Panasonic and partners plan showcase green suburb
Panasonic and eight partner companies have announced plans to construct a green community from the ground up on the vacant site of a former Panasonic factory in Japan's Fujisawa City, 50 kilometres from Tokyo. The community, to be called the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (Fujisawa SST), is slated to open by March 2014 and, by 2018, to provide a carefully planned, eco-friendly space for 1,000 households.
The consortium will collaborate with Fujisawa City to build an innovative smart town deploying services and energy systems based on Panasonic's Eco Ideas for green lifestyles. The developers, manufacturers and service providers will work closely together throughout every phase of the project, from the master planning stage to actual operation of the town.
As well as Panasonic, the Fujisawa SST project partners are Accenture, Mitsui & Co Ltd, Mitsui Fudosan Co Ltd, Nihon Sekkei Inc, ORIX Corporation, PanaHome Corporation, Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co Ltd and Tokyo Gas Ltd.
Panasonic says it will apply its "comprehensive solutions for the entire house, entire building and entire town" to Fujisawa SST, combining its energy technologies and a safe and secure environment.
In effect, Fujisawa SST will be an advanced model of a town demonstrating efficient use of energy by promoting widespread use of energy-saving devices measures that integrate measures for energy creation, storage and management. Panasonic intends to replicate Fujisawa SST as a business model in other parts of Japan and overseas.
Specifically, the Panasonic plans to pre-install its solar power generation systems and home-use storage battery systems across the town, including homes, various facilities and public zones. Tokyo Gas plans to install its latest "Ene-Farm" household fuel cell systems within Fujisawa SST housing units, all of which are connected to a smart grid.
Fujisawa SST is also to have a roads designed for bikes, walkers and electric vehicles; networked public lighting, and more. Through these initiatives, the consortium's goal is for carbon carbon emissions of Fujisawa SST to be 70 percent lower than the average Japanese community in 1990.
According to Panasonic global demand for the development of new cities, mainly driven by Asia, is expected to reach 3,100 trillion yen (USD38.7 trillion) by 2030, prompting numerous projects to smart cities and eco communities aimed at achieving low-carbon societies.
Having initially been agreed by Panasonic and Fujisawa City last November, development of Fujisawa SST has gained additional relevance in the aftermath of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
There is now renewed attention on decentralized energy infrastructures that are safe and secure with power generation and storage systems installed on a community basis. And with so many devastated Japanese communities looking to rebuild, Fujisawa SST could be a blueprint to model their rebirth.