Energy savings: Japan: significant improvement of the energy efficiency of refrigerators
According to JARN, the energy efficiency of refrigerators in Japan has been continuously improved: their power consumption has been reduced to 1/5th of that 10 years ago. This is in part due to the development of vacuum heat insulators, which are high efficiency thermal insulating panels. They are produced by vacuum-packing materials such as silica powder and glass wool into a coating material such as metal laminated film, which has high vacuum retaining performance. Other contributors to increasing energy efficiency include the development of inverter technology capable of minimizing energy loss by controlling the compressor speed, and the use of isobutane (R-600a). Matsushita's 1A 401-litre and 451-litre series are this year's No. 1 energy savers, as their power consumption has been reduced to 150 kWh/year. For 400-litre refrigerators, power consumption has been reduced to 150-170 kWh/year. The use of isobutane in small refrigerators has enabled Japanese manufacturers to take a big step in improving the energy efficiency of small refrigerators.