I was excited to have the opportunity travel to Japan over the lunar new holiday, it was to be my first visit, and besides the tourist must dos and sightseeing, and the like I was looking forward to a first hand view of the much cited Japanese efficiency, and particularly their efforts in the energy efficiency sector.
The good news, if you are in the Japanese energy efficiency business there are still countless opportunities in Japan.
Sure, Tokyo has adopted some improvment measures, for example LED traffic signals, and CFL (Compact fluorescent Lamps) however the energy wastage is still obvious. Tokyo’s extensive communtor rail and subway system is noteworthy not only because of the extensive network, operated by several different companies, but also the countless rows upon row of T12 lamps, with magnetic ballasts, that littered every subway station I visited.
Then there are Japan’s infamous vending machines, there are everywhere. Indoors, outdoors, on the street, in railway stations, on the concourse, on the platform, in hotels, there are everywhere. Just behind the Star hotel in Shinjuki, Tokyo sits a row of eight vending machines lining the road offering a vast array of hot and cold beverages, the lighting is bright, bright enough to illuminated the street at night, they eliminate the need for street lamps in that area. As far as I could tell, I didn’t personally conduct 24 hour surveillance, these machines burn electricity all day, all night, 365 days a year.
Japan has plenty of energy efficiency opportunities no doubt.
What I find annoying is that the current state of affairs makes no sense. No sense economically because it costs many times more to carry out remedial work to fix the problem than the cost to prevent pollution the occurrence.
Hong Kong’s environmental regulations should be designed to prevent toxic mercury contamination. The government estimates that 98% of businesses in Hong Kong are classified as SME (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises), yet only the 2% (the large organisations) qualify for safe disposal of lamps.
Currently choosing replacement lamps with the lowest possible mercury content is our best option, whilst we wait for lighting manufacturers to deliver on the promised zero mercury lamp.