Japan debuts 'green' highway rest stop

Nov. 21, 2012 at 6:57 PM

TOKYO, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Japan's first environmentally friendly highway rest stop and service area opened for business Wednesday on the island of Kyushu, the highway operator announced.

West Nippon Express Company said the "Yamada Service Area" on the Oita Expressway -- located midway between Fukuoka Prefecture and Oita Prefecture -- opened to travelers following two years of construction.

The environmentally friendly rest stop includes a solar plant equipped with about 4,000 solar panels installed in the facing slopes of the service area, as well as on the roof of buildings, generating power equivalent to the combined consumption of 300 households, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The facilities' public toilets use only recycled water from the area, the highway company said.

West Nippon Express Company said in introducing the first environmentally friendly highway service area in Japan, its goal was for the rest stop to be fully independent of the grid.

The company said it expected public interest in the facility to be high.

"Yamada Service Area will be a 'new' tourist spot visited by many travelers coming to Kyushu," company spokesman Hoshihiro Takeshita said.

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