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Japan Making Energy Saving Headway

This blog has explored various ways to conserve energy on an individual level. But what if those efforts were federally mandated? Imagine how much energy could be saved if it was a nationwide campaign initiated from the top down rather than a grassroots movement working against the status quo of fossil fuel. The Japanese culture is in the midst of such a movement. Everything from government regulations, to corporate policies, to dedication familial practices are in place to release the country from its dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

The Japanese government has imposed $5.20 per gallon cost on is citizens for a gallon of gas, twice what Americans pay and far above international market value. This price has forced the Japanese to save energy by using efficient technologies, reusing warm water for things like laundry and biking wherever possible. Additionally, the government has encouraged the use of fuel cells – generators that convert natural gas to hydrogen to be used as electricity. This new technology can power an entire house for a fraction of the cost. Japan uses the tax revenue from its high priced gasoline to subsidize the cost of these fuel cells to encourage more and more families to purchase them. Japan also leads the way in renewable energy technologies like solar and wind power.

Corporate Japan also imposes energy saving guidelines. Offices use fans and heavy drapes instead of air conditioning and electronics and appliances are turned off on lunch breaks. In the winter, businesspeople are encouraged to wear long johns and sweaters under business clothes to decrease heating costs.

Due to Japan’s tragic natural disasters this past year, the country has been forced to make due with less power. Its dedication to conservation has been the main reason production has only slightly suffered, and the country is running almost at capacity on 20% less power than in 2010. Though America has not suffered tragedy at the hands of natural disaster this year, perhaps we can follow Japans lead in truly developing a energy efficient society. With government guidance, corporate encouragement and dedication on the parts of individuals and families, we could become a less wasteful, more prudent society.

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