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KYOCERA Preserves the Environment with
“Green Curtains” of Foliage

Eco-friendly activity shades company facilities, conserving energy

August 25, 2009
As part of its environmental protection activities, the Kyocera Group is growing morning glories and goya (bitter gourd) to form “Green Curtains,” which are erected over trestles to shade portions of the outer walls and windows of manufacturing and office buildings at 12 locations throughout Japan. Through photosynthesis the plants absorb CO2, as well as create a screen over the windows preventing direct sunlight from raising the temperature of office interiors — thus reducing the need to use energy consuming air-conditioners.

Kyocera first started growing Green Curtains at its Okaya Plant in Nagano Prefecture, Japan in 2007 as part of its energy conservation / global warming prevention activities, and since then they have also been adopted at other Kyocera Group locations throughout Japan. This year, four new locations have been added, making a total of 12 locations.

This year, Green Curtains grown at Kyocera Group locations stretch a total length of 294m (965ft), covering a total area of 775m² (8,342ft²). The growth of these Green Curtains will be able to absorb roughly 2,713kg-CO2 (5981lb-CO2) per year,* or roughly the same amount as 194 cedar trees.**
  * CO2 absorption (3.5kg) X Area of Green Curtain (m²) = Volume of yearly CO2 absorption. (Source: Rural Culture Association Japan)
  ** One cedar tree absorbs 14kg/year of CO2. (Source: Forestry Agency of Japan)


Growth of the Green Curtain (Kyocera Sendai Plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan)
Photo: Growth of the Green Curtain June 15
June 15
Photo: Growth of the Green Curtain June 29
June 29
Photo: Growth of the Green Curtain July 6
July 6
Photo: Growth of the Green Curtain July 13
July 13
Photo: Growth of the Green Curtain July 21
July 21
Photo: Growth of the Green Curtain July 24
July 24


Thanks to the Green Curtain's ability to block out the strong summer sunlight from shining directly through the windows, Kyocera Okaya and Gamo plants no longer need to use air-conditioning in the offices during the morning hours — thus allowing them to conserve energy.

Furthermore, the soft green color of the foliage which shades the windows creates a relaxing atmosphere, which has become a topic of conversation for both employees and visitors at the various locations.

After experiencing the benefits of the Green Curtains at work, many employees have also taken up the activity at their own homes.
Photo: Green Curtain screening the windows at the Kyocera Okaya Plant
One portion of the 140m Green Curtain
screening the windows on the south side of
the Kyocera Okaya Plant building


Temperature Control Results of Green Curtains

By performing an infrared thermographic measurement of the outer wall area shielded behind the Green Curtains, and comparing it to the non-shielded areas nearby, Kyocera was able to confirm that the Green Curtains can decrease the temperature by as much as 15 degrees C (27 degrees F).

Photo: Measurement by Infrared thermograph
Date of measurement: Aug 3, 2009 (Mon) 9:20am
Conditions: sunny, 32.2 C (90 F)
Measurement device: Infrared thermograph
Graph: Measurement of the outer wall area shielded behind the Green Curtains, and comparing it to the non-shielded areas nearby temperature


Preventing Summer Fatigue with the Vegetables Grown

The goya (bitter gourd; a traditional summer vegetable of Okinawa) and peas that form the Green Curtains are harvested by the employees, and at most locations, used as part of a special lunch menu in the employee cafeteria. Goya, which is rich in nutrients, is widely used as an ingredient for the prevention of fatigue in the hot summer months in Japan. Moreover, the employees have enjoyed watching the plants grow, and being able to harvest the vegetables.

Scenes from the Kyocera Sendai Plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
Photo: Harvesting the goya vegetables
Harvesting the goya vegetables
Photo: Using the goya in the employee cafeteria
Using the goya
in the employee cafeteria
Photo: Special menu: Okinawa goya stir-fly
Special menu:
Okinawa goya stir-fly