Developing a third party investment partnership framework to encourage low carbon building projects in China

Chen, Xiaohong (2019) Developing a third party investment partnership framework to encourage low carbon building projects in China. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Enormous potential carbon reduction from buildings can be achieved through adopting low carbon building technologies (LCBTs). However, investments in LCBTs in the private sector have been much lower than anticipated. This is due to a number of barriers such as high upfront costs, split economic interests, lack of finance, risk uncertainty and lack of practical knowledge. A Third Party Investment Partnership (TpIP) provides a risk and benefit sharing model for LCBTs investment in building projects. Typically, third party investors work with financing, constructing and operating the specialised LCBTs equipment through a long-term partnership with key actors of the LCBT adoption projects, providing quality and cost-effective low carbon products or services. However, there has been limited research and knowledge able to demonstrate how TpIP works, what makes TpIP successful, how TpIP perform in practice, and what incentives and benefits TpIP bring to its actors. The aim of this research is to develop a detailed and workable TpIP framework that encourages investment in private sector-led low carbon technologies in building projects in China.

Considering LCBTs technical and contextual influence deployment, this study focused on building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) projects in South China. Firstly, the study explored TpIP concept through literature review that identified critical drivers and barriers and key actors playing in the field of LCBTs investment. It then used expert forum method to contextualise the conceptual TpIP framework for China, and to identify a set of critical success factors (CSFs) that made TpIP successful in China. The CSFs were categorised into five aspects, representing financial, legal, operational, risk and external enabling conditions (FLORE), which were developed through a two-round expert interview process. The study further tested and developed the TpIP framework through case study method on three BIPV projects in South China. Finally, case study triangulation validated the final refined TpIP framework, which increased transferability and reliability of the study.

The research findings revealed that there are two forces and an agency within TpIP. The two forces, LCBTs Energy Production and Low Carbon Energy Market, are brought together by an agency, the Third Party Business, to make TpIP work. Case studies revealed that the production side of BIPV TpIP projects includes host, contractors and capital. The market side of BIPV includes consumers, independent services and government. Energy management contracting is the third party investment business for rooftop BIPV. The study also revealed how these forces and businesses work together to achieve CSFs in all FLORE aspects. Moreover, the study revealed that the risk and benefit sharing TpIP framework overcomes the barriers and motivates the actors participating in LCBTs energy production to engage with the low carbon energy market.

This thesis made a number of significant and original contributions in the area of LCBTs investment and its implementation in the low carbon energy market. Firstly, it defined “TpIP” and developed a theoretical framework to demonstrate the principle within a TpIP. Secondly, it revealed the details of TpIP framework, including forces, actors and business, and how they act in practice towards improved BIPV performance through a third party investment business. Thirdly, it demonstrated a research method that can be used in developing innovative investment models within LCBTs building projects. Finally, it provided a better understanding of TpIP principles in the real world. The result of this study indicated that financial and operational dimensions are critical and that more attention should be paid to these in future research.

This study is not intended to develop a universal framework. However, the final TpIP framework and research methods would provide bases for future research in different contexts and settings.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Low carbon building technologies, Low carbon energy market, Low carbon building investment and finance, Building-integrated photovoltaic in China, Energy management contracting
Subjects: K100 Architecture
K200 Building
K400 Planning (Urban, Rural and Regional)
K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Architecture and Built Environment
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2020 08:13
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 13:15

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