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Clara T Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-17-06 12:46 PM
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Turn off the heat - how Japan made energy saving an art form
Turn off the heat - how Japan made energy saving an art form

A nation with few fossil fuels is finding a pioneering way to secure its future

Anthony Faiola in Kamiita
Friday February 17, 2006
The Guardian

When the Japanese government issued a national battle cry against soaring global energy prices this winter, no one heeded the call more than Kamiita, a farming town in the misty mountains of western Japan.
To save energy, officials shut off the heating system in the town hall, leaving themselves and 100 workers no respite from near-freezing temperatures. On a recent frosty morning, rows of desks were full of employees bundled in coats and blankets, nursing flasks of hot tea. To cut petrol use, officials say, most of the town's 13,000 citizens are strictly obeying a nationwide call to turn off car engines while idling, particularly at traffic lights.

Japan, the world's second-largest economy, has no domestic sources of fossil fuel and, facing rising oil prices, has turned energy efficiency into an art form. Japan's oil consumption has remained steady since 1975, while world consumption has risen steadily. It has dramatically diversified its power sources over the years, becoming far less dependent on oil and cultivating a culture of conservation.

Kamiita's decision to turn off the heat, which brought it national media attention, came after a nationwide "warm biz" campaign led thousands of businesses and government offices to set their thermostats no higher than 20C (68F) this winter while encouraging employees to wear warm clothes at work. If it sounds like a gimmick, consider the figures from the "cool biz" campaign launched by the prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, last summer. Companies including Toyota, Hitachi, Isuzu and Sharp asked everyone, from the chief executive down, to strip off their much-loved ties and jackets as office air conditioners were set no cooler than 28C (82.4F). In metropolitan Tokyo alone, the campaign saved 70m kilowatts of power between June and August - enough to power a city of a quarter of a million people for one month, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/japan/story/0,,1711848,00.htm...
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Mnemosyne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-17-06 01:49 PM
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