Green building assessment systems have been developed in various countries with different emphases. Based on the different development situations, the contents of each evaluation systems are vary.
The first prominent green building assessment system was published in 1990 by BRE (Building Research Establishment) in the UK. BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environment Assessment Method) became the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings and communities. Inspired by BREEAM, different versions of green building assessment methods have been launched by research organizations in different countries. HKBEAM was introduced to Hong Kong in 1996 and is an environmental performance-based assessment scheme purpose designed for high-rise buildings. The certification scheme is completely voluntary and is owned by the HK-BEAM Society, a nonprofit making organization consisting of industry professionals (Chu 2004). The United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) (established in 1993)
Cities contribute an estimated 70% of the world’s energy-related Greenhouse Gases (GHG). With the rapid urbanization in China, huge stresses have been added onto all forms of public services provision, such as systems for energy, water use, transport and waste. In the 12th Five-Year Plan for 2011-2015, many Chinese cities are already committed to a high carbon-emission growth path. The World Bank estimated that about half of the world’s new building constructions have taken place in China in the years leading up to 2015 (Baeumler et al. 2012). In response to the emerging focus on environmentally sustainable growth, many cities are already developing eco-city and low-carbon city initiatives. At the beginning of 1990s, gradual development of the real estate market efficiently and effectively boosted China’s economy, and also led to rapid development of the housing industry. Under the influence of the commodity economy, Chinese housing became a commercial product that encouraged cutting-edge technology and design theory with an emphasis on market competition. A number of housing projects which were designed with “green” concepts have appeared. Constructing green house or low-carbon dwellings has become a popular trend in much housing design practice, and estate developments with green styled names have been developed.