"The gray eight-story squeezed into a row of sedate official buildings seems innocuous. But from its radically efficient basement generator to the light volcanic ash soil on the garden roof deck, this is one of the cleanest and most energy efficient structures in China.
In a country both energy-starved and cash-conscious, the new ministry of science building is a small wonder. It uses 70 percent less energy than similar federal buildings, and saves 10,000 tons of water a year through rainwater collection. Wise use of quality materials inside a simple, plain design also make it far cheaper to build and maintain than comparable Beijing buildings.
..China has 11 'green city' projects under construction and 140 building projects. But few foreign experts feel those projects could pass a genuine international green test - involving low energy use, low cost, recycling water systems, and 'intelligent' integrated design and materials."