Taiwan and Germany Exchange Ideas and Experience on Low Carbon Cities

On the 12 and 14 of March, 2013, the EPA held the “Taiwan-Germany Low Carbon City Forum” in Taipei City and Tainan City, respectively, to explore the ways in which low-carbon buildings can be used to increase energy efficiency. These two forums were designed to promote the exchange of experience between Taiwan's local governments and Germany, and to implement the cities' carbon reduction strategies and execution measures.

Since 2011, the German Institute in Taiwan and the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy have cooperated to launch activities pertaining to the construction of low-carbon sustainable cities.

The Taiwan-Germany Forum of 2013 marked the second time that the two sides have cooperated. For this year's Forum, Mr. Michael Schafer, Berlin City Councilman and Energy Policy Spokesman for the Green Party of Germany, was specially invited along with Professor Manfred Hegger of the Department of Architecture (Energy Efficient Architectural Design Unit) of the Darmstadt University of Technology to speak on “The role that architecture plays in the future of a city – construction policy and energy conversion” and “Technical applications of high-rise and low carbon buildings: Energy + buildings' energy efficiency and production.” In addition, Mr. Ming-Chin Ho, Director of the Architecture and Building Research Institute of the Ministry of the Interior, attended to give briefings on the current status and future prospects for green buildings in Taiwan, while representatives from the city governments of Taipei and Tainan presented cases of low carbon building development at the local government level.

By the EPA's estimation, in the year 2011, Taiwan's total electricity consumption was 223,002 gigawatt hours, of which the service and residential sectors accounted for 91,297 gigawatt hours, or roughly 40.1%. Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions, which account for 26.1% of Taiwan's total emissions, are directly related to people's daily choices and are the target of the EPA's carbon-reduction measures. By comparison, energy consumption of buildings accounts for 40% of total energy consumption in Germany. Germany's energy-saving measures include: gradually tightening building energy efficiency standards and regulations; providing loans to encourage the renovation of old buildings; establishing dedicated training institutions; holding practical training and tests for the installation and maintenance Taiwan and Germany Exchange Ideas and Experience on Low Carbon Cities On the 12 and 14 of March, 2013, the EPA held the “Taiwan-Germany Low Carbon City Forum” in Taipei City and Tainan City, respectively, to explore the ways in which low-carbon buildings can be used to increase energy efficiency. These two forums were designed to promote the exchange of experience between Taiwan's local governments and Germany, and to implement the cities' carbon reduction strategies and execution measures. of rooftop solar panels, freezers, hot boilers, thermal storage facilities, and small thermoelectric symbiotic systems. In addition, steps were taken in Germany to establish a certification system to implement energy-saving measures, while setting zero-carbon criteria for public buildings in 2018 and new buildings in 2020. Many years of experience have been amassed in Germany promoting the construction of low-carbon cities. Aside from improving the energy utilization rate and continuing to expand the application of solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources (such as hydrogen fuel), Germany also makes good use of smart grids, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and has achieved concrete results in energy efficiency and the mitigation and adaptation for climate change.

Taiwan is a breed apart from Germany in terms of climate environments and geographical conditions. The difference in energy demands leads to different energy-saving measures, which need to suit local conditions. The EPA stressed that emphasis on public and private sector cooperation, utilization of renewable energy, and using energy-saving equipment to improve building energy consumption are still the common criteria for both nations. According to a research report issued by Charles McKenzie Associates, up to the year 2030, the cost for global carbon reduction technology will be the lowest in the residential/commercial sector. Hence, through this forum, the EPA hopes that Taiwan can learn from Germany's experiences in the development of low-carbon intelligent buildings, and couple this with its domestic advantages in green energy industries to construct good quality, low-carbon sustainable cities of Taiwan's own.