Dressing Down to Fight Global Warming
Remember when your mother used to tell you to just put on an extra layer when you pleaded to have the heater raised? It seems as though China's government has decided to adopt a similar logic to encourage lower power consumption: it has called for an easing of dress codes to minimize the use of air conditioning in its public buildings.
According to China Daily, the government hopes to make this one of the key steps in its broader "26Â°C" campaign to keep buildings no cooler than 26Â°C (79Â°F) during the summer. The campaign, which was started in 2005, applies to schools, office buildings, supermarkets, restaurants, government agencies and various other public structures. Implementing this plan would result in energy savings of approximately 300 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, according to People's Daily Online.Air conditioners typically account for 30% to 50% of office buildings' energy consumption so any step taken to curtail their use would yield significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. "China is exploring a different way of controlling greenhouse gas emissions," said Wan Gang, the country's Minister of Science and Technology. "We will not follow the Western countries' way of high emissions first and then reduction."
The Chinese government is not alone in pursuing this new campaign. Japan has adopted a similar plan, dubbed "Cool Biz," to encourage office workers to dress down and keep buildings no cooler than 28Â°C (82Â°F). In an attempt to drum up support for the initiative and set a positive example, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently instructed his cabinet members to wear shirts instead of the traditional business clothes.