Utilizing Natural Energy to Realize an Eco-Campus

Utilizing Natural Energy to Realize an Eco-Campus

In its "Environmental Mission Statement", which specifies its environmental policy, the International Christian University (ICU) declares as follows:

"Respect and care for the environment, protection of campus ecosystem, and responsible global citizenship are among the fundamental values that guide University-wide planning and decision-making. All faculty, staff, and students who make up the ICU community should be deeply aware of the way their actions affect the local and global environment in which we live."

Discussion at the Campus Energy Review Committee

The Campus Grand Design is a long-term plan setting out the zoning of the campus in preparation for the construction and rebuilding of facilities that may occur in the next decades, and ensuring such construction and rebuilding are implemented without impeding education, research, or student life. As we started to discuss the plan, we established the Campus Energy Review Committee (Chair: Professor Ken Okano, Physics major) in December 2014 with a view to determining ICU's energy policy for the next 60 years from a mid- and long-term, comprehensive and systematic perspective. The committee discussed the following three topics:

(1) Highly-efficient, diverse energy sources to facilitate energy saving
(2) Environmental measures for realizing a sustainable campus, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
(3) Resilience function in case of energy disruptions in major disasters

Regarding the discussion at the Campus Energy Review Committee, Chairman Okano says:

CLA.OKANO Ken・岡野健film.jpg

Professor, Ken Okan
Major: Physics

"We agreed that consensus and shared values should be built among members about what an eco-campus is for ICU. We also discussed thoroughly how to distribute energy to various facilities scattered around our large campus, including equipment costs. Instead of the central heating system where hot water from heat source equipment (such as a boiler) is pumped throughout the campus to provide heat, we have decided to introduce cogeneration to improve comprehensive energy efficiency. It mainly uses electric energy, uses gas in emergencies, and even utilizes waste heat.

Meanwhile, regarding an educational aspect, We agreed that ICU's eco-campus aims to utilize eco-technologies and data gained from them for education. For example, a student majoring in environmental research could do his/her graduation work based on energy consumption data. Or a student majoring in economics could try and implement his/her environmental business plan on the campus. We hope to have a mechanism in place for both students and teachers to learn a lot from the eco-campus."

The report compiled by the committee has been employed as a basic policy for the Campus Grand Design. To flexibly respond to changes in society and technological development, we will review this basic policy on a regular basis.

Technologies and initiatives introduced in the new student dormitories

We introduced environmentally-friendly technologies and initiatives in the two student dorm buildings opened in April 2017 as part of the initial plan of the Campus Grand Design. Here are main features of the buildings.

(1) A vent window at the top of the stair hall

A vent window was created at the top of the stair hall connecting the two buildings of the dormitories, and an intake louver was created on the first floor. This way, the wind blowing all year in the sky 20-25 meters high at the average speed of three meters a second will be taken in from the vent window on the ceiling and move down to the floor. Depending on seasons, the vent window will be closed and mechanical ventilation will be used. This will ensure that both comfort and energy saving are achieved and that natural fresh air is always provided.

(2) Visualization of electricity consumption to promote energy saving and education

You can measure electricity consumption of each floor and see the status of electricity consumption of all floors on the PC screen in the management office. Resident students can feel and understand how much energy they consume and how much they can control such consumption. Furthermore, they can download the previous data and use it for education and research.

(3) Separate air conditioning for each floor

Air conditioning can be switched on or off separately for each floor. Optimal and efficient air conditioning is available depending on the condition of each floor.

(4) Insulated windows with double glass

All rooms will have double-glass windows. Insulation performance of double glass is divided into three levels depending on how much air space is between two sheets of glass. The new dorm will use the second-level one. (The first level is used in cold regions like Hokkaido.)

(5) Solar-powered emergency lights

Stairway emergency lights will be solar-powered. Due to the cost, it is not appropriate to supply all electricity via solar panels, but we will install an electricity storage device for use in blackouts and have a 72-hour backup.

(6) LED lighting in the whole buildings

Long-lasting LED lights will be used. There will be more than 1,000 lights in the two buildings. The introduction of LED lighting will help reduce the bulb replacement costs.

(7) Energy balance between electricity and gas

By using gas for the shared space on the first floor and electricity for the second floor and above--combined use of electricity and gas--we will maximize the advantages of both energy sources and reduce life cycle costs.

Eco-technologies expected to be introduced in other facilities in the future

Today more and more buildings in town are using natural energy. In facilities built in the future based on the Campus Grand Design, we will also actively introduce eco-technologies that use natural energy. The approaches include night purge ventilation, a cool pit system, spot air conditioning, air conditioning only around the bottom of a large space, desiccant air conditioning, and cogeneration.

Night purge ventilation

By taking in nighttime outdoor air in summer, spring and fall to cool a building, we will create an environment where we don't have to use air conditioning in the next morning.

Cool pit system

We will take in nighttime outdoor air via an underground pit where temperature is low even in summer. We will also prevent gusts from blowing in, remove the dust, install an insect screen to prevent insects from coming in, and build a barrier to prevent people from coming in.

Spot air conditioning focusing on where there are people

After creating a certain level of comfortable environment through night purging, we will do mechanical air conditioning only around places where there are people, such as chairs and tables. The idea is that the machine complements natural energy to create a comfortable environment.

Air conditioning only around the bottom of a large space

Similarly, in a large space where air conditioning costs more, we will significantly reduce air conditioning energy by focusing heating or cooling on around the floor.

Desiccant air conditioning removing humidity without using energy

The desiccant air conditioning system controls temperature and humidity separately. It is more comfortable and saves more energy than normal air conditioning.


The gas cogeneration system generates electricity using city gas and uses exhaust heat for air conditioning, heating the swimming pool water, and hot-water supply in the kitchen.

The Campus Ground Design is a plan to make the ICU campus more sustainable by developing new technologies and twists to make cost-effective, maximum use of the merits of the campus--vastness, deep green, breezing wind, and clean air--and creating a mechanism for utilizing the results of such technologies and twists for education and research.