The summer following the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011 was an uneasy time for Japan. With all its nuclear power plants shut down, the country was forced to rely on thermal energy generation and, on days when the mercury soared, factories shut down machinery and people at home turned off their air conditioners or switched over to less power-hungry devices, such as electric fans.
Six years later, the weekly “be between” online survey featured in the Asahi Shimbun dated 10 June asked readers, “Are you still conserving electricity?” Of 1,777 respondents, an overwhelming 87% replied that they were, as opposed to the remaining 13%, who said they were not.
Quite a few respondents objected to the “still” in the question, insisting they have always been conservative in their use of electricity. Conservation efforts included turning off appliance switches when not needed (as stated by 1,351 people); adjusting the thermostat (868); changing from incandescent to LED lighting (720); purchasing devices that consume less power (318); and unplugging appliances so that they would not consume power when not in use (256).
In descending order, respondents named as “essential” such appliances as the refrigerator (1,199 responses); washing machine (1,190); television set (697); air conditioner (565); microwave oven (403); toilet seat warmer (308); rice cooker (307); radio (141); kotatsu, Japanese electric foot warmer (105); and audio system (70).
Those with an eye on future conservation efforts expressed interest in homes featuring special insulation and solar power generation. These were followed by devices that indicate how much power is being consumed, and wind power generation.