Business, Economics and Jobs

Japan plans the most advanced eco-city


A woman holds a leaf-shaped solar cell.


Toru Yamanaka

There has been a lot of talk about Japan peeling back on nukes and emphasizing alternative energy.

A new policy, which Prime Minister Naoto Kan began to outline this week, would embrace solar and wind power and focus on innovation. In his speech on the matter, he used the word "challenge" seven times.

In other words, it's not going to be easy.

But in every disaster there is a silver lining, since starting from scratch could actually allow for more success than trying to work within an existing system.

And Japan's focus on innovation at this stage — albeit, a pricey one — promises to yield great things.

One such planned innovation is the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town: Nine companies will come together to build 1,000 homes that will be more energy independent than any other modern town.

The technologies used are all pretty much tried and true — think solar and batteries. But the major innovation is that they will be integrated all together. The entire town will act as a single energy system.

It may be the "first smart grid development designed from the ground up by integrating the elements together. The town is aiming to reduce CO2 by 70% from the 1990 baseline," reports Inhabitat website.

It will be built on the site of an old Panasonic manufacturing plant in Fugisawa, about 50 km west of Tokyo.

Think big, Japan.