Unlocking the green opportunity for prefabricated buildings and construction in China

Yuan Chang*, Xiaodong Li, Eric Masanet, Lixiao Zhang, Zhiye Huang, Robert Ries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

76 Scopus citations


The energy and environmental footprints associated with buildings are significant. Worldwide, buildings and construction account for over one-third of the final energy use, and China leads the world in total building floor area. China is experiencing rapid urbanization, which has, and will continue, to yield strong demand for buildings, exerting substantial resource and environmental pressures on the country. The Chinese government is strongly promoting building prefabrication, which primarily relies on the in-plant manufacturing and job site assembly of building components. Prefabrication changes the conventional execution of building design and construction. However, can building prefabrication move China's construction industry in a more sustainable direction and further advance the country's green urbanization agenda? To answer this question, this study (i) reviews the driving force for the green transformation of the construction industry, (ii) analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of building prefabrication in China from the perspectives of productivity and resource and environmental sustainability, and (iii) identifies the green opportunities across the supply chain of prefabricated buildings and sheds light on the major strategies that can enable the robust policy- and decision-making of government authorities, prefabricated product manufacturers, and contractors to reap the green benefits of the prefabricated building initiative in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-261
Number of pages3
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • China
  • Green opportunity
  • Prefabricated building and construction
  • Supply chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics


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