Wuhan’s clean energy research center was built with a goal to emit zero carbon emissions, while the researchers inside focus on developing innovative wind and solar technologies.

The Challenge

In recent years, China’s building sector has been characterized by rapid new construction and demolition of older buildings. A key challenge is therefore to ensure that new buildings reduce energy use and optimize resources. The Wuhan New Energy Research Institute is a prime example of engineering and design excellence that can reduce CO2 emissions and serve as a model to other new construction in Wuhan and cites throughout China.

The Solution

In 2011, Wuhan initiated construction on one of the largest green buildings in China. Covering 68,480 m2, the Wuhan New Energy Research Institute is a home to forward-thinking research focused on developing wind, solar, and clean energy knowledge and technologies. Aiming to be a landmark of science and technology, the building has been constructed according to BREEAM and “China Green 3-star” standards. The innovative design of the building takes into account the power of nature, forming the shape of a lily, and using this shape to reduce energy use and optimize the use of natural resources. The roof of the main tower, which resembles the flower, is covered with solar panels. The tower, or “stem,” beneath the flower falls within its shadow, reducing the need for additional heating and cooling, while consuming no fossil fuels and emitting no CO2. Furthermore, a wind turbine at the center of the structure produces 480,000 kWh of energy for the building. While this research institute, housed on 11 hectares of land, emitted only 2,863 tons of CO2 in 2015, it aims to be emissions-free in the coming years.

Environmental Benefits – The research center’s innovative design features provide natural light and shading, which reduces the need for artificial lighting and air conditioning.

Economic Benefits – The building will save 530,000 kWh of electricity and 4,800 tons of water annually, which will yield financial savings for the building owner.

Health Benefits – A natural ventilation system in the building controls the cleanliness and flow rate of air, improving comfort and indoor air quality.

About Cities100

In its second year, Cities100 – presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation. For the first time, this year’s publication features solutions that address the nexus of climate change and social equity.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2016 publication online here and read more about how may­ors will de­liver the aims of the Paris Agree­ment in a fore­ward by Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair and Mayor of Paris, here.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Health
Key Impact
15% reduction in the building's CO2 emissions between 2014 and 2015.
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