Low Carbon Eco-City Development


The China Energy Group is working with Chinese stakeholders to help provide capacity building and technical assistance on the planning and implementation of low-carbon eco-city development. In recognition of the important impact of cities as the centers of population, industry, transport, and infrastructure on energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions and in light of China’s rapid urbanization, low carbon urban development has become an increasingly important policy area in China. In addition to eco-city programs established by ministries in the central government and local governments, China’s National Development and Reform Commission launched a low carbon development pilot program in July of 2010, with the selection of 8 low carbon pilot cities and 5 low carbon provinces.

Since low carbon development is relatively new area in China, the China Energy Group has undertaken a number of projects to develop and introduce resources and tools to local Chinese policymakers to strengthen their capacity in this area. Building on studies of international and Chinese experiences and best practices, we have developed resources including guidebooks, adaptable guidelines, and simplified strategies to help inform and guide city governments on potential policy options and strategies for effective low carbon development. The China Energy Group has also developed and tested a low carbon indicator system and an “ELITE-Cities” tool to help cities measure progress towards becoming a low carbon eco-city, benchmarking their performance against other cities. We have created two modeling tools (GREAT and Urban RAM) to help local policymakers evaluate potential low carbon emission pathways at a city-level and assess the city’s energy and carbon footprints with limited data availability. More recently, the Benchmarking and Energy Saving Tool for Low Carbon Cities (BEST- Cities) tool was developed by the group to benchmark cities against 33 key performance indicators with international comparison values and to provide more than 70 policy or program recommendations that the cities can adopt. The China Energy Group has introduced our low-carbon eco-city development resource guides and provided training on our various tools to government officials, urban planners, and researchers throughout central, provincial, and city governments.

Research Lead(s)



He, Gang, Nan Zhou, Lixuan Hong, David Fridley, and Yong Zhou. Is Your City Really Sustainable? A Tale of Jinan City Using Quantitative Low- Carbon Eco-city Tools In 2014 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Building. Pacific Grove, CA: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 2014.


He, Gang, Nan Zhou, Christopher Williams, and David Fridley. ELITE Cities: A low-carbon Eco-city Evaluation Tool for China In ECEEE 2013 Summer Study. European Council for Energy Efficient Economy, 2013.