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Last Update:2023.12.01

GeM2 for energy saving and decarbonization of air conditioning without the need to replace equipment

GeM2 promotes energy-saving air conditioning simply by retrofitting control equipment without replacing existing facilities. It can be used by multiple vendors, regardless of the air conditioning manufacturer, and achieves a relatively quick return on investment. We spoke about the mechanism and appeal of this system, which is mainly targeted at commercial facilities and achieves maximum energy-saving effects and reduction of CO2 emissions through air conditioning control.

One of the reasons we are comfortable in large commercial facilities such as cinema complexes and shopping malls is the comfortable temperature and humidity control provided by air conditioning. Mitsui Knowledge Industry's "GeM2" is a cloud-based air conditioning optimization solution that maintains comfort by optimizing the air conditioning of facilities, while at the same time reducing CO2 emissions by reducing power consumption. This presentation will explain GeM2, which is attracting particular attention in these days of rising energy prices.

Mitsui Knowledge Industry (MKI), which has strengths in IoT and cloud technologies

─ First of all, please tell us the background behind the creation of GeM2.
Fukuma: We are an IT company, which was spun off from the Information Systems Division of Mitsui & Co. in 1967. In 2010, the Cabinet approved the Basic Act on Measures to Cope with Global Warming, and in response to heightened social awareness of the environment, we began our own energy-saving initiatives. One of the solutions that emerged from this process was GeM2.
Toru Fukuma is General Manager of Industrial DX Sales Department, DX Sales Division 2, Mitsui Knowledge Industry, Co., Ltd. In April 2021, he was appointed as General Manager of Industrial Solution Sales Department, DX Sales Division, where he is in charge of manufacturing accounts and DX / IoT solution business. He is also involved in DX promotion related to decarbonization and energy saving.
Toru Fukuma is General Manager of Industrial DX Sales Department, DX Sales Division 2, Mitsui Knowledge Industry, Co., Ltd. In April 2021, he was appointed as General Manager of Industrial Solution Sales Department, DX Sales Division, where he is in charge of manufacturing accounts and DX / IoT solution business. He is also involved in DX promotion related to decarbonization and energy saving.
Imura: GeM2 stands for "Green Energy Management by MKI". GeM2 is the application of the technologies and knowledge we have cultivated in the area of network and plant control to air conditioning control. Eighty to ninety percent of our current customers are commercial facilities such as cinema complexes and shopping malls, and they appreciate the fact that we are able to achieve the expected cost-effectiveness.
Ryosuke Imura, Manager, Sales Office, Industrial DX Sales Department, DX Sales Division 2, Mitsui Knowledge Industry Co., Ltd. Since 2011, he has been engaged in developing new customers for GeM2, mainly for major GMS in Japan, and has been responsible for the implementation of GeM2 in more than 100 facilities. Since 2018, he has been focusing on the promotion of carbon reduction with GeM2 as one of them.
Ryosuke Imura, Manager, Sales Office, Industrial DX Sales Department, DX Sales Division 2, Mitsui Knowledge Industry Co., Ltd. Since 2011, he has been engaged in developing new customers for GeM2, mainly for major GMS in Japan, and has been responsible for the implementation of GeM2 in more than 100 facilities. Since 2018, he has been focusing on the promotion of carbon reduction with GeM2 as one of them.

Automatic control of comfortable temperature and humidity in commercial facilities

─ What are the main challenges that commercial facilities face in air conditioning operation?
Miyazono: Commercial facilities that attract many customers need to maintain a comfortable environment. On the other hand, manually turning the air conditioning on and off and setting the temperature can be burdensome for employees, while leaving the air conditioning on can be expensive, given the recent rise in energy and electricity costs. Automatic control of air conditioning by GeM2 solves this trade-off.
Hayate Miyazono is in charge of wholesale sales of power generation equipment and machinery for chemical plants for power generation companies and industrial complexes at a trading company specializing in machinery from 2016. He was in charge of GeM2 business proposal and implementation promotion for a major cinema complex, and worked on DX promotion for customers toward decarbonization and energy saving.
Hayate Miyazono is in charge of wholesale sales of power generation equipment and machinery for chemical plants for power generation companies and industrial complexes at a trading company specializing in machinery from 2016. He was in charge of GeM2 business proposal and implementation promotion for a major cinema complex, and worked on DX promotion for customers toward decarbonization and energy saving.
─ ─ What is the mechanism that leads to the reduction of electricity consumption?
Imura: First, environmental data of the space is acquired through temperature/humidity sensors and CO2 sensors installed in the space, as well as data on air conditioning operation and temperature settings. These data are analyzed by season, day of the week, and time of day, and based on the trends, the air conditioning is automatically controlled to achieve optimal environmental conditions. This eliminates the need to leave the air conditioner on or to run it at excessive temperature settings for long periods of time, thereby reducing power consumption and CO2 emissions, and also eliminates the need for a person to operate the air conditioner, thereby reducing labor costs.
Miyazono: As a simple example, in a multiplex cinema, air conditioning is turned off when movies are not being shown because there are no people around. In commercial facilities, air conditioning may be controlled in areas where there are more or fewer people, or air conditioning may be controlled in areas that regularly generate heat, for example, by turning the air conditioning on all the time.

Energy saving of existing air conditioning equipment is possible regardless of manufacturer

─ ─ What are the features of GeM2 in air conditioning control for commercial facilities?
Tanaka: Since GeM2 retrofits control equipment, energy savings can be achieved for existing air conditioning without updating the air conditioning equipment. In this case, GeM2 is vendor-free and can be used with any air conditioning equipment without depending on a specific manufacturer. In addition, since all sensors are wireless and no wiring work is required, installation costs can be kept low and installation can be done in a short period of time.
Hina Tanaka, Sales Office, Industrial DX Sales Department, DX Sales Division 2, Mitsui Knowledge Industry Co., Ltd. joined the company in 2021. Since joining the company, she has been in charge of GeM2 business and promoted GeM2 business proposal/implementation to major cinema complexes. Currently, she is in charge of a wide range of DX areas, such as providing information infrastructure infrastructure and analysis solutions for the manufacturing and electric power industries.
Hina Tanaka, Sales Office, Industrial DX Sales Department, DX Sales Division 2, Mitsui Knowledge Industry Co., Ltd. joined the company in 2021. Since joining the company, she has been in charge of GeM2 business and promoted GeM2 business proposal/implementation to major cinema complexes. Currently, she is in charge of a wide range of DX areas, such as providing information infrastructure infrastructure and analysis solutions for the manufacturing and electric power industries.
─ ─ How did the technology to control existing equipment come about, regardless of the manufacturer of the air conditioning equipment?
Fukuma: The network technology we have developed over the years enables us to support a wide variety of protocols that differ for each air conditioning system. Since we are not an air conditioning equipment manufacturer, we do not optimize specific equipment control, but rather a platform that can support multiple vendors.
Imura: Our company has a history of absorbing and merging various IT companies, and we have engineers with a wide range of technologies working for us. For example, the air conditioning control in GeM2 utilizes the plant control technology we have cultivated over the years. We also provide remote monitoring solutions for photovoltaic power generation facilities, and the same technology is used here.

Excellent track record of energy cost reduction / CO2 emission reduction

─ ─ How effective has the implementation of GeM2 been so far?
Tanaka: On average, energy costs are reduced by 40% at cinema complexes and 20-25% at mass merchandisers and shopping malls. The more people come and go and the more busy a facility is, the greater the reduction tends to be.
Miyazono: In terms of CO2 emissions reduction, one commercial facility has reduced 417 tons per year. Since one cedar tree is said to absorb about 14 kg of CO2, the reduction is equivalent to 30,000 cedar trees.
───What are the costs involved in installing GeM2 and what is the payback period?
Miyazono: Although the cost of installation depends on the size of the facility, it is generally in the range of 5 to 20 million yen, and while it normally takes five years to recover the investment, in the case of GeM2, our goal is to recover the investment in two to three years. As we mentioned earlier, we are able to achieve a quick payback by reducing construction costs by promoting the use of wireless technology and by conducting highly accurate electricity cost reduction simulations based on our past experience.

Aiming for both business efficiency and CO2 reduction through data utilization

─ ─ What are your future plans?
Miyazono: Last year, we introduced GeM2 to the logistics industry. Warehouse operations place a high priority on the working environment for employees, and the objective is to maintain and improve employee comfort. We will continue to expand the use of GeM2 beyond commercial facilities in this way and contribute to decarbonization through energy conservation.
Fukuma: Our business concept is to "contribute to society by utilizing data," and we would like to promote data accumulation, analysis, utilization, and feedback in a comprehensive manner in a wide range of fields, not limited to air conditioning. In the manufacturing industry, this could include services such as plant control, abnormality detection, and preventive maintenance through the use of data, and in the logistics industry, it could include improving the efficiency of supply chains and optimizing inventory. We also believe that we can contribute to the decarbonization of the world economy.
We have recently launched "FourKites," a cloud service that visualizes the status of cargo transport and predicts arrival times. I would like to pursue both "business efficiency" and "CO2 reduction" for our customers by accumulating various data, including GeM2, and utilizing them across the board.
--Thank you very much for your time today.
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