited under the research program and the initial information on the buildings selected, the annual energy saving can be estimated at over 17 million kWh.
This first demonstration project illustrates the high level of mobilization by local and national authorities for thermal rehabilitation programs for buildings. AFD intends to support this dynamic and develop it in the context of operational initiatives.