Efforts of the Energy Conservation Center, Japan – History and Future of ECCJ’s Activities

Efforts of the Energy Conservation Center, Japan – History and Future of ECCJ’s Activities

Efforts of the Energy Conservation Center, Japan

History and Future of ECCJ’s Activities

oshihiko Takamura, Professor Emeritus, Tokyo Denki University


1. Background of the ECCJ

The Energy Conservation Center, Japan (ECCJ), was established prior to the enactment of the Energy Conservation Act (officially, Act on the Rational Use of Energy) in 1979. The ECCJ is intended to promote publicity activities for the industrial community and general public and as a core body to promote energy conservation in the private sector. At the time of presenting a bill for the Energy Conservation Act, one item of a collateral resolution stated that “in order to promote energy conservation measures smoothly and efficiently, a closer communication and coordination structure should be enhanced among the relevant government agencies, and the ECCJ, should be enhanced and utilized as a core body to promote these measures.”

Japan has a long history of energy management. To realize the then social goals such as the development of industry, resumption of normal life, and revival of a society in postwar disorder, it was necessary to work earnestly on the development of utilization methods and enhancement of users’ awareness regarding coal, or some other energy source to support the goals. Heat management regulations were enacted in response to this need, and the enforcement of a national examination for heat managers was decreed. In November 1947, the Kinki Heat Management Association was established as a private body to ensure proper enforcement of these regulations.

Taking this as an opportunity, the Kanto Shinetsu, Shikoku, Tohoku, Kyushu, Tokai Hokuriku, Chugoku, and Hokkaido heat management associations were established in succession over the following year, 1948. Furthermore, the Central Heat Management Council was inaugurated as their communication body in 1948, completing an organization for the promotion of nationwide heat management. Along with the inauguration of the Central Heat Management Council, its journal Heat Management was first published. Its name was subsequently changed to Heat Management and Pollution, which was eventually succeeded by the ECCJ’s current journal Energy Conservation. At the time, major projects included cooperating with the national administration by holding various study groups and seminars, recommending the Award for Excellent Energy Conservation Factory, and energetically promoting the fostering of heat managers. In October 1951, the Heat Management Act was enforced. Establishment of a legal foundation for the promotion of heat management triggered corporate heat management campaigns, bringing about significant improvements in the intensity of energy consumption and rationalizing business management.

After that, inexpensive and ready-to-use oil became easily available as an energy source, lowering heat management awareness. However, because 80% of the primary energy in Japan depends on imports from overseas, with almost 100% of its oil being imported, it also became necessary to revive energy conservation awareness from the viewpoint of energy security. In consideration of such concerns and taking the 20th anniversary of enforcement of the Heat Management Act in 1971 as an opportunity, the government started to review heat management administration and the associated regional cooperative bodies, or heat management associations. During the course of the review, integration of the Central Heat Management Council and regional heat management associations was proposed, establishing the Heat Energy Technical Association on April 1, 1972, with the Kanto Shinetsu Heat Management Association as its base. Taking this as an opportunity, a nationwide organization capable of effectively carrying out projects commissioned by the government was completed, rolling out a wide range of projects such as an energy conservation audit, holding energy conservation best practices presentations and energy conservation exhibition, and publishing an “energy conservation pocketbook.”

The first oil crisis occurred in October 1973, not long after inauguration of the Japan Heat Energy Technical Association. With the importance of energy management newly recognized, the energy conservation policy was renewed to establish a new policy implementation body. Against such a backdrop, the Japan Heat Energy Technical Association was disbanded in 1978 to inaugurate the ECCJ on October 16, 1978, as an overall body to carry out the elaborate provision of information on energy conservation and guidance and investigative research in the industrial sector.


2. The ECCJ’s Activities

The ECCJ inherited all of the projects of the Japan Heat Energy Technical Association, but the newly enacted Energy Conservation Act covered not only factories but also buildings and machinery/equipment, expanding the scope of the ECCJ’s activities far beyond that of the Japan Heat Energy Technical Association. In addition to technical guidance and capacity building, centering on the industrial sector until then, activities to enhance energy conservation awareness also became important, including the consumer and transportation sectors. In addition, along with the revision of the Energy Conservation Act in response to changes in the energy situation and social environment, the ECCJ will establish new projects and improve existing ones in order to properly carry out the measures after revision.

The following sections describe the projects inherited from the Japan Heat Energy Technical Association.


2.1 From the Presentation of Energy Conservation Best Practices to Energy Conservation Grand Prize

The first National Contest of Energy Conservation Best Practices was held in November 1975 by the Japan Heat Energy Technical Association, the predecessor of the ECCJ. The following year, entries from all over Japan were examined at conventions for presentation in each district, and selected best practices would be presented at the National Contest of Energy Conservation Best Practices in February, an “energy conservation month. Upon its establishment, the ECCJ inherited the system as it was, and the approaches at different corporations and successful cases of energy efficiency improvement were presented. This was a good opportunity for presenters to receive feedback on their presentations and the results accomplished by corporations. It also seemed very effective for the presentation participants to use this opportunity as reference to solve on-site problems. The total number of entry cases increased to exceed 200 between 1980 and 1985. However, the total number of presentation cases in a year remained constant at around 150 in subsequent years, possibly because of lower energy prices and the completion of almost all basic measures.

Categorizing the presentation cases by industry type, the entries from the steel industry accounted for 30% in the early years, followed mostly by energy-intensive industries such as petroleum products, cement, electric power, and chemicals. In the following years, there was an increase in the number of entry cases from the transportation machinery and equipment industry and from the electrical machinery and equipment industry. Then, in 1999, the Energy Conservation Act was revised to include workplaces such as buildings as designated energy management factories, gradually increasing the number of entries from national and public universities, retailers, building management companies, the lodging industry, etc. Through selection by the Central Review Committee, over 30 of the entry cases were granted best practice awards, such as the METI Minister’s Prize, the METI/ARNE Director General’s Prize, and various METI regional bureau director general’s prizes.

The Presentation of Best Practices of Energy Conservation continued until 2008 but was forced to change its mode of operation in 2009, making it difficult to hold on a national scale. Accordingly, the “2009 Convention for Presentation of Energy Conservation Cases in the Kanto Region” was held in joint sponsorship with the Kanto Bureau of Economy, Trade, and Industry, presenting 27 cases. In 2011, it was decided to unify the name to the Energy Conservation Grand Prize, a system to recognize the consumer products and systems with the highest energy efficiency and examine the energy conservation practices at conventional factories and workplaces through the Award for Best Practices of Energy Conservation in Factories and Buildings. In the first year, the total number of entries for the two awards of the Energy Conservation Grand Prize was 113: twenty-two cases were awarded in the Award for Best Practices of Energy Conservation in Factories and Buildings and 20 cases in the Award for Excellent Energy Conservation Equipment and Business Model, which included the METI Minister’s Prize, the METI/ARNE Director General’s Prize, the ECCJ Chairman’s Prize, and the Examination Committee Special Prize. For the judging method, preliminary judging was conducted by applicant screening, followed by judging at the conventions for presentation to be held in eastern, central, and western Japan.

2.2 Energy Conservation Audit

In 1975, the energy conservation audit project was also launched by the Japan Heat Energy Technical Association, the predecessor of the ECCJ. The project was taken over by the ECCJ and has continued until now. At the time of establishment of the ECCJ, the targets of the audit were limited to small– and mediumsized manufacturers. From 1996, however, in order to intensify energy conservation measures in the commercial sector, where energy consumption had been increasing remarkably, an energy conservation audit for office buildings was started. The cumulative number of audit cases now exceeds 20,000. The average energy conservation rate by audit is 6% to 7%, producing a significant result overall. Because small– and medium-sized businesses and office buildings are short of human resources with professional knowledge of energy management, external experts visit to provide guidance in line with their technical knowledge and experience in the implementation of energy conservation measures. As a result of the audit, the groundwork was laid to continually carry out not only the instructed measures but also some that are more advanced.

In the early days of the ECCJ, the energy conservation audit was conducted by a rationalized energy use adviser for small– and medium-sized business operators. After 2000, however, a rationalized energy use auditor system was set up to delegate the task to external experts with rich experience in energy management. Audit results are processed statistically to allow their use not only by the audited business establishments but also at various presentation meetings for the promotion of energy conservation; more general matters were addressed in a guidebook.


2.3 Capacity Building

To properly carry out energy management at factories and workplaces, it is necessary to secure engineers with professional knowledge of energy use methods. For this reason, the Heat Management Act classified factories with heat consumptions higher than a certain level as designated heat management factories and obligated them to have a certain number of qualified heat managers. Following enactment of the Energy Conservation Act, similar regulations were inherited: the Heat Management Act covered fuels and the heat generated by them as heat sources, whereas the Energy Conservation Act covers electricity as well. As a result, designated energy management factories were categorized as “designated heat management factories” and “designated electricity management factories.” Similarly, qualified energy managers were also categorized as qualified heat and electricity managers. Accordingly, the government conducted an examination to allow heat or electricity managers to obtain qualified energy manager’s licenses. In 1984, however, clerical work for the qualification system was delegated to a private body, and the ECCJ was designated as the body in charge of the examination. From the early days of its establishment, the ECCJ had been in charge of conducting this examination in order to foster qualified energy managers in cooperation with the government. Taking this designation as an opportunity, the examination department was launched strictly to conduct the clerical work related to the examination for the qualified energy manager’s license, contributing to promotion of energy conservation in factories and buildings.

Because the revision of the Energy Conservation Act in 1998 expansively applied the past framework for the designated energy management factories, centering on the industrial sector, to all business categories, it came to include office buildings, department stores, hotels, schools, hospitals, etc. Through the specified requirements for designated energy management factories, annual energy consumption was halved in both heat and electricity compared with historical values, allowing many factories in the industrial sector to be newly appointed as designated energy management factories. In order to distinguish between the conventional designated energy management factories and the new additions, those with annual energy consumptions exceeding the conventional value were called “Type 1” and those exceeding half of the conventional value were called “Type 2.”

The newly added Type 2 designated energy management factories also required a manager to centrally promote energy management to business establishments. However, it was unreasonable to require a qualified energy manager, so it was decided to refer to those who completed government-provided energy management training as Type 2 energy managers. Because one training course was not enough to attain sufficient knowledge, it was made obligatory to take additional training every 3 yr. For this reason, to distinguish between them, the first training is called primary training, and the training at 3-yr intervals is called follow-up training. Designated as a Type 2 energy manager training agency in 1999, the ECCJ has been effectively conducting primary and follow-up training for Type 2 energy managers ever since.


Future Activities

In order to be a core body for the promotion of energy conservation in the private sector, as stated in the prospectus, it will be important to provide proper guidance and public relations to business establishments and to propose necessary future measures to the government while determining the working status of energy management at those establishments. Because the ECCJ has been running a project to survey the energy usage status and equipment installation status at the factories, it understands the degree to which the national measures have been carried out and what the problems are in the cases of insufficient progress. The ECCJ can also inquire directly to the business establishments about their energy conservation aspirations. It is necessary to fully analyze such precious survey results and divide them into those that are immediately workable and those that can be used some years in the future, in order to consider effective measures.

Based on the results, the most serious concern is believed to be a future shortage of human resources in charge of energy management. The number of energy management personnel has been decreasing greatly, and those familiar with energy at site are becoming depleted. Also, equipment has become increasingly automated, significantly reducing workers’ involvement at site. Such a situation cannot be properly addressed by the conventional energy management method, and those in charge are often pressed by other duties, while feeling the need for energy management.

The basis of energy management is to minimize the losses in each phase of generation, transportation, and use of energy and to recover energy emissions after the losses are minimized. Basic elements for energy management include optimization of the combustion air ratio, prevention of radiation, and periodic maintenance of equipment. Although such basic ideas remain unchanged, the specific working methods change with the times. Energy management requires us to positively introduce related peripheral technologies, namely, materials, processing, measurement and control, and information communication, to continue the improvement of energy use efficiency at all times. Under circumstances in which the peripheral technologies advance remarkably, it is very difficult for energy personnel to collect information, and the ECCJ believes that its role is to provide energy management methods that proactively utilize these technologies.


mr-takamuraYoshihiko Takamura
Mr. Yoshihiko Takamura the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University. He held positions such as chairman of the Working Group on Classification Standards for Plants and Other Facilities of Energy Efficiency, chairman of the Conservation Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy, and chairman of the Japan Boiler Association. He was awarded the METI Minister’s Prize for Excellent Energy Conservation Manager and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Safety Contributor. Currently, he is the exclusive chairman of the E Committee for the Energy Conservation Grand Prize (ECCJ), chairman of the planning committee for this journal, etc.



ECCJ’s 40-Yr History

Year A.D. Topic
0 1978 Disbanded the Japan Heat Energy Technical Association to inaugurate the ECCJ, as the overall body to carry out the elaborate provision of information on energy conservation, provide guidance and training to the industrial sector, and conduct investigative research.Started the national and regional energy conservation promotion conventions.Rolled out a small- and medium-sized business operators audit guidance project as an entrusted business.
1 1979 Conducted a study tour of energy conservation working facilities, excellent energy conservation factories, etc.
2 1980 Decided on a unified energy conservation slogan for summer and winter, and prepared posters to distribute throughout Japan.
3 1981 Performed the role of secretariat for the operation of a preferential tax system for investment in energy conservation facilities.Held an international energy conservation symposium as the ECCJ’s first international project.
4 1982 Started fostering the instructors for dissemination of energy conservation. Started training participants from developing countries.
5 1983 Exchanged the JapanKorea energy conservation technological cooperation memorandum with the Korea Energy Management Foundation.
6 1984 Appointed as a designated examination body for the “examination for a qualified energy manager’s license.
7 1985 Appointed as a designated training agency for “training for qualified energy managers.
8 1986 Started the “Award for Excellent Engineer of Energy Conservation” and “Award for Excellent Technician of Energy Conservation.
9 1987 Extensively launched and developed the “Exhibition for Effective Energy Use” subtitled “Energy Conservation Exhibition (predecessor of the ENEX)” as a commercial exhibition centering on energy efficiency utilization technologies and distributed information globally, focusing on the vision of global energy conservation. Changed its name to ENEX in 1990.
10 1988 Changed the name of a project that began as the “Monthly Memorial International Energy Conservation Essay and Poster Contest” in 1979 to the “Energy Conservation ContestPoster Award and Essay Award.
11 1989 Set up the “Workshop for New Energy Conservation Policy toward the 21st Century.
12 1990 Started the “EnergySaving Vanguard 21” to commend consumer devices, systems, and materials.
13 1991 Surveyed the current situation of ten business categories of the major industries in 10 developing countries as entrusted businesses from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and prepared an energy conservation technology manual, which was distributed to 30 developing countries.
14 1992
15 1993 Started research and development for the “Ecological and Energy City Project,” intended for the construction of an urban society, which has enhanced urban energy utilization efficiency and environmental friendliness (entrusted by NEDO).
16 1994
17 1995 Topic
18 1996 Started an information analysis of the designated energy management factories based on the Energy Conservation Act and a survey on the effects of various energy conservation behaviors.
Started an information analysis of the designated energy management factories based on the Energy Conservation Act and a survey on the effects of various energy conservation behaviors.
19 1997 Ranked the energy conservation performance of air conditioners, televisions, VTRs, and refrigerators, centering on specific devices defined by the Energy Conservation Act, and prepared the “Energy Conservation Performance Catalog,” 100,000 copies of which were distributed throughout Japan.
Launched the “ESCO Project Introduction Workshop.
Held the Type 1 energy manager’s symposium.
20 1998 Changed the name of “Vanguard 21” to the friendlier name of “Energy Conservation Grand Prize,” taking the revision of the Energy Conservation Act as an opportunity.
Published a regional energy conservation activity information magazine, “Energy Conservation Ambassador.
21 1999 Started an energy conservation audit of large- and mediumsized factories and small- and medium-sized businesses.
Appointed as a designated training agency for “training for Type 2 energy managers.
22 2000 Started notification of the energy conservation labeling system and provision of information such as performance comparisons of home appliances. Held “energy conservation classes,” intended for elementary and junior high school students.
23 2001 Started a full-fledged ecological driving project, taking a no-idling feasibility survey as an opportunity.
24 2002 Started operations for initial training and quality improvement training for Type 2 energy managers. Demonstrated a 13% fuel cost reduction effect in a cross-country no-idling campaign. Supported the implementation of an “Energy Conservation Education Promotion Model School,” designed to support energy conservation studies in elementary and junior high schools.
25 2003 Started the “Energy Conservation Product Dissemination Promotion Successful Shop” system.
26 2004 Completed the “Energy Consumption Intensity Management Tool (office version).”
27 2005 Carried out the “Award for Excellent ESCO Project” system. Prepared an energy conservation symbol “Smart Clover.”
Distributed the “Energy Conservation Tuning Guidebook,” designed to support the operational management of buildings and construction equipment.
28 2006 Set up the “Energy Conservation Technological Strategy Workshop” within the ECCJ in order to revise the “Energy Conservation Technological Strategy.”
29 2007 Held the “Energy Conservation Contest” to recognize the results of energy conservation activities in homes and schools. Took charge of the secretariat and management of the “Forum for Promoting Energy-Saving Electronics.” Set up the “Asia Energy Efficiency and Conservation Collaboration Center,” which distributes information to the Asian region and provides one-stop service.
30 2008 Started operations to support the secretariat of the “Japanese Business Alliance for Smart Energy Worldwide.”
31 2009 Supported small- and medium-sized business operators participating in domestic credit from the viewpoint of carbon dioxide reduction measures.
32 2010 Conducted a survey on ISO 50001, a technological evaluation of the domestic credit system. Established the “Building Energy Conservation Audit Engineers” system for special human resources at building management sites.
33 2011 Conducted certification training for “building energy conservation audit engineers” and certification of “home energy conservation experts.” Established the “Energy Audit Professional” system, designed to provide audits, guidance, and improvement proposals from an advanced and professional viewpoint in the industrial sector.
34 2012 Shifted to a general incorporated association. Established the “Home Energy Conservation Experts (Audit- and Guidance-Grade)” system.
35 2013 Collaborated in public and private activities through the introduction of specific examples of measures and technological advice from the viewpoint of leveling power demand, in addition to conventional energy conservation, in response to harsh power supply circumstances following the Great East Japan Earthquake and revision of the Energy Conservation Act in 2013.
36 2014 Conducted an energy conservation tuning audit, which makes adjustments
37 2015 Simultaneously held the “New Power EXPO 2015,” which featured the liberalization of electric power, at the ENEX. Held the “Global Inter-City Cooperation Forum” as an international hub for the UN SE4ALL (Sustainable Energy for All) activities.
38 2016 Developed the “Ene-CAT” tool to visualize energy losses at factories. Provided energy conservation support consultation using various tools developed by the ECCJ.
39 2017 Cooperated with a policy designed to improve the practicability of reviewing the survey and evaluation criteria for factories and applying a benchmark to the office rental business.
40 2018