In the pink

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.

3 thoughts on “In the pink

  1. When there is nonstop noise in your ears, normal functions of life become burdens.
    Almost all live entertainment is too loud to be safe for your ears regardless if it is classical, jazz, or rock.
    Tinnitus is an auditory hallucination, a noise abnormality
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  2. Not sure stat between China and US is at all meaningful, as China has a lot of very energy hungry manufacturing, while US is mainly a service economy. My guess is China also has a lot of homes without electricity. So unless goal was to deceive readers, not sure meaning of 41%/29% stat is. Also, as to insulation being cheaper than electric power all over world, not sure you know what you are talking about. I own some B office building in OKC, it has very cheap electric power. I am open to any capital improvement that reduces costs and never have seen insulation as winner (retrofitted lighting, yes, new chillers, yes, but not insulation).

  3. Well, a certain level of insulation is cheap. In Germany, for example, we have double-pane windows and a lot of basic insulation that you usually don’t see in the US. Energy is also pretty expensive. However, we are at a level where an extra level of insulation will not save any more energy. This is the 80/20 equilibrium (with 20 % of expenditure you can gain 80% of the insulation level). This means that every additional step of insulation is so prohibitively expensive, that it doen’t make economic sense.

    Of course, maybe the US is still not at this level, which might explain also a bit of the arrogance and level of perceived superiority of many germans regarding the US.

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