Summary of an Interview with Zhang Yue of the Broad Group

The Campus of the Broad Group

Zhang Yue is the founder, chairman, and chief executive of Broad. Broad has assembled a 15 story build in six days and has designed a 666 meter tall skyscraper that it plans to assemble in 4 months.

Broad is clearly thriving, and chairman Zhang is said to have a personal fortune of $850 million – enough to rank him 216th according to a 2010 survey of China’s wealthiest people.

Broad’s air conditioners are twice as energy efficient as conventional electric chillers of comparable size, and their CO2 emissions are four times lower.

Broad sustainable buildings are energy efficient – with CO2 savings on the order of 300 kg per square meter from materials, and automation of the production process. In 2010, Broad began building a factory for sustainable buildings which should be able to produce 10 million square meters of sustainable buildings.

* 1.33-million-sq meter “NO.1 Sustainable Building Factory” broke ground, yearly sustainable building manufacturing capacity at around 10 million aquare meters.

* Successfully developed super-size “ Heat Recovery Fresh Air Unit”, realizing 99.9% air purification efficiency, ensuring abundant fresh air supply and high efficiency heat recovery.

Some 25% of China’s energy use comes from the building sector.

Filtered Air in Broad Buildings

Zhang produces a machine that measures particulates in the air. Inside his office, with an air filter and closed windows, the machine registers low levels (but not zero) for particulates of all sizes. He then opens the window and asks me to hold the machine outside. Immediately the numbers begin climbing rapidly. Larger sizes of pollutants (0.5, 1.0 μm) increase by an average of 500-fold. More disturbingly, the smallest size pollutant measured, 0.3 μm, jumps from a reading of just above 5,000 indoors to more than 428,000 outdoors – a more than 800-fold increase. The smaller the particle, the more dangerous it is to human health.

Zhang explains that Germany’s outdoor particulates at the 0.3 μm level would be only two to six times the reading in his filtered office – not 800 times. The vast majority of this air pollution, he says, comes from power plants, steel production, and cars. And Changsha is not the worst of it, I ask? “Changsha’s pollution,” he says, “is around the middle level of cities in China – better than Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, or Chengdu.”

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