With billions of square meters of new construction forecast to be built over the next 7 years, there's little debate around the strength of China's construction market and accelerating pace of development. However, the question of how much the country is invested in green building and responsible practices remains up in the air.

On one hand, you have The New York Times reporting on the mountains of construction rubble appearing across the county, with hundreds of millions of tons of waste being illegally dumped. Environmentally responsible? Hardly.

However, on the other hand, you have Forbes predicting China's rise as "a center for innovation in smart, energy-efficient buildings." As an example, Forbes' author showcases work by the Chinese Academy of Science on a window that self-adjusts its properties based on temperature to either act as an insulator or become reflective, and whose frame can be equipped with solar cells to generate power from ambient light.

Is it possible for China to be an leading steward of innovation while continuing to literally trash its environment? Click here to access the full Forbes article and click here to access The New York Times article.