As electric utility rates increase more Japanese people are looking at wood-burning stoves

wood stoveThe cost of electricity is gradually becoming more expensive in Japan since Japan’s 48 nuclear reactors were taken offline after the events related to Fukushima in March, 2011. Although as of January 2013, two years after the events of Fukushima, most cities in Japan hosting nuclear plants stated that they do not mind restarts. In August, 2015 the nuclear reactors in Sendai in Southern Japan were the first reactors to be restarted after the March, 2011 shutdowns of all reactors in Japan. Last year in 2015, Kansai Electric Power Co (KEPCO) increased electricity rates for households. The rate was initially hiked by 4.62% until September 31, 2015 and then went up to 8.36% from October 1, 2015. Depending on household and business, average increases of electricity went up about 15% since 2014, and have increased to about on average 19% in 2016. For many families in Japan whose income has remained about the same and depending on household consumption where many homes use electricity for every household need including cooking, this has consumed a larger percentage of household income.

Rocket Stove

Rocket Stove

To compensate for the increase in electrical consumption in Japan, sales of wood burning stoves have increased in the past three years. At a local home improvement center close to where I live, there is an entire section of wood burning stoves of various sizes along with wood burning stove accessories, and also wood for sale to burn in the stoves. These types of stoves are an inefficient type of heat source burning wood quickly, so started thinking about efficiency and would there be a better type of stove the Japanese are not familiar with? Turns out there is a far better and more efficient stove called a “rocket stove.” From January, 2013 through August, 2013 there were 576 applications for permits (didn’t realize in Japan you need a permit for a wood burning stove?) for wood burning stoves and that number has increased significantly since 2013. A rocket stove is becoming a popular variety of fuel-efficient wood-burning stove. It is easy to construct, with low-cost materials. These are low-mass stoves designed to burn small pieces of wood very efficiently. Rocket Stoves use branches, twigs, small wood scraps, or just about any small combustible material. The pieces of wood or other material burn at their tips, increasing combustion efficiency, creating a very hot fire, and eliminating smoke. I am surprised that rocket stoves aren’t being manufactured and sold in Japan considering their efficiency and the heat they generate as well as requiring far less amounts of wood than regular wood stoves.


2 thoughts on “As electric utility rates increase more Japanese people are looking at wood-burning stoves

  1. Surprise no mention of pellet stoves. Also the Scandinavian stoves Morso, Jotul etc are very, very heat efficient and clean burning due to restrictions in many of their global markets. I wouldn’t put a cheap or homemade stove in my house because of the health issues. Breathing too much wood smoke is not healthy especially for kids. Get a modern well made stove with a good design and a good seal to keep most of the carcinogens out of the house.

    • While reading for the bit of news on stoves I came across pellet stoves but didn’t read far enough to learn what they are. I can go back and edit the article to include pellet stoves.

      A friend here has a small wood-burning stove and don’t like to spend a lot of time at his house during the winter for the same reason you just mentioned. The house reeks of that burnt wood smell.

      Thank you.

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