Japanese follow trees

Posted by Rumin Mann
June 18th, 2010

Thirty delegates from Japanese home builder Mitsui Homes Co. were in Prince George last week to see first-hand Canadian sustainable forestry practices.

Delegation leader Takenobu Nozawa said the delegation included executives, carpenters, designers and customer support staff. The team planted trees and followed the life cycle of trees from the seedling nursery to harvest to sawmill.

In addition, they learned about the forestry and bioenergy research taking place at UNBC.

“We’ve built 200,000 units of housing in Japan. We see lumber, but we have never seen the process of lumber being manufactured,” Nozawa said.

By understanding B.C. sustainable harvesting and reforestation policies, Mitsui will better be able to promote wood construction in Japan, he said.

“Mitsui Homes is looking at producing more green homes,” he said. “People are more aware of the environmental and health sides of housing. They want more environmentally friendly buildings. By using Canadian wood we can appeal to our customers.”

Construction manager Ishibara Shuhei said Mitsui Homes is looking to build homes which will last for generations.

“The concept with Mitsui Homes is building homes that a family can live in for a long period of time – 100-200 years,” Shuhei said. “Trees plant from a single seed and grow into a strong tree. We want to use this concept in the homes we build.”

Mitsui Homes Canada senior vice president Dave Fisher said B.C. plays a critical role in Mitsui Homes’ operations by providing quality building materials.

“What we do here has a profound impact on the parent company. Having them here gives them a better sense of our role,” Fisher said. “When it comes time to make changes, they will have a better understanding of why those changes are needed. The more they can work with us here, the stronger our relationship will be.”

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