HVAC sanity in Japan

June 27, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

How often have you gone into a store or business in the summer, where you needed to wear a sweater or coat to stay comfortably warm? Think movie theaters, for example. No doubt, Americans waste a lot of energy over-cooling in the summer and over-warming in the winter. Think of those businesses that keep their doors open in the winter, heat spilling out into the frigid outdoors. When we bought a Christmas tree this year, the lot was using propane heaters to heat the outdoors.

As reported by Newsweek, Japan is using common sense in an effort to make itself less dependent on foreign fuel and in an effort to reduce carbon emissions:

In 2005, Environment Minister Yuriko Koike, a pioneering female politician, was seeking ways to slash energy use. And she came up with the Cool Biz campaign. The idea: Government would cut energy bills by keeping thermostats in its buildings at 28 degrees Celsius—82.4 degrees Fahrenheit—during the summer. It quickly produced results and was adopted by the business establishment as well. Since Japan’s energy mavens realized that simply unbuttoning a shirt collar can make people feel about 4 degrees cooler, dressing down became part of the Cool Biz mentality. (Here’s an ABC News story on the phenomenon.) The only people we met with this week wearing suits, ties, and cufflinks were Americans.


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Category: Energy, Environment, global warming

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Mentat says:

    I'm in Canada; I don't find this happening much in buildings but it's quite often the case on the city buses. If it were as cold outside during other seasons, as they keep it inside the bus during summer, they'd turn the heat on! It's just ridiculous.

    I noticed that this was even more extreme when I visited Singapore. It shouldn't even be an energy issue, it should be plain common sense. I find it quite uncomfortable to switch suddenly from sweating to shivering. Could it be that most people aren't reacting this way? How does this persist? Cultural adaptation? It's bizarre.

  2. Dan Klarmann says:

    I keep a warm flannel shirt in the car all summer. It's a necessity for malls, movies, and most stores.

    I've always wondered why office thermostats are controlled by the 3 piece suit wearers, to the teeth chattering frustration of the masses of office workers. Although space heaters in August seem silly, these streng verboten appliances are in use in cubical farms to locally offset the coma inducing chill of the office.

    When I regularly worked in an office or a lab, I kept a jumpsuit for the summer months. Where this attire was forbidden, I stepped outside for regular thaw breaks.

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