Finalist

Sustainable Development Strategy of the Year Award

Chiba University of Commerce

Finalist of the Sustainable Development Strategy of the Year Award

"The First 100% Renewable Energy University in Japan"


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Summary

In January 2019, the Chiba University of Commerce, or CUC, became the First 100% Renewable Energy University for electricity, out of 786 universities in Japan, by offsetting the electricity we consume on campus with the renewable energy we generate both on campus and on the Mega- Solar Farm off campus. We are the first, and as of December 2019, without a second, as no other university in Japan has achieved this yet. Though RE100 is usually applied to the consumption of electricity, our challenge is to take it to the next level and become the first truly 100% renewable energy university in Japan, making our renewable energy generation equal to our total energy consumption, i.e. electricity plus gas, by March 2021. As of October 2019, we have achieved 112.4% of our electricity consumption, and 89.7% of our total energy consumption from renewable energy. To achieve this goal, we will continue to work on three aspects: hardware, software, and “heartware.” Hardware refers to the photovoltaic panels on our Mega-Solar Farm and all our available rooftops, and the LED lights installed throughout the campus. Software refers to the Energy Management System, or EMS, which optimizes our power consumption and generation and makes them visible. “Heartware” refers to the mindset and attitude which lead to concrete action of everyone involved, from university management, faculty and staff, to students. We believe that in the end, it is this “heartware” which will enable us to become the first truly 100% Renewable Energy University in Japan.

Key People


Prof. Sachihiko Harashina
President (Originator of the RE100 University Project)
Chiba University of Commerce



Prof. Gen'ichiro Masuoka
Vice President Director
Institute of Accounting Education and Research,  Chiba University of Commerce



Prof. Takako Hashimoto
Vice President Director
International Center,  Chiba University of Commerce



Further key people

Acknowledgements

Ministry of the Environment, the Government of Japan

Images

Mega Solar Farm in Noda

Energy Management System

Press Conference on RE100 University

SONE Activity -1

SONE Activity -2

SONE Activity -3

Cool Choice Leaders Award

COP24 Pre Event -1

COP24 Pre Event -2

RE100 Network

IMPACT STORY

Impacting lifes

CUC’s RE 100 project, to become the First 100% Renewable Energy University in Japan, was originated by our President Dr. Sachihiko Harashina. One of the key players, among many, is the student group, the Student Organization for Natural Energy, or SONE, which carries out various activities on campus to promote energy-saving awareness. Being an educational institution, we believe it is most important not only to involve students in the effort toward 100% Renewable Energy, but to make it an integral part of their learning process. To that end, SONE is almost autonomous, with very little teacher input. Students plan and execute the activities on their own, patrolling the classrooms regularly to make sure lights or air-conditioning is not left on in unused classrooms. In the summer, the students carry out the traditional Japanese method of cooling down by sprinkling water—rainwater, of course—on the ground. By measuring the temperature before and after sprinkling water, they are able to show that the temperature near the ground goes down as far as 20℃ maximum, about 14℃ on average. International students attending the CUC Summer Program, about 60 students from 21 different universities from 13 countries and regions, also participate in this activity. While having fun sprinkling water, the international students learn that it is possible to cool down without using electricity. SONE students use the opportunity to spread the word about renewable energy, hoping the international students will take back the idea to their respective universities in various countries.

LEARNINGS

Lessons learned

Our advice for those aiming toward 100% renewable energy is to ask “How can we do this?” To become a 100% Renewable Energy University seemed at first to be an almost impossible task. However, we started not by listing the reasons why it was impossible or difficult but by asking “How can we do this?” When we took that approach, different possibilities emerged. With regard to hardware, we found we could increase the number of photovoltaic panels on the solar farm as well as on our rooftops by utilizing every inch of available space. We applied for and were able to get government funding to change all the fluorescent light bulbs to LED. With regard to software, the Energy Management System, or EMS, enabled us not only to optimize power consumption and production but to make them visible, which encouraged our energy-saving efforts. Most important of all, with regard to “heartware,” which refers to the mindset and attitude which lead to concrete action of everyone involved, we found that the effort to achieve our goal helped to bring us together as “One Team.” Our initiative is not only environmentally-friendly, it is also economically sound. We want other institutions to know that what is good for the earth can also be good for business. To that end, CUC established a regional energy company, CUC Energy Inc., in May 2016 to carry out our energy business including financial support of RE100 University activities. This, too, can be a model for other institutions.

FUTURE PLANS

What's coming?

Our future plan, which is already partly in motion, is to spread our 100% Renewable Energy model first to the members of the “Konodai Consortium,” a group of 10 nearby universities and hospitals, which was originally established in December 2017 to make concerted efforts for disaster prevention and relief, then to other like-minded institutions. As Japan is located in a very disaster-prone part of the world, with frequent earthquakes, tsunami, and typhoons, disaster prevention is a top priority. We know all too well the shortcomings of the centralized energy generation system with its long recovery time. A decentralized local renewable energy generation system will be more resilient because of the smaller damage from disasters and the shorter recovery time. Our strategy is to share our knowledge and experience as the first challenger so that each institution can generate renewable energy for its own use. In this way, we hope to realize a distributed energy society, working together with local governments, communities, and industries to achieve a more resilient society. With the Konodai Consortium, we are already integrating many external stakeholders to maximize the impact of our 100% Renewable Energy strategy.

The Student Organization for Natural Energy SONE is also reaching out to students from other universities with similar aspirations by sharing their knowledge and experience. We hope to eventually establish a network of RE universities both in Japan and overseas and expand the idea of “Heartware” to the whole community so that everyone becomes more environmentally-conscious and active.


KEY STATISTICS

11,642

Photovoltaic panels

3.5 mil

Generating kWh of electricity

112 mil yen

Government subsidy to convert all of our fluorescent electric light bulbs to LED

6,592

Students/faculty involved in the 100% Renewable Energy University Initiatives

902

The number of the Energy Management System measuring points in the 18 buildings on campus

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