In Hakone, where you would think that the wide open countryside would encourage spacious living areas, the hotel rooms are even smaller than Tokyo, and the corridor is littered with 1m wide fluorescent Emergency Escape lighting fittings as shown below.
Although it looks similar to the standard signs, actually the base of the sign has a polycarbonate transparent section designed to light the corridor at the same time I wonder?
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.
1.00 pm, Sunday, 18 January 2008, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong
It is a beautiful bright sunny Sunday afternoon, the store is obviously closed, and the shutters are down. Yet all seven (7) exterior lamps are burning brightly, here is a photograph captured with my camera phone.
Did the owner forget? or believe it would not make a big difference? Did someone consider the extra coal that would be burnt at the power station and its resultant pollution to keep those lights on?
This raises the thorny issue, the true cost of power, can we continue to overlook the generation externalities? The social cost of pollution created by power generation in Hong Kong is presently estimated to be in the order of HK$ 6 billon (US$ 740 million) per year, but that cost is not priced into the consumers energy charge, its paid by the tax payers. The Hong Kong Government verbally advocates a polluters pay policy, however the reality is very different, often relying on the tax payer to foot the bill.
It is not just about the recording lighting level (known as LUX)
Lighting efficacy – Energy audits for buildings, typically include a lighting audit. But just recording the lighting level (known as the lux level) in the various rooms is not enough. We need to assess the effectiveness of the installation.
During a recent energy audit several lighting fittings (as shown in the photograph) were discovered. Perhaps discovered is the wrong word, the high intensity fittings were plainly obvious.
Pairs of uplighting fittings were installed close to each other, and very close to the ceiling.
These fittings didn’t add any value to the illumination of the space, as you can clearly see these intended uplighters only created an intense, localised pool of light (and heat).
Based on operating 3,600 hours per year, each fitting wastes HK$ 660 per year in electricity. Just measuring the lighting level is not sufficient for an energy audit, in this case immediate removal was recommended saving electricity.
Also remember that in air conditioned rooms removing lighting fittings not only lowers the electricity consumption for lighting, it also lowers the heat gain which in turn reduces the load on the air conditioning system. As a rule of thumb, eliminting 1 Kw of lighting lowers the total electricity consumption by 1.3 kw.
31 October 2008 – I was honoured to be invited by HKTDC to give a speech at the 2008 ECO ASIA EXPO regarding Energy Efficiency. Special thanks for HKDTC’s Mr Matthew Ip for his gracious introduction.
Here are some more photographs from the venue.
Sadly, especially considering this was an environmenal exhitbition, each of the exhibition booths had several spotlights with 100 watt incandescent lamps – hardly a shining example of efficiency for the exhibitors and delegates.