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Osaka Municipal Central Wholesale Market (Honjo Market)

The Osaka Municipal Central Wholesale Market, also known as the Honjo (Central) Market, serves as Osaka’s “kitchen,” supporting the eating habits of residents. It is a center for collecting, distributing, and trading vegetables, fruit, and marine products. Recently Azbil upgraded the cooling towers for the aging freezers and refrigerators at the market, as well as the equipment for the HVAC system, using an ESCO business model. Thanks to a variety of measures that went beyond mere upgrading of the equipment, Azbil provided significant energy savings, greatly exceeding the initial targets.

Aiming for energy savings for the entire market using an ESCO plan to upgrade cooling towers and HVAC equipment

The Osaka Municipal Central Wholesale Market opened in its present location, Noda in Fukushima Ward, in November 1931 and was the largest general market in Asia at that time. Since then, together with the Tobu (East) Market, which opened in Higashi-Sumiyoshi Ward in 1964 to respond to the increased business that accompanied the rapid growth of the Japanese economy, the Honjo Market has supported the eating habits of Osaka-ites as the city’s “kitchen,” handling vegetables, fruit, and marine products. At present, over 260 billion yen changes hands there every year, making it the third largest market in Japan (after the Toyosu Market and Ota Market).

It is widely known that Osaka, which operates the market, has pioneered energy conservation measures at public facilities using an ESCO business model* ahead of other local governments in Japan. Starting with the Osaka City General Hospital in 2005, the ESCO business model has been used at several facilities, including city offices, sports facilities, research institutes, and museums.

“At the Honjo Market, the cooling towers for the freezers and refrigerators, and the hot and chilled water generating equipment for the HVAC system, had been operating for more than 20 years, and their age had become noticeable. As part of the ESCO project, we decided to upgrade to more efficient models in order to save energy,” explains Honjo Deputy Director Isao Fujii.

For this purpose, the city of Osaka established requirements for developing an ESCO project, which was to continue for a maximum of 15 years from fiscal 2018, and ran a public tender in June of 2016. In the competition, which was judged by private experts, Azbil Corporation was selected as the best supplier based on its proposal of a 10% or more energy savings rate target for the entire market, utilizing business support subsidies that are available for reducing energy consumption.

“The selection process assessed specific effects, such as the reduction of energy use and of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, as well as details on the results of the ESCO project, proposed innovations, construction plans, and the maintenance regime afterwards. The suppliers were scored on these points, and Azbil’s proposal came out with the highest overall rating,” says Honjo Subsection Manager Junji Nakajima.

These case studies were published in the 2020 No.3 issue of the azbil Group's corporate magazine, azbil.