Renovating buildings and heating systems makes sense in order to reduce energy consumption for space heating. In addition, we could personally contribute significantly more to the success of the energy transition. In order not to freeze in the cold season, we just have to rethink and behave differently – in Japan, even the Ministry of the Environment gives simple tips on how to never freeze again. My suggestion as a health journalist: How about working with energy consultants to develop comprehensive training for tenants and owners?
Warm Biz campaign makes you think
Everything would actually be quite simple: in winter we dress and eat differently than in summer so as not to have to freeze. In other words: during the cold season, we no longer just run around in cotton T-shirts at home, but wrap ourselves in wool or modern high-tech materials that don’t let body heat go to waste thanks to their fleece. We also change our diet and prefer warming foods and avoid cooling foods.
Anyone who sits on the couch or desk chair for hours freezes faster than someone who moves a lot and does sports regularly. Check out my guest post for more tips “Before and after the renovation, it’s worth doing something to stop the cold yourself.”
Actually, everything would be very simple. But unfortunately we find it difficult to change our cherished habits – even if we could even make a very personal contribution to the energy transition.
In 2011, the Japanese Ministry of the Environment launched the Warm Biz campaignin order to consistently expand the Cool Biz campaign that had been started 6 years earlier to include the cold season.
Since then, posters, flyers, and the media in Japan have featured them time and again Tips for saving energy in the cold season spread. According to the motto: “Heat the rooms to a maximum of 20 degrees in winter – and if you’re cold, put on an extra sweater, walk more again and get together with family and friends in the evening to prepare a Japanese hot pot and to heat you up from the inside while eating.”
As my Japanese friends tell me, their compatriots discuss such requests intensively every winter. Many also vociferously resist being “patronised” by politicians in an area of life that has hitherto been a matter of private decision-making.
Despite everything, a rethinking has started in Japan. There are toilets with heated toilet seats in private and public buildings, you can make yourself comfortable at home in the 1-person sauna, or sit down with friends at flat tables with long tablecloths that are heated from below.
I couldn’t find out whether the Warm Biz campaigns have already found imitators. the Cool Biz campaign, which is about saving energy in the summer, was taken up in 2006 in South Korea and by the British umbrella organization of trade unions (Trade Union Congress) and in 2008 by the UN.
Minimum cost at maximum feel-good effect
But does it really have to come to the point where the state has to give us the rules of conduct? Or aren’t we actually intelligent enough to come up with such ideas ourselves and implement them?
I would like to do a test and compare the energy and comfort balance of 4 old buildings in which 10 parties live. Let’s assume that the goal is: minimum costs with maximum feel-good effect. Which scenario do you think will win then?
- Building 1: The residents live and heat in winter as ever and note what heating costs they have and how comfortable they feel with the warmth of the heating.
- building 2: The outer walls will be insulated, a new heating system and modern windows will be installed. Residents receive training on the energy efficiency of buildings. The evaluation includes the acquisition costs for the installations and conversions, the craftsman’s work, the heating costs and the fee for the training fees. There is also a point value for the feel-good factor of the residents.
- building 3: Everything remains in the same structural condition as in Building 1, but the residents learn how to keep warm with simple tricks without turning up the heating more than necessary. The heating costs and the feel-good factor are evaluated.
- Building 4: All registers are pulled out for this, because after the building refurbishment, training courses are held on energy efficiency and personal warming methods. All criteria are measured: production costs for the devices and materials, fees for the conversion measures and the two training courses, heating costs and the feel-good index.
>>> If you have the time and desire to plan and accompany this experiment with me, please call me or send me an email to email@example.com. I am convinced that with such a practical test we can provide politicians, conservationists and environmentalists, heating and air conditioning experts and energy consultants with plenty of food for thought.