As leaders of the world's most powerful nations discuss climate change at the Group of Eight summit in northern Japan, Japan's big tech companies are displaying some of their most cutting-edge solutions in a nearby "zero emissions house."
The single-story, 2,152-square-foot house generates all the energy required for a family of four, therefore eliminating carbon-dioxide emissions, according to the Japanese government. Products inside, many already on sale in Japan, include a washer that requires no water and an air conditioner that senses where people are in a room and automatically sends cool air in their direction rather than cooling empty space. Yet the eco-friendly products also carry a steeper price tag than traditional appliances.
The house uses a wind-turbine generator and a photovoltaic generation system, which directly converts light into electricity, to produce about 15 kilowatts of energy a day, nearly five times the amount used by a regular household. The government has presented the house as one of its contributions toward helping the world cut greenhouse emissions in half by 2050.