Martha VanGeem enjoys her role as an authority on sustainable building.

“China has a growing middle class, so you'll see buildings with air conditioner after air conditioner in the windows,” VanGeem says. “It's a big drain on energy, but the weather is very hot so they deserve the comfort. They also build buildings that are the size of a huge city block. There are massive structures in Beijing. China approaches problems on a scale we don't see. They landscape to reduce the heat island effect. They've decided that heat pumps work, so they use them in many of their buildings.”

But they are not interested in LEED or green building. “They just want to tackle all of their building and energy problems,” she says.

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