British Columbia forestry sector delivers green message to China
Pat Bell, BC's Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, is leading a 39-strong delegation of top officials, largely from the forestry industry, which is in Beijing to promote the green benefits of building with wood. The visit coincides with the Green Building China show at the entrance of which the BC government is erecting a three-story, three units per floor apartment building built in three days to demonstrate the benefits of using pre-fabricated components in low-rise apartments.
Bell and Qiu Baoxing, China's Vice Minister of Housing and Urban Rural Development, the organizer of the show, will drive the last nails in the "Green Home Canada" structure at a ceremony Monday.
"Vice Minister Qiu and I believe there is a huge opportunity to move into the model of construction that would include factory- style activities. The notion of actually having these modular units built in factories, transported out to the site and assembled on site is very attractive in terms of reducing emissions, in terms of reducing waste and providing for a higher quality of product," said Bell.
The demonstration apartment is costing about CND200,000 (USD204,660) to build and erect. Bell said BC currently has 52 staff in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou working directly with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development on the wood frame housing strategy.
"We do believe that the key opportunity is in the modular style of construction. We're hopeful through this demonstration project we'll be able to move forward on other projects on a commercial basis that will allow us to help support the objective that the Chinese government has articulated in their Five-year plan," he said.
"Reducing the carbon footprint is a high priority item in the Five-year plan and wood frame construction is clearly one of the elements they've identified as helping them accomplish that goal."
According to the most recent figures, BC shipped 390,000 cubic meters of lumber to China in January, more than double the volume sold in the same month in 2010 when 192,000 cubic meters were sold.
Last year, China surpassed Japan to become BC's second biggest overseas market for softwood lumber exports, behind the United States. The province shipped about 4.6 million cubic meters of softwood lumber products to China in 2010, an increase of 76 percent over the year previous. The exports were valued at about CND687 million, more than double the CND328 million of wood products shipped to China in 2009.
Bell forecast 2011 would again be another big year for softwood lumber exports to China where the province "could easily see another growth year of 60 or 70 percent."