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[an error occurred while processing this directive]Saving Electricity News

Japan slashes its energy use

July 1, 2011

The overwhelming message of this site is that we can easily use lots less energy.  And now Japan is proving it.  They're faced with less energy following the Fukushima nuclear disaster (and public opposition to more nuclear), so they're taking the easy and obvious solution: using less energy.  Pie-in-the-sky hopes for useless alternatives are nice, but they don't get the job done.  By contrast, simply using less works, works today, and works well.

Among the changes in Japan are: 

  • having offices turn off AC after 6:00 pm
  • starting the workday at 8:30 (instead of 7:30)
  • having department stores turn off unnecessary lights and escalators
  • encouraging office workers to wear more casual clothes rather than suits, in order to use less air conditioning
But what's funny is that the Japanese were already way ahead of us on saving energy even before these recent measures, as I know from the year I spent there.  For example:
  • They generally hang up their clothes to dry, rather than using a dryer.
  • Their water tends to be heated on demand, rather than using tanks.
  • Their toilets have a "small flush" option for #1's.
  • Electric heating pads are common, rather than paying to heat a whole room.
  • Cooling pads (cooled down in the fridge) are popular, rather than paying to air-condition a whole room.

As dirty energy becomes more scarce and more expensive, expect the rest of the world to start doing what the Japanese have already figured out.

See USA Today about Japan's new conservation measures.

Super-efficient home

Three college students live in an Arcata, CA house, run as a university project called the Humboldt State University Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT). Founded in 1981, the house uses a number of ingenious ways to generate and save electricity, including a television powered by an exercise bicycle. [Sorry, that article is no longer available from the LA Times website, but here's CCAT's website.]

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