Building only green, high performance, intelligent buildings is an immediate and measurable way to mitigate climate change, a representative of the U.S. Green Building Council told attendees at an international design conference Monday in Beijing.

Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO of the Green Building Council, urged building industry leaders in China to build only green buildings. “This is not a ‘nice to do,’ it’s an absolute must,” Fedrizzi said. “By using and pioneering smart, green strategies for growth, China will be able to fuel its exponential rise far into the future and set an example for the world.”

Fedrizzi was speaking at the third International Conference on Intelligent Green and Energy Efficient Building and New Technologies. Fedrizzi is also founding chair of the Green Building Council, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of representatives from across the building industry.

Green building practices produce fewer carbon emissions and consume, on average, 30% less energy than conventional structures, so going green is less expensive for a nation than building additional power plants to support growth, Fedrizzi said. He applauded China’s aggressive efforts to balance economic development targets with increasing efforts to diversified energy sources and increased energy efficiency.

Green schools, with natural daylight and cleaner air, contribute to lower absenteeism and higher test scores among students, he said. “And these assets apply to all building types,” he said. “When we spend on average 90% of our days indoors, shouldn’t we spend them in green buildings?”

To help integrate these concepts into construction in China and around the globe, Fedrizzi urged the creation of Green Building Councils like the USGBC, and encouraged the use of a common rating system, such as the LEED program, to ensure that buildings are built as designed, and perform as expected.