Panasonic Builds an Eco & UD Model House in Tokyo
- Bringing its vision of a future home to life -
Osaka, Japan - Panasonic, the leading brand by which Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is known, today announced the completion of the Eco & UD (universal design) House, a life-size model house that embodies the company’s commitment to ecology and the principles of universal design. Located within the complex of Panasonic Center Tokyo, it will be open to the public on January 4, 2006 for visitors to experience innovative and futuristic living in the context of a typical home setting.
The House is built and filled with Panasonic’s products, technologies and ideas, offering total home solutions for comfortable living and a new lifestyle in an ecologically sound environment. For example, the House employs fuel-cell co-generation and solar power generation systems. To increase energy efficiency and reduce the warming effect of the urban heat islands, it is topped with a green roof.
Panasonic is addressing global warming issues both at factory and product levels. To accelerate reductions in household greenhouse gas (GHG) emission of its products, the company has adopted an indicator, “Factor X,” to assess the level of impact the products have on the global warming during their lifetime.*
The House has already achieved a Factor 5 rating Panasonic set for the year 2010 with advanced, energy efficient products. They include a self-cleaning air conditioner, a hydro-fluorocarbon free refrigerator, a dish washer and a tilted-drum washer and dryer which clean with significantly less amount of water and long-life LED lighting devices which virtually do not need to be replaced.
All these products have adopted the universal design concept. Panasonic is using its expertise and ingenuity to develop products that are easy and safe for all people to use. For instance, Panasonic conducted scientific studies to understand vision impairment caused by cataracts and developed a goggle to simulate the condition. Using the goggle, the company has developed a design guideline detailing colors, contrast, type size and other factors to enhance its products for the visually impaired. Furthermore, Panasonic equipped some products with voice guidance for easy operation of sophisticated digital devices. The House incorporates the company’s efforts towards UD in an everyday living environment.
The House is designed to accommodate diversity in age and abilities. The corridors are wide enough to allow wheelchair access and handrails are installed to aid walking and prevent accidents. Furniture and fixtures in the House have rounded edges and are set at a height the users can access comfortably from sitting in a chair.
A large-screen plasma TV plays an integral role within the House as an information window. The TV is used to control and manage energy usage in the House and can monitor the House for security purposes. The TV also serves as entertainment and communication windows allowing the user to access or purchase movies and music on-line and enables people to interact.
The House consists of eight rooms including a concept room, a ubiquitous living room, an Eco & UD kitchen, an energy corner with a fuel-cell co-generation system, an intelligent entrance equipped with an iris recognition system, a high-quality home theater with a universal remote control for operating all AV equipment and a bedroom that promises a good sleep with bedding, light, sounds, and air conditioning controlled.
The Eco & UD House will be open every weekend and on national holidays following the January 4 official opening.
*“Factor X” is a yardstick that will allow products to realize the dual objective of the improvement of quality of life and the reduction of environmental impact during the entire product life cycle. It can be calculated by dividing improvement of QOL (set at 2 based on the number of functions that the products perform) by minimizing environmental impact (set at 0.4 based on the volume of GHG emitted by the products per year). The greater the numeric value of “X,” the better the product becomes. More details on the “Factor X” can be found at http://panasonic.co.jp/eco/en/factor_x/.
Best known by its Panasonic brand name, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial needs. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated net sales of US$81.44 billion for the year ended March 31, 2005. The company’s shares are listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, New York (NYSE:MC), Euronext Amsterdam and Frankfurt stock exchanges. For more information on the company and the Panasonic brand, visit the company’s website at http://panasonic.co.jp/global/index.html.
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