China has undergone rapid development and seen tremendous economic growth in the past decade, but behind the country’s urbanization is increasing demand for scarce energy resources. This is forcing the power-thirsty country to rethink how energy is consumed and managed.

China is currently the top electricity user in the world and its rate of consumption is speeding up. According to official data, electricity consumption rose by 6.6% in 2017, faster than the 5% increase in 2016World Resources Institute estimates that as Chinese cities continue to develop, energy used by buildings will increase by as much as 40% in the next 15 years.

Globally, buildings use up about 70% of electricity and waste 60% of it—around $100 billion of electricity loss each year. That is a staggering amount of energy wasted through outdated and inefficient appliances and broken equipment. Not only a massive cost in financial terms, the environment is also paying a high price. According to China’s National Development and Reform Council (NDRC), more than 70% of China’s carbon emissions come from cities, and nearly one-third of that comes from powering the buildings sector.

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Nicole Jao

Nicole Jao is a reporter based in Beijing. She’s passionate about emerging trends, news, and stories of human interest within the world of technology. Connect with her on Twitter or via email: nicole.jao.iting@gmail.com.