NEWS RELEASE · 15th May 2010
Office of the Premier
The start of the final phase of a 500-home development in Shanghai shows that wood-frame housing is a viable and growing market in China, Premier Gordon Campbell said today as he promoted B.C. wood during an international trade mission.
"The construction of these units by one of China's premier housing developers sends a strong message that wood frame construction is good choice from all vantage points," said Premier Campbell. "Chinese authorities and home buyers are increasingly seeing the many benefits of building their homes from renewable, sustainable wood products from B.C."
Premier Campbell was attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the seventh, and final, phase of the Jinqiao Green Villas project in the Jinqiao District of Pudong, a suburb of three million people situated in eastern Shanghai. The homes are being constructed entirely from a wood-frame design similar to that used in B.C. When construction on Phase 7 is completed, the 500 wood- frame homes in the Jinqiao project will represent a reduction of more than 7,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide that would otherwise have entered the atmosphere. This is the equivalent of removing 1,200 cars from the road for one year.
Premier Campbell also met with senior officials from the Shanghai Housing Bureau, the Shanghai Science & Technology Commission and the government of Pudong to promote the use of wood in construction. In the past six months Shanghai has introduced the first comprehensive building code in China for wood-frame construction and signed an agreement for wood-frame demonstration buildings in the city's huge Affordable Housing Program.
B.C. and industry trade associations have been jointly marketing wood products and technology in China together for the past seven years. China is now B.C.'s largest offshore market for wood by volume as well as the fastest growing. B.C. wood sales to China doubled in 2009 from 2008 to $327 million. An estimated 300 million Chinese, the equivalent of the entire population of the United States, are expected to move from rural areas into cities in the next 20 years, creating a massive potential market for B.C. wood products.
Chinese developers, architects and building officials are beginning to recognize that wood-frame construction is energy-efficient, resistant to earthquakes, and requires far less energy to manufacture than concrete or steel. Every tonne of wood material used in construction saves about 5.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. The Chinese government is placing a high priority on reducing carbon emissions and considers new building systems, like advanced wood-frame construction, as an important means to this end.
Campbell is in Shanghai while participating in a joint Premiers' mission to China and Japan with the Premier's of Alberta and Saskatchewan.