Tackling the Critical Energy Issues in Japan Today

April 23, 2012 - 12:00pm
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After the earthquake and devastation of the nuclear power plants, energy issues have been under fierce controversy in Japan. Many experts claim that the situation is much worse than the “Oil shock” in 1973. As the summer is coming, the industrial sector desperately requires a stable power supply. Restarting nuclear plants would be one solution, but prospects for doing so are very poor. Renewable energies like PV and wind power are not an immediate remedy in the current situation, though more sophisticated smart power networks are under serious consideration.   In addition to improving the power supply, demand is also a big issue. One attractive proposal is the Zero Energy House. There are many global proposals for Zero Energy Houses; most are only solar battery trestles, possible as the efficiency of solar batteries gets better and cheaper. The Mae Lab is also interested in developing a Zero Energy House as a prototype for the OM Solar Company, a pioneer in solar heating systems which includes natural air convection. A louver system, carefully designed to control wind, daylight, and solar heat gain, reduces heating and cooling load. With a hot summer and cold winter, we are trying to develop a ZEH native to Japan.

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