Table Speech

Energy Saving Starts from Houses

May 14, 2014

Mr. François-Xavier Lienhart
General Delegation Asia-Pacific,
Deputy Delegate for Japan

(1) Problems related to energy production
 Electricity that we consume in our daily life is produced by various methods. Conventional power generation by thermal, hydraulic or nuclear power can cause a multitude of problems that include increased geopolitical risks and high costs by importing fossil fuels, environmental destruction as well as devastating safety risks in cases of serious nuclear accidents. Natural energy of solar or wind power gathers much attention lately, but they are also not free from problems which include unstable supply or spoiling the view that can affect the tourism resources.

 Today, let me suggest a more fundamental solution of how we can cut energy consumption, instead of addressing new technologies or institutional design for energy production. It goes without saying that if we can curb energy demand, we can alleviate various problems related to energy production. The key is how we can improve energy efficiency.

(2) Curb energy demand is the key
 Energy consumption can be classified into three sectors: the transportation, industrial, and civilian (including buildings and residences). As of 2010, the industrial sector accounted for 43.9%, transportation 22.9% and civilian sector 33.2%. While various energy-saving measures have been taken in the industrial sector, energy consumption in the civilian sector has increased significantly. We can curb energy demand in Japan as a whole by implementing various energy-saving measures in the civilian sector.

 We can improve energy efficiency of buildings by improving the thermal insulation performance of ceilings, roofs, floors, walls, windows and doors. It will lead to substantial reduction in heating and cooling energies. If we want to achieve “Zero Energy” or even “Plus Energy” of buildings, we must work on the structure itself, rather than just installing high-performance air conditioners, water heaters or solar panels.

 I can give you specific initiatives taken by the French government. Newly-built houses are to keep annual primary energy consumption below 40 KW/h/ by 2020, while existing buildings will be renovated to keep below 80 KW/h/. Since 2011, all the buildings must get the “Energy Performance Certificate” that assesses a building’s energy consumption to help people choose energy-saving houses. Other extensive initiatives range from financial measures of providing preferential tax treatments and preferential mortgage interest rates to training programs given to builders.

(3) Advantages to the Japanese society
 Regrettably, the current building energy efficiency standards in Japan fall a long way short of European countries, with no mandatory power. Thanks to some environmentally-conscious architects, however, we have started to see more Zero-energy houses being constructed. We can save on energy costs, improve durability and asset value of buildings and achieve better health by living in such clean and comfortable houses.

 They will also benefit Japan as a whole by reducing our trade deficit, geopolitical risks and carbon dioxide emissions, while creating jobs in the construction industry that will eventually enhance competitiveness of our industries. I believe we can revitalize the Japanese society by reducing energy consumption of buildings.

Towards a Better Living Environment, through Earth-Friendly and Human-Friendly Buildings and Lands
※Initiation Speech does not appear

May 14, 2014

Mr. Koji Nagasaka
President & CEO, Koizumi Co., LTD.