Energy standards promoted

Kyodo News

Japan will make its energy-saving standards for new homes and buildings mandatory in the future to promote energy conservation, land minister Seiji Maehara said Friday.

The standards, covering thermal insulation and other energy-saving improvements to windows and outer walls, are currently characterized as nonbinding targets.

The government will soon create a panel to consider the scope of mandatory energy-saving standards, and compile recommendations by the end of this year, Maehara said.

Maehara also said the government plans to expand its housing Eco-point initiative to gradually raise the percentage of homes and buildings meeting the energy-saving standards from the current 10 percent.

The initiative, under which reward points are issued for purchases of energy-saving glass, windows and thermal insulation materials for new housing construction and renovation, could be expanded to cover solar photovoltaic panels and water heaters as well.

“We would like to encourage new investment and invigorate the housing market to accelerate energy conservation in homes and buildings,” Maehara said.