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Osaka Gas believes that technologies serve as the foundation of corporate competitiveness, and considers R&D to be one of the most important elements in the strategy to make a difference.
For this reason, Osaka Gas works actively on R&D and commercialization of new technologies, as presented below.
A “Smart Energy Building” features a mechanism to enhance energy conservation. Specifically, “equipment” technologies (e.g., utilization of renewable energy and introduction of high-efficiency equipment) are combined with “system”technologies (e.g., energy measurement and management in buildings), while focusing on “human behavior,” to achieve further reduction in CO2 emissions.
In recent years, energy conservation measures for office buildings have drawn public attention. To achieve zero-energy buildings (ZEBs) with zero net primary energy consumption annually, a new perspective is required in addition to advanced “equipment” and “systems.”
For this reason, Osaka Gas has also employed energy conservation measures reflecting “people’s behavior” in combination with “equipment” and “systems” solutions.
Osaka Gas renovated Hokubu Office Building for energy conservation as a "Smart Energy Building" in July 2012.
Specifically, Osaka Gas incorporated the observation of tenant behavior into the design process of Hokubu Office Building for renovation.
Challenges for energy conservation arising from subconscious mind and behavior of tenants were identified through the behavior observation, questionnaires and interview surveys for tenants, and its solutions were integrated into the renovation project. This section presents three efforts focused on people's behavior that have been introduced in Hokubu Office Building.
■Detecting human presence by using IP phone terminals
The human presence detection function of telephone terminals (in-house mobile phone terminals) is used for energy conservation control.
The behavior observation revealed personal differences in thermal sensitivity. Therefore, it was necessary to create "the suitable air conditioning environment" for personal attributes. This function is designed to control air conditioning by identifying personal attributes in a zone according to their mobile terminal IDs. This makes it possible to control air conditioning as needed in required locations and to provide comfortable working environment and energy saving.
A cooling room has been established.
For example, in summer, a cooling room provides employees with comfort and refreshing coolness by reducing their metabolism when they returns from outside to the office.
Rather than returning directly to the desk in a office from outside, employees feel refreshed in a cooling room so that they do not have to lower the temperature in the office. It contributes to energy conservation.
The interactive BEMS (BEICS*) has been installed. This is the communication tool among designers, facility managers and tenants. Though the conventional BEMS had been solely used by designers and facility managers, Osaka Gas modified it into an interactive communication system with tenants. It encourages tenants to behave voluntarily in energy saving.
This system visualizes the detailed situation of energy consumption in Hokubu Office Building. It contribute to raise awareness about energy conservation. Tenants can submit reports on their thermal sensitivity from their own PCs and perticipate in air conditioning management. It realizes approvable control of air-conditioning.
Also, it promotes active communication with tenants by providing a message board and setting topics they are interested in.
*Building Energy & Interactive Communication system
We developed and installed an appropriate system for small-sized office building in Fukiai building based on the concept of “Smart Energy Building.”
It introduces the simplified BCP*1 system with stand-alone power generation GHP and the lighting/air-conditioning control system with motion sensors.
*1 Business continuity planning
■ Simplified BCP system with stand-alone power generation GHP
We composed the simplified BCP system with Gas-engine Heat Pump (GHP) of autonomous operation for small-sized office buildings. This system enables to keep the minimum business activities in times of disaster in such a small building having no emergency power generator.
In Fukiai office, GHP EXCEL plus (2.5kW*2 x 2 units) having autonomous power generation supplies preferentially to the specific loads necessary in times of disaster, such as communication devices, parts of lightings and power outlets Just in case of city gas supply failure, we can provide the alternative fuel supply for the GHPs for more than 24 hours by attaching it LPG cylinders(50kg x 5) in the from of LPG-Air fuel gas.
Also, photovoltaic power generator (1.5kW*2 at autonomous operation) having autonomous power generation supplies electricity for charging laptop PCs and mobile phones.
*2 In case that the phase factor of AC power is 100%.
Moreover, BEICS is displays real-time information that visualize the amount of electric available commercial power for effective utilization at the commercial power failure.
■ Lighting/air-conditioning control system with motion sensors
Motto Save, the simplified BEMS system, realizes the visualization of lighting/air-conditioning control and available energy.
The system collects the information from motion sensors and thermal sensors in the office, and controls the lighting and air-conditioning depending on the number of people for energy saving.
A motion sensor mounted on the ceiling detects the number of people within the area about 6m X 6m. According to the information, the system controls on/off setting of lighting/air-conditioning and corrects the set value in response to the measured temperature.