ECO – Japan’s New Buzzword?

There was a ridiculously long documentary on Japanese TV tonight about Al Gore’s new cause, global warming. I sat through the first three hours; watched ants eating houses, deer ravaging Hokkaido, watermelons growing in November, hybrid iguanas and evil konbini bentos (those CO2 polluting lunch boxes sold at convenience stores).

While I much preferred Al’s DVD, An Inconvenient Truth, some of what they showed was quite convincing, and would no doubt encourage the mass purchase of environmentally friendly products. In fact, there seems to be an “eco-friendly” boom happening, as more and more household appliances get labeled with an ECO badge.

What makes a product eco-friendly?

ECO, wrongly pronounced in Japan as echo, looks likely to be this year’s buzzword, as the move to halt global warming picks up speed. What concerns me at the moment is that there doesn’t seem to be any regulation over what items are ECO and what aren’t.

Let’s look at an example. Here’s a new air conditioner from Sharp. Notice that it is a self-proclaimed eco-friendly, energy efficient machine. Please excuse the fact that it’s a 2006 model, it was the cheapest ECO air conditioner I found on Yahoo Japan Shopping.

Eco-friendly 2006 air conditioner

Notice also how it only uses 2.2 kilowatts of power on “cool” mode, and 2.5 kilowatts on “warm” mode. Pretty energy efficient, right? Well, let’s have a look at an older, 2002 air conditioner from National, one without an ECO label. I found this one on Yahoo Japan Auctions.

Non-Eco-friendly 2002 air conditioner

Just because it says ECO, doesn’t mean it is true

As you can see, there is no difference whatsoever in their power consumption. I’m no electrician, and don’t know anything about air conditioners other than what’s on the remote control, so maybe I’m missing something here. What I am sure of though, is that companies will take advantage of the consumer’s desire to be environmentally friendly, and will market their products as such. So, buyers beware!

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

4 thoughts on “ECO – Japan’s New Buzzword?

  1. Pingback:
  2. That means the air-conditioner I brought last year is totally not ECO!! I too thought I was buying an ECO friendly “AC” and have been duped.
    Aaaaaaah with so much bull#### out there Nick, who are we to believe???
    Great seeing you yesterday mate and Rikuto is so cool and already has that intelligent look about him. He was kinda freaking me out a bit when he was staring at me but I suppose he does not get to see such a good looking man very often haa haa haa!!
    He does seem to understand what is going on around him and he seems to stare at things until he works them out which is really cool. I think he is a chip off the old block and with Mami’s looks and your brains, he is going to go a long way in life!!
    Now if I could just rent him once in a while mate, I’m sure he would be a chick magnet haa haa haa!!!
    Mike if you read this, sorry about not ringing you yesterday!!!! Daddy still luvs ya!!!

    1. Thanks for going off topic! 😉 You never know, your air conditioner might be eco-friendly, but without any requirements for limiting energy consumption, nobody can say.

  3. It’s a sales “gimmick” just like “+ ion” was a couple years ago. It’s a buncha crap helping to stick extra coin into the wrong peoples pockets.

    Hopefully it will start to change into a real selling point.

Comments are closed.