Vending machines, which can be found almost everywhere you look in Japan, were heavily criticized last year for their heavy energy usage when the rest of the country was trying to conserve after nuclear reactors starting getting shut down. One of the harshest critics was Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, who suggested that vending machines should be gotten rid of altogether. However, the vending machine operation industry says its gotten the message, loud and clear. There have been heavy adjustments in how the energy used, as well as improving what they can provide to communities.
Some of the biggest energy-saving changes include the switch to all LED lighting, which in general uses much less electricity than other lighting methods, but also it is able to adapt to the surrounding environment. The lights can dim or brighten depending on what’s needed. In machines that serve warm products, the heat that is emitted from the machine is recycled. Improved insulation, and carefully choosing when to adjust temperatures, for example cooling beverages in the morning during summer, helps to reduce the use of energy. With all these changes applied, manufacturers say they have cut the amount of energy used by one-third when compared to that of two decades ago.
Another area of change is in machines that assist people during emergencies by providing news and information, as well as food or drinks if needed. These kind of more advanced vending machines have been around for a while, but after last year’s disasters, manufacturer are increasing their usage. The machines are programmed to be able to release food and drink items for free to people in areas of a crisis.