Chinese housing and urban development officials are meeting with their B.C. counterparts in Vancouver this week to discuss how B.C. wood-frame construction can help solve China's housing and building needs, Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell announced today.
Through a joint working committee, B.C. will share its expertise in wood-frame building design, advanced wood technologies and the environmental benefits of building with wood, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency.
China is interested in expanding wood-frame construction to meet its national goals of reducing carbon emissions in new housing projects through greater energy efficiency and more use of sustainable building materials, such as wood.
Reflecting the importance of this relationship to China, Qiu Bao Xing, Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, is attending the meeting. This is his first visit to Canada.
China is now B.C.'s second-largest foreign market for wood products after the United States. In the first two months of 2011, China accounted for more than 28 per cent of all wood exports, continuing the pattern of sales doubling every year.
For the past five years, B.C. and the provincial forest sector, with the support of the Canadian government, have been aggressively marketing B.C. wood products to China. Activities have included demonstration buildings, trade missions, technology transfer and training, and the Canada-B.C. Wenchuan Earthquake Reconstruction Projects to help rebuild public facilities destroyed in the May 2008 earthquake.
To demonstrate the benefits of wood-frame construction in China, B.C. and Canada are currently co-sponsoring construction of two apartment buildings in Tianjin, one of China's leading regions for green building and economic development. The project is designed to show Chinese officials how Canadian building technology can be applied to meet China's targets for energy-efficient building construction with a low carbon footprint. The buildings are expected to open in the fall.
Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation -
"China is increasingly recognizing the benefits of building with wood and the value of sourcing their wood from British Columbia. Through collaborative efforts like this joint working committee, we are creating a win-win situation. China is able to expand its use of energy-efficient wood-frame building, while B.C. is establishing an important fast-growing market for our forestry companies on the coast and throughout the interior of the province."
* The joint working committee is co-sponsored by the Canadian and B.C. governments and the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD).
* The first meeting of the committee was held in November 2010 in Beijing.
* Chinese officials attending the Vancouver meeting are senior MOHURD representatives in charge of building codes, fire safety and building energy efficiency, as well as representatives from design institutions.
* MOHURD is a department of the Chinese national government with responsibilities including urban planning and construction, the building industry, municipal works and the housing sector.
* The Tianjin apartment project will be the first four-storey wood-frame buildings in China.
* The working group committee agenda includes tours of the Richmond Olympic Oval, the REMY project in Richmond - where the first six-storey wood-frame building in B.C. is under construction - and presentations on Canadian forest practices, green building, and wood use in large buildings and the non-residential sector.
* Previously, China allowed wood-frame buildings of only three storeys or less. As in B.C. where changes to the building code now allow six-storey wood-frame buildings, China is considering the use of wood-frame construction for taller and larger building projects.
* The walk-up apartment sector in China represents a large potential market breakthrough for B.C. China builds about seven million walk-up apartment units a year and has set a national goal to build 10 million affordable housing units this year.
* Wood is gaining recognition as a green building material because it is the only major building material that is renewable, sustainable, climate-friendly, lightweight, strong and cost-effective.
* Wood products require less energy to produce than concrete or steel, giving wood-frame construction a lower carbon footprint than other building systems.
* In the first two months of 2011, China imported 907,000 cubic metres of wood products from B.C., compared with 471,000 in the first two months of 2010. Total B.C. wood exports to all markets in January and February were 3.2 million cubic metres, up about six per cent from 2010 levels.
About Forestry Innovation Investment at: http://www.bcfii.ca/
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
250 888-3545 (cell)
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect