Heat is the topic of this summer: Asahi Shimbun is introducing trend setters, who reduce the “heat island” effect in Tokyo. The new Sony Corp. office building in Osaki will be covered with special ceramic pipes, which will circulate rainwater around the building’s exterior. Therefore unlike traditional buildings that retain heat and then warm their surrounding areas, the 25-story Sony building will actually perspire water when temperatures are at their height. The pipes were jointly designed by Sony, Nikken Sekkei Ltd. (architectural design company) and TOTO Ltd. (housing equipment maker). These pipes are made of a porous ceramic that allows the water to permeate and then slowly evaporate from the outside of the pipes. Toriyama san from TOTO expects from the evaporation process the temperature of the surrounding air to be reduced by about 2 degrees.
Another Japanese housing equipment maker is not standing still and sees the heat island effect as a business chance. According to Asahi Shimbun INAX Corp. is developing for rooftops a special ceramic with a particularly high water-retention capability. The new light material is made from baked and hardened waste soil and can absorb water up to about 60 percent of its weight. The goal is to absorb the rainwater and then during the dry period let the moisture evaporate, while cooling the building and its environment. According to INAX Corp during an experiment last summer, water absorbed by the ceramic took 10 days to disperse, cooling the surface of a concrete building by up to 18 degrees. Apart from the reduced heat island effect one further advantage is that material can absorb water during torrential rain, therefore reducing risks of flooding.
I expect in the near future a rising demand for solutions to keep the effects of heat islands down in cities throughout Asia. At the end cooling the surounding “naturally” with water is desirable for the building management, as it will have positive effects on the electricity bills for the companies (increasing office temperature any further is unthinkable presently with the common 28 C).
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)