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ADB, Partners to Make Buildings More Energy-efficient

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending some US$117 million in a partial credit guarantee program to support private sector-led energy-efficiency projects in China, the lender said on Wednesday.

Under the pilot program, ADB is partnering with private energy management company Johnson Controls and financial institutions to retrofit existing buildings to save energy, and to support the construction of new energy-efficient "green buildings," the Manila-based development bank said in a statement.

The management company will identify buildings with energy savings potential, while ADB will share the project credit risks with the financial institutions.

Johnson Controls, which has worldwide technical expertise in the field of energy efficiency and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has been selected as the first partner energy management company, according to the ADB statement.

Standard Chartered Bank (China) Limited will be the first partner financial institution in this pilot program providing financing to Johnson Controls' buyers in China.

The need to improve energy efficiency in China has been growing since the country is now one of the world's largest energy consumers, ADB said. At the same time, commercial banks in China need further expertise to make technical evaluations of energy efficiency projects, to ensure the availability of project financing.

The Energy Efficiency Multi-Project Financing Program will improve access to domestic finance for a large number of energy end users seeking to make efficiency improvements, with the retrofitting of existing buildings typically leading to energy savings of 20 percent to 40 percent.

Given China's rapid urbanization, energy efficiency in buildings will have long lasting and large cumulative impact, said Robert Wihtol, the Country Director of ADB.

"ADB has worked to develop and structure the program effectively as a private-sector transaction in order to make it sustainable. We are very pleased to have credible partners such as Johnson Controls and Standard Chartered China for the program," said Hisaka Kimura, an ADB investment specialist.

"Johnson Controls is committed to creating a more comfortable, safe and sustainable world. With China's increasing focus on energy efficiency and environmental protection, we are contributing to this effort by providing energy efficient systems and green solutions to our customers. The cooperation with ADB and Standard Chartered China on the new Energy Efficiency Project Financing Program will be a key driver to further the success on providing a complete solution for green business development and striving for a sustainable growth in China," said Elvis Chan, Vice President and Managing Director, Johnson Controls Building Efficiency China.

The program is part of ADB's Energy Efficiency Initiative which aims to provide at least US$1 billion a year for funding energy efficiency and clean energy projects.

(Xinhua News Agency October 9, 2008)

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