After the nuclear accident at the Fukushima I power plant only few of Japan’s nuclear power plants remain in operation, mostly because plants that were shut down for maintenance may not be restarted before undergoing extra safety checks. This leads to a power shortage, and we need to save power to prevent blackouts. Air conditioning is responsible for a large part of home and office power consumption during summer, so people are looking for other ways to keep rooms cool or deal with the heat. One of the means used at Tohoku University are so-called “Green Curtains”: Nets have been placed at the sides of some buildings and climbing plants planted to grow up along them, providing shadow that helps keeping the building interior cool. The photo below shows a green curtain growing on the south side of lecture building B at Kawauchi campus.
It still has to grow quite a bit to cover the whole building side, but it’s already looking nice and green. 🙂