China's building sector consumes one quarter of total energy consumption in the country and plays an important role in long-term ability of the country to achieve sustainable development. This paper discusses a comprehensive approach to achieving low carbon sustainability in large commercial buildings in China incorporating both energy and carbon-reduction strategies. The approach concentrates primarily on three complementary aspects: (a) the introduction of an effective energy management system; (b) the incorporation of relevant advanced energy saving technologies and measures and (c) the promotion of awareness among occupants to make changes in their behaviour towards a more environmental-friendly behaviour. However, reference is also made to the role that renewable energy and offsetting may have in the effective management and environmental performance of buildings. Nine examples of large commercial buildings in Beijing and Shanghai were studied and the average electricity consumption of around 153 kWh/m2 per annum is about 5 times higher than average electricity use in residential buildings. At the same time the associated green house gas (GHG) emissions are around 158 kg/m2 per annum.