Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Saving the Planet with Underwear

First, presidential candidate Bill Clinton was pressed on the boxers or briefs issue, and now this:
President Lee Myung-bak recently said he has managed to lower the room temperature by three degrees in his office after wearing additional underwear.

TMI, anyone? Actually, this bit of "news" is brought to us by our friends at the Korea Times, ever anxious to strip a story to its bare essentials, to dig inside the exterior of events and reveal what's underneath.

The story concerns a report from Korea's National Institute of Environmental Research that wearing thermal underwear has the effect of raising the thermostat by 2.4 degrees Celsius:
The researchers compared wearing long johns and sweatshirts in a room where the thermostat was set at 19.6 degrees.
The finding [sic] shows that thermal underwear traps bodily heat and has effects of bringing the room temperature up to 22 degrees.
"It means the longer and thicker underwear enable people to keep themselves warm at a lower room temperature," said Ryu Ji-wan, the institute's researcher.

Oh, sure, I suppose next they'll tell us that wearing a heavy coat outside during cold weather keeps you warm. I mean, it's pretty obvious, that's all I'm saying.

The article is apparently part of a campaign to lower thermostats in public buildings: "On a larger scale, lowering the thermostat by 2.4 degrees Celsius in public places alone could save up to 1.1 million tons of heating oil a year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 3.4 million tons, the institute said." You need about 2 billion pine trees to filter the CO2 from that, according to the article.

You may remember President Carter did this 30 years ago, mandating that federal buildings set their thermostats to 68 F (20 C) in the winter. Of course, once the oil embargo ended, no one seemed to care anymore.

I wish they would apply this principle to the interior of subway cars, which are kept quite warm in the winter, warm enough for shirt sleeves. But everyone is, of course, wearing their coats, sweaters and scarves. As a result, you can get really uncomfortably hot on a reasonably long ride.

image from Korea Times at www.koreatimes.co.kr-www-news-nation-2009-12-117_57348.html
The Ministry of Environment held fashion shows last year to portray fashionable ways of promoting warm underwear, and this year we have strange men accosting women in public places wearing their long johns and Santa caps.


RealityZone said...

When we were in Korea 10/08 I picked up some winter underwear. Talk about comfortable, and warm. I think i will be needing some more in about 2-3 years. lol

조안나 said...

I'm a big fan of long underwear... just for the record...

SuperDrew said...

He is just shilling for BYC. I didn't realize it was ok for a president to get corporate endorsements...oh wait.

On another note, my school building was erected in the early 70's, and has no insulation, which doesn't matter, since everyone keeps the windows open anyway.

Even with my office on lockdown, I have to crank the heater at like 27 in order to keep the room warm enough that my fingers don't hurt.

PS: captcha- stankin

BLOGitse said...

That's a practical idea - wear more clothes and you feel warm!

I can imagine how hot it can be in subway cars if it's much warmer than outside.
Have a great day!

Tuttle said...

RZ: I can't find much that fits me here.
Jo-Anna: Duly noted ... for the record ...
SD: Curiously, today, the windows were all closed today on my hall--maybe common sense kicked in at 18 F...
BLOGitse: Welcome! From your blog, you appear to be a Finn living in Cairo--I bet you know a bit about both thermal undergarments and uncomfortable heat!