INHABITAT: What types of renewable energy technology will be available to each homeowner? How much energy will those systems save for each household?Mr. Ishio: Power generation by solar panels will be available to each homeowner as a standard feature. This is expected to generate approximately 4 kilowatts on average per house. Within the project, Panasonic plans to install solar panels and storage batteries in all homes. Fuel cells are also an optional feature. Rough estimation of energy saving is 70% in each individual house and 20% in public space of the town. And the overall saving ratio as the entire town including each house and public space is 50%.
INHABITAT: Approximately how much will each home cost?Mr. Ishio: Right now it's impossible to give you a specific price for each home in the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town since home construction has not started yet. Also, home prices might vary depending on additional optional equipment. Note: We shared in our recent article about Fujisawa SST that comparable but non-eco homes in the Fujisawa area run for about half a million dollars.
INHABITAT: Can you tell us a little bit about Fujisawa SST and what Panasonic is hoping to accomplish with this new endeavor?
Mr. Ishio: From the business perspective, our Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town plan is about Panasonic showing in a very visible way the company’s comprehensive solutions capabilities (for private homes, multi-family dwellings and facilities) in a real town setting, while establishing new business models for our energy solutions businesses.
INHABITAT: When and why did Panasonic decide to create the smart town? Was it related to the disasters of last year?
Mr. Ishio: In the beginning of 2007, Panasonic started to consult with Fujisawa City about how Panasonic could utilize the vacant land after we stopped production in our plants there. Fujisawa City focused on being an “Ecology-Oriented Town” in its city development strategy, while Panasonic has set its focus on becoming the “Number 1 Green Innovations Company in the Electronics Industry by 2018″. With similar overall aims in mind, Fujisawa City and Panasonic agreed to use the cleared land to contribute to society in terms of ecology.
Fujisawa SST was planned before the massive earthquake that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, so the earthquake damage was not the direct reason for Panasonic to start this project. But the earthquake put the Fujisawa SST project into sharper perspective, making it evident how much safer and more sustainable such a community could be in an emergency.