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Kurashiki-Style ESCO Business

In Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Azbil is operating an ESCO business, working to repair aging equipment and take energy-saving measures to extend the life of public facilities. Various measures have been implemented in three buildings, such as improving HVAC efficiency, introducing solar power generation, and using a BEMS for central monitoring. In a difficult financial situation, it was possible by utilizing ESCO services to repair aging equipment and to improve energy efficiency, and the same method is now being expanded to other public facilities.

Kurashiki-Style ESCO Business

Kurashiki is located in the southern part of Okayama Prefecture. Facing Japan’s Inland Sea, the city is blessed with abundant nature and a mild climate, and has been an important point for maritime traffic in Japan’s Inland Sea since olden times. The city has abundant tourist resources throughout the year, including the Bikan district, where the scenery of whitewalled warehouses and townhouses that retain the atmosphere of the Edo period (1603–1868).Tourists come from Japan and abroad.

Today, local governments nationwide have an urgent need to maintain and manage the infrastructure necessary for daily life in response to the declining population and diversifying needs of residents. Above all, applying countermeasures for the deterioration of public facilities constructed during the period of high economic growth is an extremely urgent matter for local governments. Kurashiki is known for its advanced efforts to address this issue, and the city’s Public Property Utilization Office (part of the Planning and Finance Department) has taken the lead in extending the life of facilities that should continue to be used and in optimizing the amount of energy usage.

In 2012, the city decided that equipment renovation in three buildings, Life Park Kurashiki, which is a core facility for the lifelong learning of citizens, the Kurashiki Fire Department Joint Government Building, and the Kojima Fire Department, would be made by utilizing a National Treasury Subsidy project as well as an ESCO business plan.*1 Because of a difficult financial situation, the city decided to focus on countermeasures for aging equipment and achieving greater energy efficiency.

This case study was published in the 2021 No.1 issue of the azbil Group's corporate magazine, azbil.