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Ye Qing demonstrates how women are taking the lead

Ms Ye Qing talks to us about winning WorldGBC’s Women in Green Building Leadership Award (2020 Asia Pacific Leadership in Green Building Awards)

Ye Qing, Chairwoman of Shenzhen Institute of Building Research Co., Ltd. (IBR) and Deputy Director of China Green Building Council, also discusses her career in a traditionally male-dominated industry, and the pivotal role women play in delivering change.

Ye Qing, with her colleagues in IBR, has driven the design of over 60 million square metres of sustainable buildings, and the planning of 6,000 square kilometres of sustainable cities in China.

In 2005, Ye Qing initiated Sharing Design, a methodology to bring the project owner and design team together to ensure a balance between people, nature, buildings and cities. Shared Design has been incorporated into national standards, following its proven impact. In 2019 Ye Qing and her colleagues in IBR and partners in China Green Building Council also helped to develop the China Assessment Standard for Green Building.

“I graduated from Zhejiang University in 1993 with a master’s degree in architecture,” begins Ye Qing. “At that time, my husband was offered a position in IBR, my current company. After some discussion, I decided to give up a faculty position in Zhejiang University and move to Shenzhen with my husband. Fortunately, IBR was kind enough to offer me an architect position after we arrived in Shenzhen. After 24 years of growing with IBR, the city of Shenzhen, and with China, I was fortunate to take IBR public (300675.SZ) in 2017.

“Currently I play multiple roles, as a mother, wife, architect, the chairwoman of IBR, member of the Standing Committee of People’s Congress of Shenzhen, and a national expert in green building.

“I would encourage more women to join the green movement. Women have natural advantages in green development. They can be softer, amicable, and balanced, therefore they can make considerate and greener decisions. Green development is definitely a life-long career that is worth your effort.”

Ye Qing’s blog coincides with the global celebration of International Women’s Day (8 March 2021). This event supports women’s rights and the theme this year is #ChooseToChallenge bias and inequality. Ye Quin inspires us to challenge the status quo, while celebrating the qualities which women bring to leadership.

Ms Li Ping of China Green Building Council,  which nominated Ye Qing for the award, said: “In order to achieve the goal of carbon peak and carbon neutral to cope with climate change and assume the responsibility of a big country, China is accelerating the establishment of a sound economic system of green, low-carbon and cycle development.

“The urban and rural construction sector is carrying out green community creation actions. It is vigorously developing green buildings, and promoting the greening of community infrastructure and energy-saving renovation of existing buildings in conjunction with the renovation of urban old neighborhoods.

“In the process of promoting the development of green buildings in China, a great number of female architects and engineers have made significant contributions, in this particular area Ms. Ye Qing has shown outstanding leadership.

“As a registered architect, Ye Qing has taken the lead in practicing the concept of green planning and green design in building projects and urban construction. Under her leadership, the teams of IBR have completed numerous design plans and engineering projects for green buildings and green ecological urban areas, becoming a national model for promoting green building development.”

Ye Qing, how do you think the practice of sustainable building in Asia Pacific has changed during your career, if at all?

“Most Asia Pacific countries are developing countries. We often practice ‘subtraction’ in early years when it comes to sustainable buildings. For example, we reduce power consumption of air-conditioning by opening windows. In recent years, both the economic development and technology development are dramatically changing how we design sustainable buildings. In IBR, we insist on being the pioneer of green building technology in both Research and Development (R&D) and implementation.

“An example of this is that we designed and developed our headquarters in 2009 with Sharing Design methodology, and it became a symbolic green building in China. Since then, we have advised on national policy and technology standards of green buildings in China and practiced our green technology and green design on more and more projects. Currently, we are implementing our next generation of green building technology and design in the development of Xiong’an, a brand new city near Beijing.”

What was the greatest lesson you learned in your career so far?

“Cities are supposed to be carriers of happy and healthy people. However, a lot of cities are heavily polluted and badly designed. I think we should promote green building from the demand side, via increasing public awareness and forming new market-driven mechanisms.”

What kind of industry do you hope to leave for the next generation of green building leaders?

“It would be great to see more ‘warm and soft’ cities and buildings that use less resources and impact less on the environment, with more efficiency, happiness and livability. It will require cross-professional work between architecture and technologies such as big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI).”

What is the next greatest challenge/opportunity on the horizon for you?

“The coming Carbon Neutral world and fast changing technologies, such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence and big data, pose the greatest challenges as well as opportunities.”

What inspires you? 

“My daughter inspires me the most. I hope everything I do today can bring a little green colour to the next generation, and the next.”


About the awards

The Asia Pacific Leadership in Green Building Awards showcase the achievements of businesses and innovators in WorldGBC’s Asia Pacific Network which are leading the way on sustainability in buildings.

The biennial Awards, first held in 2014, celebrates buildings pushing the envelope in sustainability, companies that have integrated sustainability into the core of their operations, and women leading the green building space.

An independent panel of 12 high-profile judges assessed nominations from Asia Pacific green building councils, and selected finalists in three awards categories:

1. The Business Leadership in Sustainability Award

2. The Women in Green Building Leadership Award

3. The Leadership in Sustainable Design and Performance Award

View the full Award Booklet: Asia Pacific Leadership in Green Building Awards 2020 here.

The winner of each category was announced at an online ceremony on the 3rd December 2020.

For more information contact, Nellie Cheng,