Japan: Loving the Four Seasons
Advanced Energy-Efficient Home Dressed for the Season
—LCCM house incorporates the insights of traditional Japanese architecture—
From construction to occupancy to demolition, LCCM (Life Cycle Carbon Minus) houses result in negative lifecycle CO2 emissions. To this end, a Demonstration House is built with a traditional Japanese architecture approach to simulate LCCM living.
Today’s crucial issues for building homes in Japan and elsewhere include reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The LCCM Demonstration House, an experimental house constructed in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, has advances like solar generation and storage batteries to generate, save, and reduce energy.
Yet there’s more to the house than its considerable equipment. The structure purposefully utilizes human agency, presenting a lifestyle wherein house interiors are skillfully configured in harmony with nature. Movable elements like sliding doors and louvered partitions all save energy.
“Occupants create a comfortable indoor environment by opening and closing interior elements to suit season and weather. This is like the house changing clothes in response to the changing seasons, using insights from the traditional Japanese way of life,” says Chief Research Engineer Kuwasawa Yasuo, Building Research Institute (BRI), who participated in the building design.
Traditional Japanese homes often feature engawa, long verandas linking interior and exterior. Between support pillars are large openings called mado that draw pleasant breezes into the rooms and provide an enjoyable view to those within. Meanwhile, opening and closing shoji sliding doors and rain shutters manages the inflow of rain and sunlight. Thus we see Japanese people actively adapting to the four seasons.
The LCCM Demonstration House uses exactly the same approach in the way it “changes clothes” in sync with the seasons and incorporates sunlight and air into the lives of its occupants. This is a truly energy-efficient Japanese house.