Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared the Japanese goal of making all new public buildings Zero Energy by 2020 (and residential and other non-public buildings by 2030).
It’s a direct consequence of the Fukushima meltdown, and the suspension of nuclear plants. And it's critical for a country without significant fossil-energy resources. Japan is pushing forward with renewable power options, and zero-energy buildings can be one of the key pillars of this strategy.
The Japanese buildings – like the building sector in America or Europe – consume about 40% of the nation’s primary energy, which can’t be ignored by Japanese politicians. Zero Energy Buildings can free-up huge amounts of energy for the future electric vehicles network and for the industry; and it’s also a way of tackling the climate change threats.
photovoltaic panels for walls
One of the key elements of the Zero Energy Buildings now common in the Japanese market is organic photovoltaic (PV) cells for walls – an alternative to conventional PV panels.
These organic PV cells are currently less efficient and more expensive than common photovoltaic panels, but they are light, bendable and flexible, offering far greater opportunities in places where common solar panels are hard to install.
Following this path, Mitsubishi Chemical is beginning to mass-production these side solar units...
The success of Zero Energy Buildings in Japan
Though technological breakthroughs such as the one mentioned above are important, the development of Zero Energy Buildings is not dependent on them. The ongoing large projects (European Union, California…) are not relying on them.
The success of ZEB policy depends largely on mass installing (for economies of scale), funding schemes and organizational and logistical issues. And Japan is expected to be able to surpass all these hurdles.
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