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With the Japanese government adopting the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 came the international commitment to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 6% compared to 1990 levels in the four years from 2008 to 2012. The Japanese Government strengthened the Act on the Rational Use of Energy on a step-by-step basis to facilitate this reduction, but GHG emissions continue to grow. Although the industrial and transportation sectors succeeded in reducing GHG emissions, the building and housing sectors have had substantial increases. In particular, GHG emissions in the housing sector showed a 60 percent increase in 2012 from 1990. To deal with this situation, The Japanese Government promotes the construction of Zero Energy Houses (ZEH*) and Zero Energy Buildings (ZEB) as measures to reduce CO2 emissions in the housing and building sectors. As part of this drive, implementing the ZEH concept in all newly built standard houses by 2020 is a goal, but one not widely known as yet by the general public.
In January 2014, the “ENEMANE House 2014” exhibition was held at the main venue of Tokyo Big Sight Shinonome temporary parking lot. This exhibition was organized as part of the project led by the METI’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy to promote the introduction of innovative energy-saving technologies for houses and buildings. The exhibition was to promote the construction and proliferation of ZEHs through the development and verification of advanced technologies. Under the theme “Houses of 2030,” proposals incorporating three concepts of energy consumption reduction, lifestyles for 2030, and a roll-out of ZEH houses into emerging markets were solicited. Universities teamed up with housing companies and housing equipment/construction material manufacturers to build model houses for the competition and these were evaluated for energy conservation performance and new ways of living.
Over ten teams entered the competition and these included five industry-academia consortiums led by universities that passed the screening: Keio University, Shibaura Institute of Technology, Chiba University, University of Tokyo, and Waseda University. These consortiums constructed model houses.
Keio University’s proposal was a stilt house with greenery-covered walls built using a new CLT*-based construction technique that can flexibly accommodate high-density urban development requirements of Asian cities. The interior has an integral multi-level space centered around the dining table. This structure provides a flexible floor plan that can be customized while keeping the basic mass-production standard system. The house can therefore evolve to meet the owner’s lifestyle changes. This house incorporates a home energy management system (HEMS) that provides comprehensive control over all environmental equipment depending on the flow of energy and environmental conditions.
This shared house-style residence aims at a lifestyle in which people live in harmony together, rather than just an assembly of individuals. The roof with a checkered pattern is a “breathable roof” that proactively uses the airflow created by temperature differences, while effectively utilizing heat, electricity and light generated from sunlight. Bedrooms as constructed as private rooms and the communal kitchen, bathroom and washroom are built as high-performance “environmental shelter” units featuring high thermal insulation and sealing properties. The environmental shelters are also designed for export to Asian countries.
This is a sustainable energy house that uses natural energy. High-strength units made from large-cross section wood and composed of laminated wood core and panels are used. By combining these similarly as with building blocks, a large space and flexible room divisions were possible. This in turn allows renovating the house into apartments, an office, store, or school. The outer walls and floor have high insulation and are able to retain much heat, resulting in a comfortable living space without relying on air conditioning equipment.
Designed as a single unit of an apartment house, this prototype houses structures and equipment in its east and west side cores, while leaving the central space as a multi-purpose living area. Various environmental conditions such as heat, light, wind, sound and people can be incorporated into the unit depending on the climate and the dweller’s lifestyle. Multiple modules comprise this apartment house named “CITY ECOX,” so that heat, electricity, means of transportation, greenery and water can be shared among apartments to create a safe, secure and energy-efficient community.
This proposal places the equipment core at the center surrounded by dwelling zone, which in turn is surrounded by the “Nobi-Nobi” zone, resulting in a triple structure. The equipment core incorporates Japan’s advanced technology and living infrastructure into a package. Solar light is converted into various forms of energy, such as heat, electricity and light. The Nobi-Nobi zone is also usable for a greenhouse depending on the season or region, supporting living comfort using natural energy.
In the prototype ZEH houses built by the five academia-industry consortiums, the power consumed and generated, daily load factor, thermal, light and sonic environments were monitored for six days and evaluated by the panel of judges. The “ENEMANE 2014” grand prize went to University of Tokyo consortium with its “CITY ECOX” ZEH urban collective housing prototype.
Four consortiums led by Keio University, Shibaura Institute of Technology, Chiba University and Waseda University received first prizes. Shibaura Institute of Technology consortium’s “Haha-no-Ie 2030” received the “People’s Choice Award” based on exhibition visitor votes.
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