CSR Information

Saving of Energy and Reduction
of Greenhouse Gas Emissions During Occupancy

Promotion of net zero energy house (ZEH) specifications

The household sector in Japan still has high level emission of CO2 although the trend has slowed down. The Japanese Government revised*1 the energy efficiency standards for housing and other buildings in October 2013, and these have been in full force since April 1, 2015. Compliance with the energy efficiency standards will gradually be made compulsory for all new houses and buildings by 2020.

Sumitomo Forestry provides approximately 8,000 custom-made detached houses a year in Japan with these circumstances as a backdrop. Therefore, we released Green Smart in 2014 to facilitate the building of high insulation efficiency, timber as a renewable resource and advanced technology while also providing living spaces that value both the living environment and the global environment.

Wood is conventionally a renewable natural resource that absorbs and stores CO2 during its growth process. As well as using wood for its principal structural members, Sumitomo Forestry has offered housing proposals where residents can live comfortably all year round by incorporating its Ryouonbou design, which takes advantage of natural blessings such as the wind and sun. “Green Smart” fuses the Company’s expertise in utilizing these “unique characteristics of wood and blessings of nature” together with its technologies for the “reduction of energy consumption” (such as improvements in thermal insulation) and its technologies for the “smart use of energy” (such as equipment for generating and storing energy, and HEMS*2). By boosting energy efficiency in the house, the Company seeks to reduce CO2 emissions during occupancy.

The Japanese Government’s 2014 Basic Energy Plan sets the goal to realize net Zero Energy Houses (ZEH) in regular new-builds by 2020. Sumitomo Forestry has set the goal to standard ZEH at 80%*3 by fiscal 2020, and it has reached 32% as of fiscal 2016. Our housing technologies outlined in the Green Smart leverage features of wooden materials and natural resources as they are in new-builds from April 2017, and the provision of ZEH will be promoted through further reinforcement of the insulation efficiency of buildings and openings and the installation of a solar power generation system as standard specifications to enable essentially zero annual consumption of primary energy.

  • *1 As a consequence of the revisions, the evaluation now covers comprehensive energy efficiency, including thermal insulation, the use of natural energy and installation of energy-efficient devices
  • *2 Home Energy Management System—a system whereby residents can visualize the amounts of energy they generate and use
  • *3 Values include Nearly ZEH while they exclude Hokkaido and Okinawa Pref. for their cold and hot weather respectively. The fiscal 2016 results and 2020 targets for Hokkaido are respectively 0% and 51%. While ZEH is defined as a primary energy reduction rate of 100% including solar power, Nearly ZEH is defined as between 75% to 100%.

Standardization of ZEH targets
(2020)

80*3

Standardization of ZEH results
(FY 2016)

32*3

Green Smart

Features of Green Smart

Reduction of Energy Consumption
  • Improves the thermal insulation performance of ceilings, external walls, floors, windows, etc.
  • Uses low-emissivity (low-E) double glazing filled with argon gas for large windows where the greatest heat is lost
Thermal insulation using low-E glass

Thermal insulation using low-E glass

  • Adopts aluminum and plastic composite frames with high insulation properties that uses low-emissivity (low-E) double glazing filled with argon gas for large windows in houses in the ZEH specifications (since April 2017)
  • (1) Strengthening insulation of structural framework (enhanced thermal insulation under flooring)
  • (2) Strengthening insulation of openings (thermal insulation frames)
Aluminum and plastic composite frames with high insulation properties

Aluminum and plastic composite frames with high insulation properties


Wooden House
  • Uses wood, which has lower CO2 emissions during the processing stage, and which has better thermal insulation compared to iron and concrete
  • The “Ryouonbou” design utilizes a sense of comfort brought about by nature
Thermal conductivity of different materials

Thermal conductivity of different materials


Smart Use of Energy
  • Installs solar power generation systems and residential fuel cell units (Ene-Farm)
  • Also installs household storage batteries and HEMS, which allows residents to visually gauge their energy usage
The HEMS screen

The HEMS screen

Trends in installation rates of environmentally conscious equipment (new orders)
  FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016
Solar power generation systems 45% 51% 43% 35% 48%
Ene-Farm units*1 41% 53% 51% 43% 34%
Eco One*2 16%
Environmentally conscious equipment installation rate*3 62% 72% 66% 58% 68%
  • *1 Fuel cell units for households
  • *2 Hybrid electric and gas hot water and central heating systems
  • *3 Installation rate of solar power generation system or Ene-Farms until fiscal 2015. Fiscal 2016 includes Eco One on the left

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Sales of The Forest BF Detached Houses that Achieve Open Spaces and ZEH Start

Sumitomo Forestry further evolved its unique Big-Frame Construction Method (BF Method) with the release of The Forest BF throughout Japan (excluding Okinawa Pref.) in April 2017. The Forest BF provides comfortable habitability in even more open spaces than before through flexibility in the height of ceilings and beams with new patented technology. In addition to offering insulation efficiency greater than the local standards, The Forest BF can also achieve ZEH, which requires zero or less primary energy consumption each year, through equipment such as solar power generation systems. Moreover, we have adopted versatile partitions that do not require structural materials to build a structure with less waste when changing room plans such as the partitions separating living areas for children and parents alike. This product aims to receive orders of 5,500 houses a year.

Combining Comfortable Habitability and High Environmental Performance in The Forest BF

Combining Comfortable Habitability and High Environmental Performance in The Forest BF

Overseas Development of Energy-Efficient Housing

In April 2010, Henley Properties (QLD) Pty Ltd. a Group company of Australia became the first company in Australia to make available a zero-emissions demonstration house that is expected to achieve energy-saving benefits of more than 70% compared to existing homes of a similar size. In March 2012, the company constructed a community place, under a zero-emissions model, in a residential lot in Southeast Melbourne in cooperation with local government. The building features a solar power generation system, a solar hot water heater, a 6,000-liter rainwater tank, and a home energy management system (HEMS). Combined with double-glazed windows and a concrete slab and walls providing excellent thermal insulation, the building has earned an eight-star energy rating*. In December 2012, the company completed a house for a general customer with a nine-star energy rating.

With environmental awareness increasing, the need for energy efficiency in Australia is mounting. Henley Properties is working to promote the widespread adoption of these homes.

Community place based on the zero-emissions model

Community place based on the zero-emissions model

  • * An evaluation of the energy burden for heating and cooling the inside of a building in Australia. Insulation, windows, the type, size and orientation of the building, and the climatic zone are all factors. The highest rating of 10 stars indicates that no heating or cooling whatsoever is needed to maintain a comfortable indoor living environment. Five stars indicates that the building has high insulation performance, but that a minimum of energy is required for heating and cooling

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Proposals for Energy-Saving Renovations

Sumitomo Forestry Home Tech Co., Ltd. promotes renovations from energy-saving points of view. This brings success in reducing the environmental impact by proposing solutions through thermo insulation as well as installation of facility equipment with high energy efficiency together with better basic home functionality such as seismic resistance and thermal efficiency. The insulation renovation, specifically, can mitigate the health risk from heat shock in addition to lower the cost of heating and lighting.

We propose new lifestyles that reduce the energy consumed in daily life and decrease lifetime heating and lighting costs by heightening insulation efficiency and using energy-saving equipment.

Number of energy-saving renovations*
Number of energy-saving renovations
  • * Number of renovated properties with a contract price of at least 8 million yen

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Research and Development of Life Cycle Carbon Minus (LCCM) Housing

Sumitomo Forestry is engaged in the development of Life Cycle Carbon Minus housing to achieve negative CO2 emissions across the entire life cycle of a home—from material procurement, occupation and renovation through to demolition and disposal—by using environmental sound equipment such as solar power systems.

The Sumitomo Forestry Group has also begun research into the efficient use of energy as a new initiative from fiscal 2016. We have advanced the preparations for solar power generation systems such as the creation of energy consumption models that estimate various family and lifestyle behaviors that include renovations of experimental facilities at the research center to conduct verification experiments to advance household consumption based on the demand for technology that effectively utilizes not only the conventional electricity sells but also power generated by other means in households with fixed price purchasing periods and output control as well as other measures. We will further testing that uses actual buildings and develop technology to efficiently use energy in the future.

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Offsetting CO2 through Project EARTH

The volume of CO2 emitted during the process of harvesting timber used for principal structural members through to the processing, transportation and construction of Sumitomo Forestry Home houses is around six tons per home. Sumitomo Forestry is implementing an initiative called “Project EARTH” in which this CO2 is offset through reforestation activities. The initiative will offset CO2 emissions for all custom-built and spec homes sold between fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2016, and involves planting around 4.8 million trees on a total 2,400 hectares of land and managing cultivation of those trees for 10 years after planting. Reforestation will take two forms—environmental reforestation aiming to revive ecosystems on degraded land, and industrial tree plantation to be advanced together with the community to both realize sustainable forest management and contribute to the region.

Project EARTH carried out in East Java, Indonesia
Project EARTH carried out in East Java, Indonesia
Project EARTH carried out in East Java, Indonesia

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Environmental Reforestation in an Indonesian National Park

Since fiscal 2009, Sumitomo Forestry has been carrying out an environmental reforestation project on degraded land in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, located in East Java, Indonesia. This had involved developing a 6-meter firebreak in the plantation forest stretching a total length of 12 km, as well as improving firefighting equipment and conducting patrols. However, in October and November 2014, fires broke out in areas outside the plantation forest. The fires spread, affecting about 400 hectares of previously afforested land, and the situation was that about half of the planted trees would wither and die.

In 2016, withered plantation trees were all replanted and effort is currently being poured into fire prevention measures by taking advantage of this training.

Site of the environmental reforestation project in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park fire extinguishing training

Site of the environmental reforestation project in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park fire extinguishing training

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Industrial Tree Plantation in East Java, Indonesia

Since fiscal 2010, Sumitomo Forestry has been carrying out an industrial tree plantation project in collaboration with the community, centered on Supiturang village at the foot of Mt. Semeru in Lumajang Regency, East Java. This is a sustainable forestry project whereby part of the profits from harvesting matured trees will be distributed to improve the livelihoods of community residents, while the remainder is used to cover the costs of replanting and cultivation and other expenses. By fiscal 2016, a total around 1,908 hectares of forest had been planted. The trees panted at the beginning of the project have already matured and due harvested. Therefore, replanting and logging are carried out simultaneously. The 206 hectares of forest owned by the KBM-KTI plantation cooperative that supports this project has also acquired the the FSC-FM (Forest Stewardship Council forest certification) on January 4, 2017.

Harvest in Supit Ulan village
Harvest in Supit Ulan village
Harvest in Supit Ulan village

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Toward the Future

The Sumitomo Forestry Group will continue to increase the performance and lower costs of thermal insulation and environmental devices found in communities and living environments to achieve an 80% ZEH standardization rate by fiscal 2020 in new housing construction. We will strive to standardize energy savings and energy creation for the global environment and comfortable lifestyles of customers. In the research and development of LCCM housing, we are also examining the utilization of fuels such as pellets for wood biomass energy as an effort related to the use of renewable energy which has not been taken advantage of up until now, We will continue sustainable management of environmental reforestation projects on overseas plantations in 2017. Sumitomo Forestry Group also plans to focus on cultivating seedbeds for Project Earth to operate community cooperative type industrial tree plantations independently with local residents.

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CSR Report2017