YKK Stories

A journey around YKK global facilities – Passive Town

November 14, 2019
Author: YKK
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In the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the YKK Group moved a portion of our headquarters’ function to Kurobe, Toyama. There, we planned a project to address energy issues and it took on the form of Passive Town.




The project is being developed on a 36,100㎡ land in Kurobe owned by the YKK Group, which used to be the site of company housing. It offers a residential area that makes use of solar light and heat, underground water, seasonal winds and the rich greenery of trees. The residential homes being built are an attempt to cut back on energy consumption by around 50% – 60% compared to regular houses in the Hokuriku region, while balancing it out with comfortable living.

The plan is to build 250 residential buildings by 2025. Blocks No. 1 – 3 are already complete with 117 homes. Also available on the premise are commercial facilities, such as cafés. In this way, we are contributing to the development of a convenient and open community.

In addition, external experts are leading assessment work on the town’s energy consumption performance and passive design based on actual measurements and exchanging opinions with the residents to verify the lifestyle. These assessment results are not only reflected in our product development, but also published outside the company in the hope of contributing to the construction industry as a whole.

YKK collaborated with three world-renowned architects: Mr. Fumihiko Maki, Yuichiro Kodama and Miwa Mori. All three architects brought their own design expertise to come up with architectural solutions that followed the theme of energy efficiency.

In an interview with Mr. Kodama about the creation of Passive Town, he discussed the increasing pursuit of passive design. “Due to the growing environmental awareness triggered by energy crises and global environmental issues, questions have been raised as to how to integrate the interior and exterior relationships of buildings and how to create sustainable relationships between humans and nature.” He continues:

“We named our housing development PASSIVETOWN to express a rapport between it and the natural environment of Kurobe.”

Additionally, the team of experts included Professor Shunsaku Miyagi, Placemedia Landscape Architects, who was in charge of the landscape design.  When discussing the rich environment of Kurobe, Professor Miyagi shared that “Kurobe has rich underground water sources and flowing water is everywhere in the city. A land rich in water also has rich soil. I thought it would be possible to build buildings by making good use of local vegetation.”

“A land rich in water also has rich soil. I thought it would be possible to build buildings by making good use of local vegetation.”

In 2017, Building K, Third Block, of Passive Town became the first in Japan to be named winner in the 2017 LEED Homes Awards. LEED*2 is a certification system developed and operated by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for environment-friendly building construction and area development.

Stay up to date with all things Passive Town at: https://www.passivetown.jp/ (Japanese only)