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Beating the Summer Heat with Cold Water and Mist (August 5, 2005)

Mist generators help visitors to stay cool. (Jiji)
EXPO 2005 Aichi has now passed the midway point of its six-month duration. The total number of visitors during the six-month event is now expected to surpass the 15 million originally envisioned and may rise as high as 17 million. As the summer heat rises, organizers are focusing on measures to help visitors stay comfortable in the heat. The Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition has taken a number of steps to ensure that the Expo experience is enjoyable even at the height of summer. Water coolers have been installed at each gate and the number of beverage vending machines around the site has been increased. In addition, new covered rest areas are being built to provide shelter and shade, and innovative methods to combat the heat are being employed, such as a machine that lowers the temperature of the surrounding area by generating mist.

Beating the Heat
The Expo now features innovative ways to combat the heat. One is a dry mist generator with a special nozzle that can produce ultrafine water droplets a hundredth of a millimeter big. As the mist vaporizes, it absorbs heat from the air and lowers the temperature of the surrounding area by two or three degrees. Ten generators were installed on the Global Loop and have been in operation since July 5. The mist goes on automatically as soon as the temperature stays above 27 degrees centigrade for 10 minutes, and it goes off when the temperature falls to 25 degrees. The devices have also been installed in the Wonder Circus Electric Power Pavilion waiting area and at the Bio Lung.

Photocatalysis, a cutting-edge technology in which Japan is the global leader, is also being put to use. At a rest area built by the Expo Association in the southern part of the Nagakute Area next to the Russian Pavilion, the canvas roof and window glass have a photocatalytic coating of titanium oxide, and water is continuously dispersed over these surfaces. Photocatalysts have outstanding hydrophilic properties, and the water is quickly transformed into a thin film that vaporizes easily. As it evaporates, the water absorbs heat and cools the surrounding area. The process has a similar effect to sprinkling water on the ground. This setup is said to consume 10% to 20% less energy than a conventional air conditioner.

Solar chimneys, which draw natural wind into buildings, are also being used around the EXPO grounds to reduce energy consumption from air conditioning. The Japan Pavilion in the Seto Area has a chimney that rises 14 meters above the roof and has a diameter of 5 meters. The air inside the chimney rises as it is warmed by the sun, and cool air from the outside replaces it, further pushing the hot air out.

Quenching Visitors' Thirst
In addition to these hi-tech solutions, two new services were launched at the Expo venue on June 18. Free chilled drinking water was made available at 24 water coolers installed at the four gates, and a service for transferring the contents of plastic PET bottles brought to the venue by visitors into paper cups was begun (the ban on taking plastic bottles in remains in force).

At the end of June, the supply of plastic-bottled drinks on sale inside the venue was raised to 247,000 a day by installing 16 new vending machines, bringing the total to 106, and increasing the number sold at mobile stalls. Also, many more staff were hired to check on vending machines and make sure they do not run out of drinks. And the association has installed 2,300 more seats in covered rest areas that provide shelter from the rain and sun.

The association believes that these measures, together with the availability of information on the Internet and on signboards at the gates about pavilion waiting times and the distribution of reservation tickets for popular pavilions, will help ensure that visitors have a good time even on the hottest of days.

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Copyright (c) 2005 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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