Japan/Ricoh Technology Center
The new Ricoh Technology Center building (in Ebina), the construction of which was completed in 2010, is designed to be a place that offers four-fold benefits and functionality. Namely, it is designed to be a place that fosters knowledge creation and knowledge exchange, a people-friendly place where employees can work in comfort, a place that is environmentally friendly in various ways, and a place that offers assured reliability and safety.
Measures to make the building environmentally sound include the adoption of a solar power generation system and other leading-edge environmental equipment and technologies. As a result of efforts to make the building as eco-friendly as possible, the building was given the highest “S” rating under the Comprehensive Assessment System for Built Environment Efficiency (CASBEE) and the highest “level 2” rating under the environment/energy excellent architecture certification system, which are both implemented by the Institute for Building Environment and Energy Conservation.
• Environment-friendly features of the building
(1) Solar power generation system
The outer wall has 1,620 built-in solar panels, which generate a total of about 57,000 kW of electricity on an annual basis. This electricity is used to illuminate the shared spaces within the building.
(2) Low-E glass
Low-emissivity (Low-E) double-glazed glass is adopted as the outer wall material for all floors except the first. The glazing contains argon gas between its two panes to provide higher heat-blocking and heat-insulating functions, thereby helping reduce the energy needed to air-condition the interior.
(3) Double-skin wall
The double-skin wall of the southern side of the building provides better heat insulation thanks to the adoption of Low-E glass and helps make the interior environment more comfortable while also contributing to energy conservation. Moreover, fresh air from outside can be let into the interior spaces through the openable parts of the inside window sashes.
(4) Lighting control
Lighting is automatically controlled by the use of motion/luminance sensors installed in the rooms and shared spaces.
(5) Use of rainwater and gray water from the kitchen
For resource conservation, rainwater collected on the rooftop and gray water from the kitchen is used—after being treated—to flush toilets.
(6) Cool tube
The air inlet is located at a distance from the building and the air intake duct has been buried underground to enable heat exchange between the air flowing through the duct and the underground environment. This was done with an eye to reducing the energy used to air-condition the rooms.
Ricoh Microelectronics Co., Ltd. (RME), a manufacturer of electronic circuit modules, has been working to improve the energy efficiency of its energyintensive humidifying systems in the middle and long term. In fiscal 2009, four steam humidifiers on the first floor of its factory were replaced with highly efficient evaporative humidifiers. Air conditioning is necessary on the first floor throughout the year due to the heat from the manufacturing machines. The introduction of these evaporative humidifying systems has eliminated the need to use energy to generate steam, and has taken much of the load off the air conditioning due to lower room temperatures achieved through the power of vaporization. In addition, one of the four air conditioners has been equipped with an inverter that minimizes the air volume to control the factory temperature when it is not operating. These measures are expected to reduce the consumption of Bunker A fuel oil by 35.4 kℓ, or approx. 30% of the annual amount used and annual electricity consumption by 118,787 kWh. These improvement activities became eligible for a fiscal 2009 subsidy from NEDO* for business operators working to improve the efficiency of energy use.
Ricoh Fukui Plant has had energy monitoring systems installed since 2000 to measure the energy used on the production line and by the processes on a real time basis. The data obtained is used to identify and prioritize areas for improvement, enabling the plant to carry out energy-saving activities effectively and efficiently.
When producing toners, compressed air is used to crush the raw materials against the panel to produce the toner particles. The air compressors used for this purpose account for approximately 45% of the total CO2 emissions in the toner production process.
To reduce CO2 emissions, the plant replaced one of the air compressors
used in toner production with an inverter controlled model. Mainstream compressors usually operate with an on-off control system, which inevitablyinvolves unnecessary energy consumption when adjusting the pressure to the change in the airflow requirements. In January 2009, the plant installed an inverter controlled compressor based on the result of an elaborative calculation. The introduction of this one inverter compressor unit improved the compressor control system, optimized the number
of compressors in action, and thus eliminated 98% of the energy lost under the existing system.
As a result, the Fukui Plant reduced its annual power consumption by 888.7 MWh, CO2 emissions by 335.9 tons, and related costs by approximately 12 million yen.