Stop complaining - it's actually colder inside!
Source of picture: www.gulfnews.com
By John Richardson
As northern China shivers from the coldest temperatures in decades, one Western ex-pat based in the country vented his spleen on cultural impediments which cause huge energy wastage - and prevent everyone from keeping a little bit warmer.
"My colleagues keep their coats on while at their desks so they can open windows to circulate fresh air.
"Our cleaners and security guards do exactly the same - they open windows in corridors no matter how many times you tell them not to.
"For a long time there's been a lot of talk about 'American Exceptionalism', the concept of how we view our way of life as distinct and unique and one that shouldn't be messed with or criticised.
"I think this increasingly applies to China and the attitude towards energy conservation is one small example."
Also at the heart of the problem is very low electricity costs compared with the developed world, the ex-pat continues.
And buildings are 6-10 times less well-insulated than those in America, he adds, creating a huge demand-growth opportunity for the polymers used in the insulation - including polystyrene (PS), polyurethane (PU) and phenolic resins.
But, sadly, the nature of building construction in China seems to be holding back progress: Typical apartments are mass-manufactured as concrete and solid-walled boxes with therefore no cavities in which insulation material can be inserted, he says.
The other extreme is in summer where, if you have the misfortune to be wearing a suit and tie working in an office in China, it can be akin to a visit to the sauna - again because of insufficient use of insulating materials and poor ventilation.
So if you visit northern China while this cold spell continues make sure you pack a thick coat, scarves and gloves etc - to wear in as well as outside the office.