Asphalt jungle Marunouchi to try going green

by Tetsuji Ida

Kyodo News

Naka Inoue went to work for the environmental strategy center of Mitsubishi Estate Co. about three years ago without knowing anything about ecology.

But she is now engaged in environment-related projects at the Ecozzeria center in the 38-story Shin-Marunouchi Building in front of Tokyo Station. The building is owned by Mitsubishi Estate.

Ecozzeria is a coined word combining ecology, piazza — an open square in an Italian town — and “eria,” a place where something is made.

Its concept is to lead Marunouchi and the neighboring Otemachi and Yurakucho districts into a culturally and ecologically attractive area. It also aims to get the sector to be in symbiosis with the environment and the economy.

After working for the public relations department of an automobile company, Inoue, 36, who hails from the city of Okayama, took part in the establishment of Ecozzeria believing that her tasks would be similar to already popular green energy campaigns.

“I didn’t know anything about ecology at first. I think many people care about ecology, but they don’t know what they should do,” she said.

She is directing her energies into a project named eco-link (“eco-musubi”) launched in October. It is targeted at holders of Suica and Pasmo smart cards.

The eco-link program calls for cardholders to purchase merchandise at affiliated stores accepting their electronic money or participate in ecology-related events to collect points. When points are accumulated, some will be donated to environmental protection groups.

The building itself is also undergoing more environmentally friendly changes. New energy-saving facilities, including air conditioning and light emitting diode illumination equipment, were installed in the strategy center last fall. The building’s power source will be replaced by natural energy in April.