Solar Today January February 2013 : Page 31
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² °7)-.-2--ages, unless energy consumption can be reduced while new energy sources are developed. The Izumi Social Welfare Corp.’s original children’s home, although an older structure, served well for many years. However, the nation-al government has become concerned about the stability of Japan’s older public buildings in a strong temblor. When grant money from the government became available for replacing these aging buildings, the Izumi Corp. decided to build a new children’s home that could stand up to the next big quake. Nii’s architectural firm, Seiji Nii Architect and Associates (nii-aa.com), was hired for the design job. The Izumi Home provides housing for up to 92 children in need of a safe and secure environ-ment until circumstances improve in their fam-ily homes. Some children eventually return to their families, while others will remain at Izumi through high school. Although designed for chil-dren up to 18 years of age, most are younger, ranging from newborns to 10 years old. The cam-pus includes a large playground, organic garden and Montessori school. ( Smart Coat , S.I. Tech Co., Tokyo, Japan). The exterior Ipe hardwood siding remains cool in direct sunlight and helps achieve Osaka’s goal of reducing the heat island effect by using more wood and other natural materials at con-struction sites. ( Heat island refers to the higher temperatures observed in urban areas due to the absorption of heat by building and roadway materials such as concrete, brick and asphalt). A permeable surface parking area also helps coun-ter urban heating, as do strategically placed trees that surround the facility. Nii plans for the trees to grow into a miniature urban forest, shielding the building from the sweltering Osaka summers and providing a pleasant setting for the children to return to after school. To shade the large south-and west-facing win-dows, Nii installed horizontal latticework above the windows. The exterior Ipe hardwood siding keeps the facil-ity (left) and ad j oining Montessori school cool and helps achieve Osaka’s goal of reducing the heat island eﬀects. Solar Design Creates Comfort The Izumi Home has been praised for its bright and cheerful interior design, thanks to the many south-facing windows and skylights. Sunlight reaches almost every room, and there are even tiny windows placed close to the floors for the smaller children to see out of. Wooden floors and paneling and large stained-glass win-dows add a special touch. On colder days when the passive solar heat-ing is not enough, the heat pump kicks in, and rooms where the infants and youngest children reside have electric floor and wall-panel heating systems for additional comfort. Although it is an air-conditioned facility, open windows and ceiling fans provide sufficient cooling for much of the summer. While lacking the photovoltaics and other high-tech features common to more expensive solar facilities, Nii’s passive solar design creates a comfortable environment for the children while demonstrating that energy-efficient facili-ties for institutional care can be both beautiful and affordable. ST Richard Crume works as an environmental engineer and teaches a college course on air pollution and climate change. Dr. Yoko Crume is a social work professor specializing in aging and long-term care. Contact the Crumes at email@example.com. solartoday.org SOLAR TODAY January/February 2013 31 Simple Approach Conserves Energy Nii’s approach to reducing energy consump-tion at the Izumi Home involved simple, low-cost, and proven techniques such as passive solar heat-ing, a floor plan that encourage natural ventilation, plenty of daylighting and energy-efficient fixtures and appliances. The result is a modern, comfort-able and affordable living space that is regarded in Osaka as a model for institutional care. One of Nii’s architectural concepts was to allow sunlight to spread into darker areas by incorporating clear glass panels into interior walls, which also helps workers monitor the children’s activities. To shade the large south-and west-facing windows, Nii installed horizon-tal latticework above the windows, and he used strategically placed stained glass and shrubbery to block the early morning and late afternoon sun. Although the facility’s budget did not allow for the latest, high-priced insulated windows, Nii reduced heat transfer through the windows by applying a liquid polymer coating to the glass The Izumi Home provides housing for up to 92 children in need of a safe and secure environment. The campus includes a large playground, organic garden and Montessori school. Copyright © 2013 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.