15 days. That’s all it took to build this 30-story, pre-fabricated hotel in the Southeastern Chinese city of Changsha. The speed of construction has left many astonished.
Built among dirt roads and dilapidated buildings, the hotel is a symbol of the development boom that has shifted 400 million Chinese into the urban environment — causing emissions to skyrocket in the process.
Typically, a prefabricated building will reduce construction time by about one-third to one-half. Construction time for this hotel was cut by up to two-thirds.
Johathan Kaiman of the LA Times wrote a fascinating piece last week on how the building came together and what it says about China’s construction industry:
“This is the tallest building in this county, and it’s also the fastest-built,” said Rong Shengli, one of the building’s planners, looking over the rural sprawl from a helicopter pad on the hotel’s roof. “Next we’re going to build a 50-story building. Then a 100-story one, then a 150-story one. And they’re all going to go up fast.”
Zhou Weidong, a vice president at Broad Sustainable Building, said the company was developing as quickly as its home country. Looking out the window of a company Buick, he noted that the squat concrete homes, convenience stores and auto repair shops lining the newly paved road between the headquarters of Broad Sustainable Building and central Changsha were at most a year old.
“Three years later, if you come back here, this will be a city,” he said. “That’s China. It changes overnight.”
Indeed, it is mostly construction activity — not just electricity — that is causing China’s greenhouse gas emissions to skyrocket. Last September, researchers writing in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal calculated that cement, iron and steel accounted for 46% of China’s carbon emissions growth, while electricity generation accounted for about 30% of growth.