The government is set to introduce a new system this autumn to promote highly energy-efficient homes amid growing public awareness of the need for energy conservation in light of the nuclear crisis triggered by the March 11, 2011, disasters.
The system will feature tough energy-efficiency standards and offer tax breaks to homes that clear them. It is also expected to help cut carbon dioxide emissions.
Under the new system, homes with energy-efficiency standards that better existing criteria by 10 percent or more will be eligible for tax breaks. While the existing standards are based on heat-insulation and airtightness, the land ministry plans to add such standards as the production of electricity through photovoltaic power generation.
Homes authorized by prefectural governments will be allowed 10-year income tax breaks of up to ¥1 million on top of those available for other housing. Registration and license taxes will also be cut to facilitate purchases of certified homes.
But homes located far from downtown areas will not be authorized, even if they are designed for low-energy consumption. “Sharp cuts in carbon emissions cannot be expected as residents (of such homes) will use vehicles a lot for shopping and commuting,” a senior ministry official said.
With the new system, the ministry aims to encourage the creation of communities in which commercial, medical, welfare and other facilities are within walking distance of homes.