Though there may be some who continue to debate its very existence, it is difficult to deny that climate change is one of the defining issues of our time. And while tackling the problem relies largely on governments making changes at a global level, increased awareness of the causes of climate change has led to a seismic shift in mindset at the consumer level.
Driven by a heightened interest in sustainable living and a growing sense of concern for the environment, an increasing number of people are taking matters into their own hands by implementing measures to regulate their energy consumption at home.
Awareness of energy efficiency and a desire to reduce wastage is nothing new of course, but the days of trying to do it manually could be on the wane thanks to the new generation of computerized "smart" houses. Designed to automatically optimize energy efficiency via an integrated network of electronic sensors, these cutting-edge buildings address what is arguably the biggest impediment to reducing home consumption: human oversight.
True to its reputation for technological innovation, Japan has been at the forefront of the "smart" house trend, with various forward-thinking companies striving to find new and better ways of saving energy with minimal effort. Panasonic has been particularly active in this field, creating a number of pioneering products and automated systems designed to reduce energy wastage significantly.
The company's Home Energy Management System monitors the consumption levels of various appliances and devices such as Panasonic Energy Saving Products to help track and adjust the flow of energy throughout the home to minimize loss and promote optimal energy efficiency. Interestingly, the system also promotes awareness of consumption by allowing residents to track the flow and usage of energy throughout the home on display panels, TVs or smartphones.
Panasonic has also sought to dramatically reduce the amount of energy required to control temperature in these homes with a revolutionary ventilation system that harnesses the power of nature to keep them cool in summer and warm in winter. Utilizing PURETECH technology to circulate geothermal heat in combination with cutting-edge insulation materials and the intuitive ECONAVI airflow system—which responds to changes in the number of people in each room as well as their activity level—the buildings are kept at optimum temperatures without the substantial energy requirements of a normal house.
But energy-saving innovations in "smart" houses need not be on such a grand scale, and the sustainability mindset is often reflected in the smallest of details, such as LED light bulbs. Unlikely to register as anything out of the ordinary to the untrained eye, LED light bulbs are capable of reducing energy consumption by more than 80% and can last up to 20 years.
"A growing number of consumers are taking steps to introduce energy-efficient elements into their own homes," says Mr Kohjiroh Wakabayashi, Managing Director, PanaHome Asia Pacific. "Our goal is to make it as convenient for them as possible to make these positive changes, and to continue to develop technology that makes sustainable living both easily achievable and highly desirable."
So to paraphrase an old adage, if you want to change the world, start at home.