PHOTOS: Japan's Most Efficient Home

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Panasonic’s Eco Navi house in Osaka, Japan is just a concept model for now, but it may soon be the norm for Japanese residences (and later in the U.S.). The entire home is remarkably more efficient than the average dwelling: 70 percent lower emissions and 30 percent more water savings. But Eco Navi is more than just numbers. It’s a design-lover’s dream.

Eco Navi House, Panasonic, Osaka Japan

Eco Navi House in Osaka, Japan. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911

No design in the Eco Navi house isn’t without a specific function. It’s outfitted with your everyday household appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines and lights. The difference is that each of these appliances are significantly more efficient than most on the market today.

Eco Navi House, Panasonic, Japan, Osaka

Eco Navi's back porch made of recycled materials. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911

Eco Navi has a sensor that detects human presence. It uses this to direct heat and AC so that no energy is wasted on heating and cooling empty spaces and rooms. Additionally, it is outfitted with large windows to allow for direct sunlight in order to capture adequate lighting and store heat.

Eco Navi House, Panasonic, Japan, Osaka, solar panel

Eco Navi's energy is supplied by solar power and a household fuel cell unit. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911

The energy used in the Eco Navi home is generated from solar panels and Panasonic’s revolutionary fuel cell system, which harnesses hydrogen and oxygen for power.

Eco Navi House, Panasonic, Japan, Osaka, stove, cooking

Eco Navi's IH stovetop. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911

Eco Navi’s IH stovetop generates very little heat. In fact, there is no direct fire, which makes for a cooler cooking environment, leading to less energy used to power the AC. Additionally, its ventilation hood is linked to the stovetop and can detect fan speed and when it should be turned on and off.

Eco Navi House, Panasonic, Japan, Osaka, toilet, Japanese toilet

The Eco Navi's toilet is energy- and water-saving. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911

Most toilets in Japan have heated seats (pretty sophisticated!). In order to keep the toilet seat warm, energy is used 24/7. Eco Navi’s toilet is different as it only powers on when it detects your presence. It raises the heat to the average comfortable temperature is just six seconds.

Eco Navi House, Panasonic, Japan, Osaka, laundry, washing machine

Eco Navi's washing machine saves 35 liters of water in just one week. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911

Doing laundry in Eco Navi is a cinch. The special washing machine by Panasonic detects the amount of dirt and material in clothes and adjusts its settings accordingly. After all, you wouldn’t wash baby clothes on the same setting as a load of towels. The savings add up quickly in this room: Just one week of laundry with the Eco Navi washer saves a whopping 9.24 gallons of water in just one week.

Editor’s Note: The Panasonic Corporation covered the travel expenses for this reporter.

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