Shimizu Corporation, a large general contractor in Japan, says its new headquarters in Tokyo will be the “world’s least-CO2-emitting building.” It will produce an estimated 38 kilograms per square meter each year.
How will it keep the number so low?
One of the main ways it reduces its energy use is through an air conditioning system that uses radiant heat. Basically, heat given off by the workers helps to keep the building cool. The company explains: “Water hoses run under ceiling boards like capillary vessels. By controlling the temperature of the water circulating in the hoses, the temperature of the celling board surface is controlled. As a result, a surface temperature of about 20 degrees absorbs the heat of people working in the office through a radiant effect.” Using this system can reduce emissions by as much as 30 percent compared to a standard air conditioning unit.
Other measures taken by the building to reduce emissions include: using only LED lighting controlled by motion sensors and generated by solar panels on the outside walls, along with window shades that allow or detract sunlight from entering the building.
Do all these mean this is really the “world’s least-CO2-emitting building”? I’m sure there are plenty of other net-zero buildings that would beg to differ. But if nothing else this is a great example for other office buildings of how to build a more sustainable workplace. Showing that it can be done could mean more new buildings with sustainability built-in. And, who knows, maybe your next office building will be this sustainable.
Photo: Shimizu Corporation