Like Mr. McGuire to Benjamin, Adam Minter has “just one word” for China, and that word is insulation?
But in all seriousness, it’s a very good word, both for China and even us.
Most American homes are leaky and under insulated and according to Adam, Chinese domiciles are even worse:
What do the 95 percent of Chinese buildings that are energy inefficient look like? Much like the apartments I rented in Shanghai over the last decade: uninsulated concrete boxes with single-pane windows and blustery drafts (that no amount of weather-proofing ever seemed to plug completely). When temperatures dipped (sometimes below freezing), the walls went ice-cold and stayed that way until spring, even if I ran my space heaters and heat-blowing air conditioner non-stop, for days at a time (as I sometimes did).
While American homes are better than this, Adam reports that in 2009 China devoted 29% of its energy use to building, while the US fraction in 2008 was 41%.
People, insulation is cheaper than electricity all over the world.