Young Chinese entrepreneurs visit one of world's greenest buildings on US tour

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6 March 2014

BEIJING: As part of an innovative new program that provides training for future leaders of China's low carbon economy, 10 young entrepreneurs visited the US last month where they toured one of the world's most energy efficient buildings, One Bryant Park, in NYC.

The delegation of Chinese students took part in the US Energy Trip to meet young American entrepreneurs as well as leading US institutions and non-profits in the sector, in order to get insight on US clean energy and climate change policies and innovations.

The trip is part of The Climate Group’s Youth Lead You Change program which was launched with Rt Hon Tony Blair. The program uses MBA-modeled courses, real case studies and internship opportunities to provide a group of young people with the professional training they need to set up their own green businesses.

Green buildings

Among the destinations, the delegation visited One Bryant Park (also known as The Bank of America Tower), which is one of the most efficient and ecologically friendly buildings in the world. The building was developed by The Durst Organization, of which the Vice President, Helena Durst, led the tour.

One Bryant Park saves millions of gallons of water annually through innovative features such as:

  • gray-water system to capture and reuse all rain and wastewater
  • a green roof which reduces the urban heat island effect of New York City
  • thermal storage system which produces ice in the evenings to reduce the building's peak demand, as it fluctuates power to and from the city's electrical grid
  • energy monitoring systems.

Nannan Wang, a student of SIPA, Columbia University, shared her thoughts on the tour: “Our visit to the Bank of America Tower (One Bryant Park) was amazing. We had heard of this building because it's the first high-rise to achieve LEED Platinum certification in the world. However, the on-spot visit provided us with a unique opportunity to see how the innovative, high-performance environmental technologies are used to promote the health and productivity of tenants, reduce waste and ensure environmental sustainability.

“We were impressed by the designs of indoor environmental quality optimization. The translucent insulating glass in floor-to-ceiling windows permits maximum daylight interior spaces and optimal views; the filtered under-floor air distribution system and floor-by-floor air handling units allow for individual occupant control; the continuous indoor air quality monitoring system automatically adjust the amount of fresh air and density of carbon dioxide. Moreover, we were fascinated that energy can be saved, used, cleaned and recycled in such efficient and sophisticated ways

“This trip fueled our interest in the energy and environment field as well as our determination to change the world to be a better place. We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to The Climate Group for arranging this wonderful trip for us.”

Yan Mi, a young Chinese entrepreneur and one of the ten winners from last year's China Youth Project, organized the trip. He commented: “China faces growing urbanization--according to predictions, nearly 70% of the population will live in urban areas by 2035. Over the next two decades China will build 20,000 to 50,000 new skyscrapers. It is necessary for China to develop more green skyscrapers like One Bryant Park to save more energy and water. While the students have studied the building in college, the first-hand experience will be invaluable as these young leaders launch their own green businesses and seize opportunities to advance the low carbon economy in China and beyond.” 

Future leadership

The Youth Lead platform plans to organize a second US Energy Trip to the West Coast in the summer, while three delegations from around the world will be organized under a China Energy Trip later in the year.

“This program is a major benefit for youth leadership in sustainable energy development,” said Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group. “The US Energy Trip marks a further enhanced communication and dialogue among the youth leaders in China and the US to join hands and minds to tackle climate change and energy security challenges.”

The Climate Group aims to eventually expand Youth Lead outside of China to become a global program.

Related news:

Tony Blair says China's low carbon society will open up new jobs for innovative young people, at youth project launch in Beijing

Young future leaders of China's low carbon economy visit US

Pioneering Chinese climate academy recruits its first 100 students

The Climate Group Beijing launches China youth entrepreneurship program for low carbon leaders of the future

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