January 06, 2007

High-Tech Heating

The New York Times reports on all the nifty new technologies that are making Japanese homes more and more energy-efficient. In part, high energy prices have "spurred the invention and development of things like low-energy washing machines and televisions and high-mileage cars... Japanese factories also learned how to cut energy use and become the most efficient in the world."

I particularly liked the heating system that uses sensors to direct heat only toward rooms with people in them. Presumably technology like that would become more commonplace in the United States if a carbon tax were ever put in place. In 2001, the average Japanese household used 4,177 kilowatt-hours of electricity, compared with 10,655 kilowatt hours in the United States. It's difficult to tell, though, how much of that difference is due to all of the fuel-saving gadgets, and how much to people living in smaller houses and constantly doing stuff on their own to save energy, such as recycling bath water for the laundry or putting on a sweater rather than cranking up the heat.
-- Brad Plumer 1:16 PM || ||