Energy-saving fans with special functions booming in Japan's summer heat


Energy-saving fans that deodorize or offer other special functions are becoming more and more popular in Japan as the country endures record-breaking summer heat.

Fans that run on a direct-current motor allow users to make fine adjustments to the rotation speed of the blade and compared with conventional fans, which use alternating-current motors, DC fans generate gentler air flow using less electricity.

This year, manufacturers have beefed up energy-saving fans with new functions.

Panasonic Corp. released the F-CR339 fan, touted for creating air flows as natural as cool highland breezes. The product also features a function to reduce odors on clothes dried indoors using the company’s Nanoe technology.

Dyson K.K., the Japanese arm of the British home appliance-maker, launched the bladeless Pure Cool air-purifying fan in April. The fan allows users to check the condition of the air in the room on its display screen or by using a smartphone app.

Higher-end DC motor fans can be pricey, with many models carrying retail prices of around ¥20,000.

But they are becoming more popular, especially as consumer awareness of energy-saving products has grown since the 2011 disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

“An increasing number of people choose to buy DC motor fans instead of using air conditioners,” an official at Bic Camera Inc. said.

In the January-June period, sales of such fans at electronics retailers jumped nearly 20 percent from a year before, with a number of major Japanese firms having entered the market since 2010, according to private research firm GfK Japan.