Energy Rationing and Conservation

On July 28, 2011, the New York Times published a detailed article entitled “Japanese, in Shortage, Willingly Ration Watts.” As a result of the power crisis caused by the Fukushima nuclear accident and earthquake, Japan faces a real energy shortage.

Rather than complain (I know, it is a different culture) the country is working to reduce electric consumption to fit the available capacity. They have been so successful that electric use has hovered at around 75% of capacity.

All of these savings are the result of behavior changes on the part of businesses. Not capital investment, but simple behavior changes. People turn off lights, set air conditioners at 80 degrees…yes that’s 80 degrees and dress for the weather.

The net result of these activities is that some locations have cut their energy use by as much as 20%!

Can the best parts of this model be incorporated into the United States corporate models? I certainly do not see people working in U.S. offices agreeing to raise the thermostat settings….but maybe, just maybe we can achieve some real savings just by changing behavior.

In many studies, a 15% energy savings is possible by making minor modifications to how we run offices. How many people leave computers, printers, copiers and monitors on overnight…leave air conditioners set to 72 degrees, etc. Just imagine the energy reductions that we could achieve.

I think that the article quote by a Mr. Nakada says it best. “We are doing this for Japan, so it can’t be helped.”

Just think of the results if we all said that we are saving energy for the United States?

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