China's rapid economic expansion has propelled it into the ranks of the largest energy consuming nation in the world, with energy demand growth continuing at a pace commensurate with its economic growth. Even though the rapid growth is largely attributable to heavy industry, this in turn is driven by rapid urbanization process, by construction materials and equipment produced for use in buildings. Residential energy is mostly used in urban areas, where rising incomes have allowed acquisition of home appliances, as well as increased use of heating in southern China. The urban population is expected to grow by 20 million every year, accompanied by construction of 2 billion square meters of buildings every year through 2020. Thus residential energy use is very likely to continue its very rapid growth. Understanding the underlying drivers of this growth helps to identify the key areas to analyze energy efficiency potential, appropriate policies to reduce energy use, as well as to understand future energy in the building sector.
This paper provides a detailed, bottom-up analysis of residential building energy consumption in China using data from a wide variety of sources and a modeling effort that relies on a very detailed characterization of China's energy demand. It assesses the current energy situation with consideration of end use, intensity, and efficiency etc, and forecast the future outlook for the critical period extending to 2020, based on assumptions of likely patterns of economic activity, availability of energy services, technology improvement and energy intensities.