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Network coding (NC) has emerged as a promising solution to achieve higher throughput and energy efficiency in communication networks. In this paper, we propose an NC-based energy management mechanism for next-generation passive optical networks (NG-PONs). The principle and signaling process of NC in NG-PONs are discussed and an experimental emulation of NC in an Ethernet PON (EPON) is presented by using NetFPGAs and an IEEE 802.3ah EPON network. To achieve energy efficiency at both optical line terminal and optical network units (ONUs) and exploit the benefits of NC on energy efficiency and performance in NG-PONs, we propose a downstream-bandwidth-reservation-based accurate ONU sleep control scheme and extend it by introducing NC. The benefits of NC on the energy efficiency and network performance are discussed and simulation results show that by introducing NC into NG-PONs, better energy efficiency can be achieved and the performance penalty caused by energy saving can be mitigated.