Kenan Zhang is a building services engineer with degrees in built environmental and HVAC engineering from Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology, China (BEng, 2004 and MEng, 2007). Her interest in sustainable and integrated low carbon design led her to pursue a second Master in Theory and Practice of Sustainable Design at Cardiff University (MSc, 2009). She has worked as a part-time research assistant and lecturer in universities and colleges in Xi'an, and as a full time management trainee in a real estate development company in Guangzhou. She is currently working as a Research Assistant at the Welsh School of Architecture on an 'Academic for Business' (A4B) project, which disseminates up to date sustainable and low carbon research outputs to the Welsh construction industry.
Her research interests lie in the assessment and promotion of sustainability issues in the built environment, holistic design of buildings and services, especially for historic and 'hard to heat' buildings, and the integration of Renewable Energy Systems.
The landscape and built environment of China has changed dramatically over the past decade because of the rapid growth of urbanisation. This urban-rural imbalance, and the huge immigration from rural areas to cities has created serious problems. Being the leading economic engine in China for ten years, Guangdong has paid a huge price for the urban-rural imbalance, and environment pollution.
Furthermore, Guangdong's low skilled manufacturing industry is being replaced by a less work force intensive but higher profit making modern manufacturing which leads to high unemployment among rural immigrants.
In the near future, rural transformation will play an important role for Guangdong's low carbon economy, and decision makers will face a lot of pressure and challenge in formulating low carbon regeneration strategies for rural regions.
While working as a management trainee, Kenan saw how difficult it is for decision makers to conduct quick and sustainable plans for real estate development projects due to data scarcity, lack of assessment methods, and the tight time scale for delivering projects in China.
Based on the UK's experience and tools for CO2e emissions calculation, this research involves designing an integrated indicator, which will be based on environmental influences and will also look at how it affects social and economic issues. It is hoped that the research result will contribute to developing a rural built environment assessment in China, and assist decision-making in the rural low carbon dwelling transformation strategies in Guangdong.