Germans pledge to help Chinese reach green goals.

In front of the Beijing Fine & Clean Energy Technology Co. booth at ISH China. Photo by Bob Miodonski

The Chinese government has stated strong goals to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources in the nation's heating and cooling systems. So said Klaus Jesse, chairman of the Federal Industrial Association of Germany House, Energy and Environmental Technology, during his opening remarks April 4 at ISH China and CIHE trade show in Beijing. Let's hope he's correct.

I recall during my first trip to China in 2008 seeing a number of English-language billboards conveying a green message to passing motorists. This occurred just a month or so before the Beijing Olympics.

I I had traveled to China then as a member of a trade mission with the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association. At one point during the trip, CTDA members met with our Chinese hosts in the tile business in a U.N.-style meeting complete with headphones that provided translations of our questions and answers.

When one of the Americans asked about green initiatives in China's building products, I remember seeing the looks of curiosity on the faces of our hosts. They asked him to explain what he meant by "green buildings" and appeared eager to learn more about the subject. What seemed clear was that the green messages on the billboards had not filtered down to the Chinese businesspeople in the room.

I Almost four years later in Beijing, the green messages had moved indoors at the new International Exhibition Center. Many of the heating and plumbing booths at the second joint ISH China and CIHE carried green messages on signs in English and, presumably, Chinese.

In a reception hosted by the German and Chinese producers of the show, Jesse told Chinese construction industry VIPs and members of the media that Germany would be happy to share its long experience with green building technology to help the Chinese meet their goals for energy efficiency and renewable energy. A number of Germans presented reports April 5 during a day-long Sino European Congress, which addressed Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energies in Buildings.

Speakers gave their reports in either English or Chinese. Gunther Mertz, managing director of the Association of Air Conditioning and Ventilation in Buildings, a German group, presented "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energies in Air-Conditioning and Ventilation Systems." I attended this session partly because I had met Gunther last year when he visited the BNP Media booth at the AHR Expo in Las Vegas.

Although he spoke in English in Beijing, his content was highly technical. So, I gleaned about as much from his talk as I did from the presentations in Chinese. Here's hoping, though, that the Chinese got his message and those of the other presenters.

On an extremely nontechnical level, I did observe the skies over Beijing were bluer this time than they were four years ago. I will take this as a sign of progress.

On the other hand, the Chinese still may have a ways to go. When I remarked on the blue skies to a tour guide, he told me the Chinese government had relocated some of the heaviest polluting factories away from Beijing and other big cities.

If true, this is roughly equivalent to Kohler Co. relocating its factory outside Sheboygan, Wis., so that emissions from its smokestacks would fall on unpopulated areas. The big difference is that Kohler Co. made this move in 1900.

If the Chinese government is serious about achieving its strong goals in China's mechanical systems, it should accept the assistance of Germans, Americans and anyone else willing to help. China and the rest of the world stand to benefit.

Check out Bob’s first day at ISH China and CIHE here.