knapper_tech writes "Manufacturing disruptions in Japan have already affected parts supplies in my part of the world and may send workers home as early as April. While the worst of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis seems to have given way to the rebuilding phase, a looming question for Japan and the global economy recently described as "recovering" is how to avoid blackouts this summer in Tokyo, the heart of the world's third largest economy. The typical peak demand period is in August, so while there might not be enough time to build additional generating capacity or transmission capability, more readily implemented techniques and technologies like cool roofs or simply unplugging devices when off, require only awareness and small investments, such as a switchable power strip.
Last semester I had the privileged of attending a seminar series at the University of Oklahoma with many guest speakers including experts on energy consumption and architectural energy conservation in particular. Among unfamiliar items were virtual store aisles, which eliminated open-faced cooled shelves. Considering how something currently as niche as a vacuum insulated panel might find easy life inside a Japanese vending machine, where hot and cold beverage storage obviously complicates insulation design, it's seems to be a good time to reflect on the available quick-fixes and help the Japanese and the world recover economically. Surely there are programs similar to the one at OU, and surely there are more ways of robustly saving electricity. I will be in contact with a Hitachi overseas division regarding another energy saving project, and any quality information will be relayed to Hitachi ltd.
Furthermore, given the demonstrated capacity of the Japanese keiretsu to coordinate focused industrial efforts, robust electricity savings could lead to a clear demonstration of how sustainable technologies can affect the growth of an economy, perhaps giving the rest of the world an opportunity to continue developing economically without colliding politically over energy demand a little less. With power consumption fresh on the mind, what are some back-burner items that perhaps should be looked at more carefully moving forward from this disaster?"
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