HIGHLIGHT 2 Building Homes that Protect Lives and Lifestyles

In recent years, there has been an increase in large-scale natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons, causing significant economic damage and threatening our society and lifestyles. By providing safe and reliable housing, Sumitomo Forestry wants to contribute to protecting people’s lives and lifestyles.

Guard Life

Sumitomo Forestry Homes – Resistant to Earthquakes, Fires and Typhoons

Sumitomo Forestry’s wooden homes utilize a unique Big Frame (BF) construction method as one of its distinct characteristics. This method uses posts that are approximately five times thicker than standard posts as the primary structural material. These posts are then secured with strong metal for high resistance to external forces such as earthquakes. Using a three-story actual-sized model home, we conducted tests to confirm that our houses can withstand the shaking and repeated aftershocks of an earthquake on the scale of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. In addition, our houses have adopted the Ministerial Ordinance on Semi-Fireproof Houses as a standard specification, which in terms of fire insurance, make them equivalent to reinforced concrete construction (RC construction) and steel frame construction buildings. In addition, our houses can withstand winds of 88m/second, much higher than Typhoon Faxai (highest wind speed: 57.5m/second) that hit the Tokyo metropolitan area in 2019. Sumitomo Forestry houses are resistant to earthquakes, fires, typhoons and other natural disasters.

Houses That Protect Lives – Offering Safety to Customers and the Community

With the Nankai Trough Earthquake, major typhoons and other natural disasters forecasted in the near future, customer awareness of disaster prevention is growing yearly. To respond to these needs, we want to build more homes that are resistant to disasters and give both customers and communities a sense of security and safety that their lives are protected even in the event of a disaster.

Zero Damage in a Scale-7 Intensity Seismic Tremor

Mr. I, a resident of Mashiki in Kumamoto Prefecture, was away from home when the Kumamoto Earthquake of 2016 hit. He decided to take refuge in his parents’ home. Several days later, he checked in on his own home and was surprised to discover that despite two scale-7 earthquakes, there was little change either inside or outside to indicate that an earthquake had occurred. Even with strong aftershocks, the house did not creak, giving him a sense of security that the house was safe.

Page Top

Keep Life

The Thinking Behind “Taking Refuge at Home”

Many people after a large-scale disaster find themselves falling ill. And sometimes it takes days before utilities such as electricity and running water are restored.

What is important during times like these is the thinking behind “taking refuge at home.” However, with the fear of aftershocks, with the lack of electricity or water, this was not possible.

Sumitomo Forestry’s ZEH houses are not only earthquake and fire resistant, but they have high insulation properties, as well. In addition, electricity produced with solar power generation systems can be stored in energy storage systems, which combined with Enefarm household fuel cells, can supply power for up to eight consecutive days, enabling the use of hot water and floor heating. Because hot water stored with Enefarm can be used for daily needs, occupants can safely and securely take refuge at home even when various essential utilities are disrupted.

A Low-energy Lifestyle That Reduces Environmental Burden in a Healthy, Comfortable Way

Of course, the benefits of Sumitomo Forestry’s ZEH houses are evident not only during times of disaster. With high insulation properties and energy-saving housing equipment, occupants can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while reducing their energy consumption. In addition, Sumitomo Forestry ZEH houses, which use high-insulation wood, can protect the health of the people who live in them, such as preventing violent fluctuations in blood pressure due to sudden changes in room temperatures when bathing or getting out of bed in the winter.

Taking Refuge at Home Made Possible with Double Power Generation

Mr. S's house is located in the central area of Boso Peninsula, Chiba Prefecture in Japan, and was directly hit by Typhoon Faxai in September 2019. Several hours of this record-setting storm resulted in a power outage that lasted three-and-a-half days, forcing many to evacuate to shelters. However, Mr. S’s family used their solar power generation system and Enefarm to get electricity both day and night. They were able to use air conditioning and other electric products and take refuge at home in a manner that was almost like life as usual.

Page Top

Comment from the Branch Manager

I am in charge of the Boso Peninsula, Chiba Prefecture, an area that was heavily damaged by a typhoon in 2019. I am proud of the fact that right after the typhoon, many customers called to express their gratitude, saying that their homes were almost totally unscathed and that they were able to stay safe at home even with the disaster thanks to the installation of Enefarm. In recent years, I am sensing a change in customer needs with an increase in natural disasters. In particular, people are expressing more interest in ZEH houses, home energy storage systems and Enefarm for its safety features, and the ratio of orders for these products has increased significantly. As one of the people in charge of creating the Ichihara Exhibition Space, which enables customers to have a hands-on experience of these types of equipment, I am strongly promoting these features as a means for current and future generations to live safely.

Hirotsugu Mori,
assistant manager,
Chiba Branch,
Housing and Construction Division

Page Top

Sustainability Report