August 26, 2011 (Fri)Energy Use Depends on Temperature

Hi there or “Howdy!” as they say in Texas.  I just came back from a weeklong vacation in Texas where the heat is more unbearable than in Tokyo! We had temperatures of 38 degrees for nearly 40 days in a row. It was reported in the local news that it has not been this hot in a century and utility firms are scrambling to keep up with demand.

Speaking with locals, I found out it’s not only the heat and the cost of cooling buildings and cars, but a continued drought along with the intense sunshine has caused huge damage to agriculture and resulted in billions of dollars in loss for this year along. I was also surprised to see that some lakes in the area have completely dried up! Just goes to show that even a few degrees rise in temperature can be very costly in many aspects.

In Japan, we’re still experiencing high temperatures, but fortunately it has cooled off here during the last few weeks despite it’s still August, which is a great relief since we are still trying to cut back on electricity here in Japan.  I live in Shibuya, one of the bright, bustling districts in Tokyo, which is popular among young people. I find that although energy saving efforts are in place, the brightness of the city now is just about right. Actually it could probably stand to be a little calmer still. Shop lights are still lit, but the overpowering video billboards blasting music and commercials are tamed down and I don’t know if it’s just me, but no one seems to miss it! The only thing that gets me is there are still shop workers screaming at the top of their lungs in front of their stores, trying to lure customers in.  I want to tell them, “Hey, save your energy!”  

For a research project I am conducting on public awareness at Waseda University, I did a poll among 20 of my colleagues here at NHK, half of them Japanese and the other half from abroad. Here are some of the questions I asked them:

1)    Are you practicing energy saving efforts?
2)    What is different about your specific working/living environment since the cuts began?
3)    Do you consciously think about how much electricity you are using?
4)    How do you motivate yourself to save electricity?
5)    Is energy saving a burden?

Please stay tuned next week to find out more on the results of my survey!  This week’s video on “Factories Reduce Power Usage” (
is on how the firm Mori Seiki has been able to reduce its electricity usage significantly with the cooperation of its employees.  That’s all from me today.  Join me again next week!

Factories Reduce Power Use(NHK Eco-Mix)Factories Reduce Power Use(NHK Eco-Mix)(∗this video is no longer available)

Posted at:12:53  |  Category:Columns  |  Energy Use Depends on Temperature   |  Comments(0) | Trackbacks(0)

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