Do we have no need in growing experience in renewable energy deployment anymore? Do we know everything already and never anything went wrong? Modifications to systems and buildings facilitates change from previous implementation versions. Without this key to improving loss-models they can not be upgraded or the threshold to learn of improvements will so high that it does not get going.
The visit to the building NEXT21 in Japan – the apartment building in the city of Osaka with live experiments in the field of classification, life, recycling, energy and climate as discussed in a blog – teached me the textbook space Building Open provides to implement new technical developments and following the changing needs of residents. How a utility company after more than 20 years continues to look forward to lifelong learning. This video gives us a quick project overview:
In 1993 Osaka Gas built NEXT21 for its employees as test facility. As NEXT21 is an experimental housing project, the goal is to provide and develop an ideal style of urban housing with multiple, mutually different units for the near future. The emphasis is on environmental protection, energy saving comfort for residents and the ability to meet evolving personal and social needs. The Osaka Gas employees and their families actually live in NEXT21. Their practical, everyday experiences with this advanced environment and these facilities enable Osaka Gas to analyze, test and respond to new concepts for sustainable housing in a multi-unit building. Osaka Gas works together with its product suppliers on this. Then, these new concepts may be rolled out in the region where the utility company is active. Ready for daily life in the future. In this way many Japanese companies are working closely with Osaka Gas. Look with me!
Employees may live in the building for up to five years. Every seven years a new phase starts with new approaches to developments which Osaka Gas than can work on for two years. So there are always occupied and empty apartments. Because roof gardens and large green spaces are also included, you can really see it as an oases of healthy living in the big city. Osaka Gas develops much in terms of energy savings and conversion and tests it all on its own employees. It really is very interesting! Too bad that the English speaking staff member was unable to join our visit. It is not easy tot discuss technological developments in the energy field with gestures only.
In NEXT 21 we also saw an example of the typical Japanese concept of floors at different levels. We were guests to a home set up for four generations of women living together: great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and young daughter. The raised gallery floor around the home two feet above the concrete structural floor is intended to accommodate the supply and return of all utilities to the houses and especially to keep them easy accessible for maintenance and regular changes. Inside the house, soon after the Genkan* at the same outside level, comes the parquet level of almost twenty centimeters more. After that follows the higher Tatami ** (bed) room level for some of the rooms. Under those room floors – very usefully – huge drawers are placed to create storage space of more than twenty centimeters high. See for more on these concepts in our blogs on rental and ownership of homes in Japan.
What about a country like Holland?
So Japanese legislation about building and fit-out takes individual housing needs as the starting point. That gives Japanese maximum freedom to live as they wish indoors. All laws in the Netherlands and most other countries are based on “theory” and “standard” living behavior, for example translated into energy consumption. We all know that the reality is different from theory, which is therefore never a standard fit and certainly gives no freedom. With a city of Amsterdam having citizens in over 180 nationalities a one-size-fits-all application is even socially irresponsible, don’t you think? If you do want to gain maximum freedom in living, then suppliers have to examine and understand what you need. In Japan, suppliers have already learned how to respond to individual requirements. This leads to innovations and affordable industrial customization. You get delivered what you expect. A durable housing product that responds to your needs with a long warranty.
BRIQS Foundation advocates for the same situation in the Netherlands as in Japan. Then you can sign a performance contract with agreements on what living comfort your home is going to bring you. You no longer sign a purchase contract for something that might or might not meet your requirements when delivered. For something you can’t hold anyone responsible afterwards. Through experience a supplier improves constantly and can better at estimate what your reality looks like and what you want for living comfort. That is his basis for developing innovative products. So in this new situation you have direct contact with your supplier. That is a huge advantage for you, because the supplier will learn directly from you. Imagine the Dutch building industry functioning like the one in Japan. What is important to you today and in your future?
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To your health and wellbeing,