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‘World’s least carbon-emitting building’ stands tall in Tokyo

‘World’s least carbon-emitting building’ stands tall in Tokyo
View over central Tokyo.

Shimizu Corporation, Japan’s largest contractor, unveiled their new headquarters yesterday, a building that is touted to emit the “world’s least amount of carbon.”

The Shimizu headquarters will only emit 38 kilograms per square meter of carbon a year or 62 percent less than average emissions of conventional buildings in the national capital of Tokyo.

Located at Kyobashi, Chuo-ward, Tokyo, the 22-storey building has adopted energy-efficient technologies for its lighting and cooling needs.

The entire building uses light-emitting diode lighting controlled by motion sensors. Photovoltaic panels on the buildings outer walls generated around 84,000 kilowatt hours of power a year for the buildings daytime lighting use.

Window shades are strategically placed with a shade angle that automatically changes to follow the sun and optimize this natural light.

Altogether, the building’s lighting system will substantially reduce emissions by 90 percent versus the traditional lighting fixtures.

Cooling the building is taken care of by an air conditioning technology that uses radiant heat. The system incorporates water hoses that run under the ceiling boards like capillary vessels. By controlling the water temperature in the hoses, the temperature of the ceiling board is also controlled. By keeping a surface temperature of about 20 degrees, the ceiling boards absorb the heat produced by people in the working area.

This radiant heat cooling technology can cut carbon emissions by 30 percent compared to common air conditioning technologies.

“Since Japan has few natural resources such as oil or gas and has faced energy crises twice before, buildings there are designed to conserve energy. This is sure to increase the demand for construction of buildings like the new Shimizu Headquarters,” said Shimizu.

Shimizu intends to further fine tuning the performance of the lighting and air conditioning systems and adopt further energy saving systems to further reduce carbon dioxide emission levels by 70 percent by end of 2015.

Moreover, the company said it will offset the remaining emissions by creating “emission rights” to become a Zero Emission Building. – C. Dominguez



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