Japanese Companies Redefine Work Week To Save Energy
A few weeks ago, I reported on a Japanese program that encourages professionals to save electricity by wearing Hawaiian shirts, T-shirts and sandals to work instead of the usual stuffy three-piece suits.
Now it seems that in the wake of energy shortages caused by the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, some Japanese companies are redefining the work week in order to stagger energy consumption peaks and troughs.
Environmental Leader reports that “Casio Computer Co. will redefine employee weekends as Sundays and Wednesdays, starting July 6, in order to stagger its energy consumption peaks and troughs. Candy maker Morinaga & Co. has asked workers to start and end their day an hour earlier, so they work in cooler weather.” And many employers are asking staff to take longer summer vacations, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
Fearing further risk to human and environmental health, the government of Japan ordered many of its nuclear reactors to be switched off until progress could be made in fortifying them against another natural disaster. While this decision to abandon nuclear energy was made with the support of the Japanese people, the country is now left wondering how it will supply power for its millions of citizens through the hot summer months.
The government has ordered a 15 percent cut in electricity use in the Tokyo and Tohoku regions starting July 1, to avoid blackouts. As a result, elevators and escalators have been stopped in train stations and offices; convenience stores and some vending machines have turned off their lights; and many offices are setting their thermostats to 82 F (EL).
Photo by Official U.S. Navy Imagery