March 11th marked the one year anniversary of the tragic earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan, and triggered a catastrophic meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
As Japan tries to pick up the pieces from that disaster, its government has made very definite decisions to shift the country away from a reliance on nuclear power, and citizens have followed suit.
Instead of slapping together housing as quickly as during the weeks of power shortages that followed, Japanese developers chose to focus on building styles that would help the country remain operational should a similar disaster occur again. Several development companies began work on “green” apartments equipped with solar panels, and the buildings are already selling out.
Each apartment’s solar system comes with control panels and a display that compares energy generation and use on a month-to-month and year-to-year basis, according to the New York Times. The apartments also have batteries that kick in when grid-supplied energy is cut in emergencies.
Because they need to have full access to the sun throughout the day, many of these solar apartments are located outside the city limits, and are relatively small in size. But even these inconveniences and a price tag of around $400,000 aren’t preventing shell-shocked families from jumping at the chance for energy independence.
It’s unfortunate that the Japanese government needed a natural disaster to make them wake up and see the futility of nuclear power. What will it take to finally convince the United States?
Image via Thinkstock