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The University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts

The University Art Museum on the Ueno Campus of Tokyo University of the Arts implemented energy-saving measures when replacing its aging heat source equipment by high-efficiency models. Temperature and humidity must be precisely controlled to protect the valuable cultural assets the museum houses, but energy efficiency is nowadays increasingly demanded by society. Azbil, with its extensive knowledge of site operations, satisfied these conflicting demands by introducing high-efficiency devices and a BEMS to provide optimal control operation.

Seeking the best way to replace essential but aging facilities and make them energy-efficient while protecting cultural assets

Comfort is maintained for the many visitors to the entrance hall and exhibition areas.

Comfort is maintained for the many visitors to the entrance hall and exhibition areas.

Tokyo University of the Arts (TUA), which is a national university corporation, has always played a leading role in developing Japanese arts and culture. Today, in cooperation with various domestic and overseas universities and institutes, TUA is attempting to nurture world-class artists and to establish an international brand, “Geidai. ”

TUA established the University Art Museum in 1999 to house and display a collection of famous art works and graduates’ works inherited from one of its predecessors, Tokyo Fine Arts School. Many important cultural assets are kept in the storage rooms of the museum building, which has four stories above ground and four basement levels. Among the museum’s holdings are antiquities like “E Ingakyo” from the Tempyo period (710–794 A.D.), which is the oldest Japanese painting and a national treasure, and “Maki (Chinese black pine) and Maple Trees” from the Edo period, which was painted on a folding screen by Korin Ogata (1658–1716) and designated as an important cultural asset by the Japanese government, as well as modern works of art, such as “Avalokitesvara as a Merciful Mother ” by Hogai Kano (1828–1888), which is also an important cultural asset, and “Jo-no-mai” (Dance Performed in Noh Play) by Shoen Uemura (1875–1949).

To store such vulnerable and sensitive pieces of cultural heritage, proper environmental control of the storage areas is indispensable. From around 2012, the heat source equipment at the museum was beginning to show signs of malfunction due to age, and the university began to discuss replacing it.

“Keeping these important assets in optimal condition and protecting them from deterioration are key responsibilities of our museum. For that, we have to run the air conditioning equipment without interruption 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. On the other hand, the museum is also required to conserve energy as well as preserving cultural assets, and as a public educational and research institution, we at the museum need to take that into full consideration,” says Masato Satsuma, a professor at the University Art Museum.

The TUA’s Ueno Campus is classified as a “large facility” by the Tokyo Metropolitan Environmental Security Ordinance*1 and is obligated to achieve the CO2 emissions targets imposed by the ordinance. Since the museum had been responsible for one third of the energy consumption of the entire campus, it was a high-priority building for energy-saving measures. “In replacing our facilities, the challenge was to satisfy the two conflicting requirements of a high level of environmental control, which is essential for the protection of our collections, and energy efficiency—and to achieve both within a limited budget,” says a member of the Facilities Division at TUA.

This case study was published in the 2017 Vol.4 issue of the azbil Group's corporate magazine, azbil.