Basic Policy

Net Zero Energy Houses (ZEH) and other housing measures in Japan offer guidance to creating eco products as well as advocate excellent long-term housing as an asset.

By promoting ZEH-specification housing, Sumitomo Forestry reduces each household's primary energy consumption while also providing living spaces that are disaster-resistant and comfortable to live in year-round.

We provide environmentally friendly houses that meet the needs of each customer while contributing to the realization of a sustainable society.

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Promotion of Net Zero Energy House (ZEH) Specifications

ZEH Standardization
Target (FY2020)
80%*2

ZEH Standardization
Performance (FY2019)
51%*2

The household sector in Japan still has high level emission of CO2 although the trend has slowed down. Japan has launched policy targets that aim for more than half of all custom-built detached houses constructed by housing manufacturers and other companies to be ZEH compliant by 2020 in the measure to counter global warming approved by Cabinet decision in May 2016. The Fifth Strategic Energy Plan approved by Cabinet decision in July 2018 sets a goal that “aims to achieve ZEH (net zero energy houses) for more than half of the ordered detached houses newly constructed by home-makers, etc. by 2020 and for all newly constructed houses on average by 2030.”

ZEH is a scheme for housing to provide less than zero annual net primary energy consumption by combining equipment to generate energy such as high thermal insulation efficiency, energy-saving equipment, and solar power generation.

This standard responds to many of the Sustainable Development Goals, including not only Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all and Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts but also Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages and Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. The standardization of ZEH will contribute to building a sustainable society.

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 own unique Ryouonbou design, which takes advantage of natural blessings such as the wind and sun. 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 as well as the adoption of energy-saving equipment, and its technologies for the smart use of energy, such as equipment for generating and storing energy and HEMS*1.

Given the ZEH targets established by the Japan, Sumitomo Forestry has set a ZEH standardization target of 80%*2 by fiscal 2020, and had reached 51%*2 as of fiscal 2019. We are making greater insulation efficiency in buildings and around openings as well as built-in solar power generation systems basic specifications as of April 2017 in our new housing.

*1 Home Energy Management System— a system whereby residents can visualize the amounts of energy they generate and use

*2 Values include Nearly ZEH and ZEH Oriented while they exclude Hokkaido and Okinawa Pref. respectively. The fiscal 2019 results and 2020 targets for Hokkaido are, respectively, 0% and 51%. ZEH is defined as a primary energy reduction rate of 100% or more including renewable energy such as solar power generation systems while Nearly ZEH is defined as between 75% to 99%. ZEH Oriented is defined as a primary energy reduction rate of at least 20% (however, this is limited to housing built on narrow urban sites), excluding renewable energy.
This is a different indicator from the percentage of orders for ZEH type houses out of new custom-built detached homes (48.2% in FY2019 results/values based on orders for ZEH and Nearly ZEH) in the Mid-Term Sustainability Targets.

ZEH

Wooden Houses with Superior Insulation

If the thermal conductivity of wood is 1, the thermal conductivity of concrete would be almost 13 and steal upwards of 440. Wood as a material is a superior insulator to mitigate the transfer of heat. In addition, Sumitomo Forestry uses high-performance thermal insulators based on its own unique standards.

Comparison of Materials by Thermal Conductivity

Comparison of Materials by Thermal Conductivity

Unique Standards of Thermal Insulators of Sumitomo Forestry

Unique Standards of Thermal Insulators of Sumitomo Forestry

Limiting Energy Loss with Highly Insulating Glass

Windows cause the greatest loss of heat in living spaces. Shielding interior spaces from heat in the summer and preventing heat from escaping in the winter is vital. As windows cause the largest heat loss, Sumitomo Forestry uses low-E multi-layered glass with argon gas inside. Argon gas is injected between the multi-layers of glass to mitigate heat transfer to the air while the panes are coated with special metal film. The superior thermal insulation and insulation properties shield interior spaces from heat in the summer and prevent heat from escaping in the winter.

Insulation using low-E multi-layered glass

Insulation using low-E multi-layered glass

Heat Loss Ratio of Houses

Heat Loss Ratio of Houses

Double Power Generation

Sumitomo Forestry recommends the installation of solar power generation system, as well as residential fuel cell units. Double power generation can generate the necessary electricity for daily life in the home. Furthermore, Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) realize zero energy homes (ZEH specifications) by proficiently managing energy consumption throughout the home.

エネファームと太陽光発電パネルによるW発電

Trends in Installation Rates of Environmentally-Friendly Equipment (based on number of houses)

FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
Solar power generation systems 35% 48% 46% 51% 56%
Ene-Farm units 43% 34% 34% 35% 36%
Eco One*1 - 16% 18% 16% 17%
Environmentally conscious equipment installation rate*2 58% 68% 69% 72% 75%

*1 Hybrid electric and gas hot water and central heating systems

*2 Installation rate of solar power generation system or Ene-Farms until fiscal 2015. Fiscal 2016 includes Eco One on the left

Expanding Choices with the Launch of the Forest BF Design, a Home to Enjoy the Four Seasons

In September 2018, Sumitomo Forestry launched a renewed The Forest BF nationwide (excluding Okinawa), a detached house design that enables large, open spaces and built to ZEH specifications. The Forest BF represents a further structural enhancement of Sumitomo Forestry's original Big-Frame (BF) construction method for large, open spaces and wide openings among the features allowing for greater freedom in the use of space. The latest design renewal offers distinctive features of design coordinating diverse aspect of external appearance and interior, as well as providing abundant lifestyle that can feel the nature and the taste of Japan. While attending in particular detail to the overall design as well as interior and exterior materials, we developed these homes especially for the younger generation homeowners in their 30s, and those with design sensibilities, making this a product that can appeal to a wider range of customers than previously.

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.

Combining Comfortable Habitability and High Environmental Performance in The Forest BF

Combining Comfortable Habitability and High Environmental Performance in The Forest BF

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Renovating to Improve Function and Asset Value

Sumitomo Forestry Home Tech promotes renovations from energy-saving point of view. We propose the installation of energy-efficient equipment alongside better insulation efficiency as well as new life styles that decrease the energy consumed in daily life, realize reductions to the environmental impact, and decrease lifetime heating and lighting costs.

The insulation renovations can also mitigate health risks from heat shock.

We will continue to focus on seismic retrofitting proposals and actively strive to bring about excellent long-term housing in existing properties as well as long-term excellent extension and alteration standards by improving the performance in thermal efficiency, energy-savings and seismic retrofitting.

Sumitomo Forestry Home Tech has set a goal to improve the order rate of environmentally-friendly renovations in the Mid-Term Sustainability Targets announced in May 2019.

In fiscal 2019, we achieved a 52.4% total order rate for seismic construction, structural reinforcement work, insulation renovations, and smart material installations on standard property (other than owners of Sumitomo Forestry homes), exceeding our 50% target.

We were able to exceed our goals thanks to active promotion of seismic and structural reinforcement work that helps extend the lifespan of buildings as well as dramatic increase in the number of storage battery sales through storage battery proposals to customers who reached the fixed feed-in energy purchase period of solar power generation.

Needs for Environmentally-friendly renovations will continue to grow in the future in order to ready properties for potential natural disasters.

We have also begun renovations that adapt to a new style of life resulting from the impact of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19). In addition to providing telework environments, we propose comfortable and safe living spaces to enhance time spent at home.

Installation of a Thermal Insulator

Given Japan's establishment in recent years as a major tourism destination country, we began focusing efforts on renovation of hotels and inns. In fiscal 2017, Sumitomo Forestry joined the All Japan Ryokan Hotel Association*1 and Sumitomo Forestry Home Tech joined the Japan Ryokan & Hotel Association*2. Sumitomo Forestry Group enjoys strong name recognition, and is building a track record in renovations.

Before renovation

Before renovation

After renovation

After renovation

In fiscal 2017, Sumitomo Forestry and Kumagai Gumi Co. entered into a business and capital partnership and collaboration between Sumitomo Forestry Home Tech and K&E K.K., companies belonging to the respective corporate groups is in progress. Sumitomo Forestry Home Tech handles interior renovations optimizing wood, while K&E is in charge of building exterior and other renovations that fully leverage its comprehensive abilities as a general contractor. The partners participate jointly in events as they move forward. By renovating the whole building, we are able to heighten its value as an asset.

*1 The association promotes Japanese inns and hotels throughout Japan to be more sanitary facilities, conduct better maintenance and stable management among other aspects of accommodation businesses.

*2 The organization aims to help provide comfortable accommodations for travelers from within Japan and overseas, improve the level of hospitality service and otherwise work to realize Japan's status as a tourism destination country, develop local economies, and promote the national health.

Moving Higurashi Bettei, Shisakajima, Reopened as a Commemorative Hall

Higurashi Bettei was designed by Magoichi Noguchi, a renowned architect of the Meiji period. Built as a guest house and other purposes for the Sumitomo family in 1906, it is located on the island of Shisakajima in the Seto Inland Sea, about 20km off the shore of Niihama(where the copper mine was located).

As one of 20 Sumitomo Group companies involved in the project to move the structure to a hilltop location in the city of Niihama, Sumitomo Forestry Home Tech was engaged in the reconstruction of the structure, which opened to the public in November 2018 as the Higurashi Bettei Museum and conveys the history of Sumitomo.

The history behind the construction of Higurashi Bettei is that it was built as an adjacent structure when Sumitomo's copper smelter was moved to Shisakajima in order to overcome the smoke pollution in Niihama caused by the Besshi Copper Mine operation. More than 110 years after its construction, the building was deteriorating despite its many invaluable design features inside and out. In the relocation construction work, we used timber produced in Ehime Prefecture to build the structure with improved seismic resistance. Design features such as fireplaces, ceilings and floors were carefully dismantled from the original structure, and reconstructed upon relocation.

Exterior view

Exterior view

Interior

Interior

Cleaning drainage water stains

Cleaning drainage water stains

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Research and Development Related to Life Cycle CO2 (LCCO2)

Sumitomo Forestry has been engaged in the development of Life Cycle Carbon Minus (LCCM) housing to achieve negative CO2 emissions across the entire life cycle of homes. Today, we are underway with research and development for the purpose of reducing CO2 emissions throughout the life cycle in wooden structures besides housing.

The new research wing constructed at the Tsukuba Research Institute in 2019 achieved dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions thanks to an air-conditioning system with an absorption water chiller-heater base load heat source that uses energy from power generation from solar panels on the roof and wood pellets as renewable energy fuel. These technologies reduce the environmental impact in anticipation of zero energy buildings. By designing an inner courtyard with a three-story atrium at the center of the building with indoor greenery, and a skylight at the top, the new wing adopts technology to deliver sunlight to the plants on the first floor throughout all four seasons in an effort to actively use daylight. In addition, we have achieved reductions to the heating and cooling load by introducing natural ventilation that takes advantage of this atrium. In the future, Sumitomo Forestry intends to further these energy reduction efforts during operation founded in measurement data provided by an instrumentation system.

We have also begun cross-department initiatives throughout Sumitomo Forestry to reduce CO2 emissions from material procurement to construction and renovations similar to LCCM housing.

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Carbon Stock in the Housing and Construction Business

Trees retain CO2 as carbon even after they are turned into products. Constructing wooden houses can therefore be likened to building forests in the city. The total domestic carbon stocks* in timber that was used in construction of the houses in the MOCCA (timber solutions) business in fiscal 2019 reached 193,000 t-CO2. The Sumitomo Forestry Group contributes to measure to counter global warming by increasing carbon stocks for forests and cities.

* CO2 fixation is calculated by categorizing the actual amounts of timber used per tree species for new detached houses, rental housing, and MOCCA business, and calculating carbon content from the specific gravity of each tree species.

Carbon stock of the timber used in the construction of houses and MOCCA (timber solutions) business in Japan in fiscal 2019

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Housing Sales Adapted to Climate Change

Disaster Recovery Guidelines were put in place in the Housing and Construction Division and measures and action guidelines for operations were defined to quickly and accurately respond to damages from natural disasters to our customers' houses as they become more prevalent due to climate change. As one measure, we established a new Disaster Prevention Department in April 2020 as an office to guide disaster prevention measures that prepare for emergencies during ordinary times while taking the lead of each division and affiliated company in an emergency in order to minimize damage as much as possible.

On November 2016, BF-Si Resilience Plus was released to pursue security, safety and comfort when disasters such as earthquakes or flooding strike. The BF Method that boasts structural strength only offered by Sumitomo Forestry ensures the safety of buildings and provides functionality for an uninterrupted lifestyle until recovery even when lifelines are cut thanks to equipment such as enhanced storage space, solar power generation systems, wall-mounted electrical boards and water tanks. A video intercom with a network camera allows the interior to be clearly seen with a wireless camera as well as gives owners the ability to check the state of their house in a disaster even while out-and-about. The large storage space helps keep rooms clean in daily life while the original built-in furniture effectively prevents the furniture from toppling in an earthquake and can achieve a space in harmony with the interior.

Developing Disaster Recovery Support Services Using IoT

Addressing the Issue of the Time It Takes to Assess Disaster

Japan has many earthquakes, but in recent years, climate change has made natural disasters more serious with concentrated downpours, typhoons and other natural disasters causing extensive and frequent damage. In monetary terms, Japan accounts for 17% of the worldwide total of damage caused by natural disasters. In the 20 years until 2015, the total cost of damages was a staggering 47 trillion yen*.

Of course, the bigger the disaster, the longer the recovery efforts, and it now takes more time to assess the situation as well. For the Kumamoto earthquake that occurred in April 2016, it took about one and a half months for the government to conduct emergency safety checks of buildings aimed to prevent secondary disasters. Disaster victims expressed their anxieties, saying, “It takes too much time to get the information we need,” highlighting one of the biggest hurdles in speedy recovery efforts.

* Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters database (EM-DAT)

Quickly Gathering Data About Damaged Homes Using Sensing Technologies

Sumitomo Forestry is responding to such issues by developing services that promote quick recovery after disasters. Since 2017, we have been conducting trials of IoT services that utilize our analysis technologies. Specifically, we are conducting trial experiments using sensors to measure, gather and analyze data of buildings to determine their condition. We place several sensors throughout a house to acquire data, such as the magnitude of an earthquake’s tremors, flooding or other conditions, and gather this data through a network to analyze. At our Tsukuba Research Institute, we combine this data with the vast amount of data about earthquake resistance of wooden houses for high-precision analysis to create a technology that is uniquely ours.

We have expanded the proof of concept that began in the Kanto region to all 100 sites as of August 2020. In addition to further heightening the decision accuracy for service provision, we aim to engage in initiatives to ready infrastructure to ensure comprehensive collection and processing of enormous amounts of data while working hard toward actual implementation to ensure customer peace of mind and safety in the event of a disaster.

A sensor installed inside a wall of a house

Overview of How Data Is Gathered

Supporting the Speedy Recovery of Customers and Regions Affected by Disasters

If sensors installed in homes can be used remotely to determine the level of damage, we will be able to more quickly grasp, report and respond to the situation and arrange for repairs or other work to provide our customers the support they need. As engineers would no longer have to check each and every house, it would resolve the problem of taking too much time and can even be used for areas made inaccessible after a major disaster.

In addition, by utilizing this gathered data in different ways, we can develop new services that would give more people a sense of security. For example, we could collaborate with casualty insurance companies to provide quick damage assessments necessary for insurance benefits, which would help people rebuild their lives more quickly.

In addition, we could provide data to customers and local governments for emergency risk assessments that would help prevent secondary disasters. Furthermore, our data analysis results could promote development of technologies that enhance earthquake resistance and durability.

One example of how gathered data can be utilized

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Sales of Home in-line with Various Needs and Lifestyles

Sumitomo Forestry proposes housing to a broad range of customers from first time home buyers to married couples that plan to live with their children in multi-generational homes or who plan to live as a couple after their children are grown.

DUE CLASSO was released as custom-built housing for double-income families in August 2017. In response to needs such as efficient traffic lines and room plans easy for families to interact as well as storage ideas and the latest equipment, DUE CLASSO proposes Saku-kaji (prompt housework), Tomo-kaji (housework together) and Shin-kaji (new housework). These innovations are plentiful and help families spend a wonderful time together in this important space created through family cooperation. DUE CLASSO helps create a living space to achieve a leisurely lifestyle in both personal and professional life.

In addition, Forest Selection BF was launched to propose 1,000 carefully selected plans from approximately 300,000 proven custom-built homes in November 2017. This housing is realizing living suited to the needs and lifestyles of customers from a rich selection of choices.

Both of these products promote ZEH specifications to provide living spaces that value the lifestyle environment as well as the global environment.

We are also proposing five new plans that ensure a workspace in newly built homes as telework becomes more common due to lifestyle changes driven by the spread of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19). As a housing manufacturer that builds custom units in single-family spec homes, we use our expertise and design capabilities with which we have responded to the demand of more than 300,000 customers and provide homes integrating living and working spaces.

WORKING STYLE

WORKING STYLE

Integrated Work-Life Single-family Spec Homes

Integrated Work-Life Single-family Spec Homes

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Using More Domestic Timber in Home Products

Ratio of Domestic Wood of
Structural and Non-structural
Materials for each
MB Method Home FY2019
71%

Ratio of Domestic Wood of
Structural and Non-structural
Materials for each
BF Method Home FY2019
50

Sumitomo Forestry Home houses primarily take advantage of the Big-Frame Construction Method (BF Method) and the Multi-Balance Construction Method (MB Method). We have been striving to increase the ratio of domestic wood of structural members and non-structural materials used in these two construction methods. By fiscal 2019, we had achieved 50% and 71% for these two materials, respectively.

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Sustainability Report