In an effort to achieve sustainable development and environmental protection in Taiwan, the Architecture and Building Research Institute is promoting the construction of "green" buildings across the nation.
"Green" building refers to the construction of environmentally-friendly buildings designed to conserve energy, reduce operating costs and environmental impact.
The Institute, under the Ministry of the Interior, has been developing technology related to green building material such as the use of recycled materials.
As of April this year, 980 buildings in the country have applied for green building certificates and passed evaluations, according to institute figures.
Chen Po-hsun (陳伯勳), a researcher at the institute, said that the 980 green buildings save approximately 12.9 million tonnes of water per year, or the equivalent of nine Shih-kang Dams (石岡水壩).
Ways to conserve water include dual plumbing to use recycled water for toilet flushing or minimizing water waste by using ultra low-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads, and other water conserving fixtures.
Also, more than 400 older buildings in the country have been remodeled with environmentally-friendly material to protect the environment and conserve energy, Chen said.
Electricity use has been reduced by more than 20 percent in these buildings, he said.
In addition to sustainability, another common goal of green buildings is aesthetic harmony between a structure and the surrounding natural areas, he said.
The institute has promoted green buildings for several years and last year it joined the World Green Building Council an NGO that aims to steer the property industry towards sustainbility, he said.
Taiwan also participated in numerous international conferences to further learn from international experiences and promote the nation's efforts in green building, he added.
The institute hopes to gradually renovate, operate, and construct buildings across the nation till they meet the objectivities of reducing environmental impact as well as protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity by raising air quality indoors, Chen said.
In the US, green building legislation has been passed in several states.