Zipper company’s passive town attracts residents despite high rent

YKK Passive Town 2

YKK Real Estate, a division of the YKK Group (the world’s largest zipper manufacturer), is developing a passive town in Kurobe City, Toyama Prefecture. The concept is to create comfortable housing designed for the environment that will reduce the need for air-conditioning.

The first phase of housing was completed in early 2016. Apartments in the 36-unit housing block do not have air-conditioning units. Instead, the building is cooled using circulating water from Toyama’s underground water system which is sourced from the Kurobe River.

YKK Passive Town 3

YKK Passive Town 1

The building was designed to take in the region’s summer breezes from the Sea of Japan, while wood biomass generators and solar heating panels provide water heating.

Rents for 1-Bedroom apartments start from 128,000 Yen/month (approx. 1,250 USD), and 85 sqm (915 sq.ft) 2 and 3-Bedroom apartments are up to 197,000 Yen/month (approx. 1,930 USD), making them the most expensive rental apartments in the prefecture. 80% of the apartments are already occupied.

YKK’s passive town is being developed on the 36,100 sqm site of the company’s former staff dormitory. By 2025, YKK plans to have built over 250 apartments in the town.

Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, July 31, 2016.
YKK Group Social & Environmental Report 2015.

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