June 17, 2014 5:20 am JST

Taisei to develop 'zero energy' building by 2020

TOKYO -- Taisei will begin a one-year trial run of its new energy-saving demonstration facility in July, taking a step toward its goal of developing a fully functional, energy self-sufficient building by 2020.

     The zero energy building (ZEB) uses energy-saving technologies to minimize consumption, as well as solar power and other renewable sources to generate electricity. The three-floor demonstration facility, which opened in Yokohama on Monday, will consume 75% less energy than a typical building of the same size.

     Cold water will be circulated throughout the building to cool its interior, and 50% of its exterior walls will be covered by an organic thin film that generates solar power. Because solar power is vulnerable to weather conditions, the building will purchase electricity from power companies, then offset the amount consumed by generating energy on-site. According to the company, the demonstration facility is the first building to be energy self-sufficient.

     Taisei did not disclose the cost of constructing the facility. By 2020, it aims to build ZEBs at about 20% over the cost of conventional eco-friendly buildings. The company hopes to use this technology primarily in office buildings.