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What is the most environmentally friendly way to keep warm in winter?

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Build a house to North American specifications: triple glazing, thick insulation everywhere, and baseboard heating. And then live in it.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

Take a long holiday at an eco-village in the north of Thailand.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Move to Okinawa :)

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Aside from building a proper house (as JeffLee so aptly states), wear a fleece, sit under a blanket and turn the heater down a couple of degrees.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Turn the heat on (20 degrees Cel should be fine) and enjoy the comforts of your home. You should be comfortable in your home not freezing.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

pointofview. I think you are missing the point. If Japanese houses were built properly, they WOULD be able to enjoy them rather than running from the bathroom to the one heated room chanting "Samui, samui!".

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Wear thick clothing.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Wear warm clothes made of thick textile and shoes with thick soles. Then you can manage to stay warmer without wearing a ton of paper thin clothes.

Eat better and exercise- increased metabolism makes you feel warmer.

Keep a thermos with warm tea or coffee at hand.

With temperatures sometimes minus 25- 30 C, waist high snow and soaring heating prices, how do you think we survive in my country the winter.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@JeffLee

Build a house to North American specifications: triple glazing, thick insulation everywhere, and baseboard heating. And then live in it.

The monster houses in NA, with centralized heating, are a big source of human induced climate change, not a solution.

The best solution is the oldest solution: share body heat.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Layers, layers, layers. Dressing warmly wins almost every time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not all Japanese houses are cold, the warmest houses I have been to have been up in HOKKAIDO! Up in Hokkaido they know how to make homes to stay nice and warm, here in Tokyo, etc..?? Nope! and it is not just that the houses are built like crap here in Tokyo but the whole country of JAPAN needs to use DAYLIGHT'S SAVING TIME!! Why in the hell do we have the same time all year round here in Japan!! The sun in the summer is out at 2:30 AM!! Who in the hell is awake at that time??? and Now it is winter, so we wake up to cold dark mornings, have to turn on lights, turn on the heaters etc..maybe Japan should use daylights saving time but move it up by 2 hours!!! I am sure this would save lots of energy and keep up warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Hugging.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Beer.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Beer.

I think that and other alcoholic drinks actually make you feel colder, not warmer.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The monster houses in NA, with centralized heating, are a big source of human induced climate change, not a solution.

Funny, my 150 square meter, four bedroom three bathroom home in America cost the same to heat and cool as my old Japanese 30 square meter 1LDK apartment.

Japan is the second largest producer and consumer of electricity in the world, depite having about 1/3 the population of America, and only a tiny fraction of the land area. Japan can't throw any stones when it comes to talking about energy consumption or conservation.

To save energy I keep myself busy. I don't need the AC or heat if I am not at home to use it.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

I think that and other alcoholic drinks actually make you feel colder, not warmer.

Untrue. It makes you feel warmer, and then later drops your body temperature and makes your body colder overall. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/01/health/01real.html?_r=0 The solution, therefore, is to not stop drinking.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

and then later drops your body temperature and makes your body colder overall.

In other words, beer and other alcoholic drinks actually make you feel colder, not warmer. Just like I wrote.

From your link:

According to studies over the years, while alcohol may seem like the perfect cold-weather beverage because it creates a sensation of warmth, it actually decreases core body temperature — regardless of the temperature outside — and increases the risk of hypothermia.

--

The solution, therefore, is to not stop drinking.

That is not a solution, that is a dangerous suggestion.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Vest, shirt, jumper and fleece. Then, when the underfloor heating in the main room eventually gets the temperature up to 18 - 19 C, it's tolerable. But by then it's time to go to bed. The other rooms are no warmer than being outside and are pretty much unusable for five months of the year.

We do have double glazing, but the wall space appears to be hollow and empty. I don't know why they allow such rubbish housing to be built in the 21st century. It's hardly any better than the shacks by the river the homeless inhabit, except that it costs a small fortune.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

In the summer I bought 90x180cm aluminium foam sheets from the 100Y shop. They're meant to be placed under your rug with the kotatsu on to reflect the heat back into the room but I hung them from my balcony door, aluminium side facing outwards. This reflected the sun's heat back outside and helped cool my apartment down in conjunction with the air conditioner. The temperature difference on each side of the sheet was huge.

They also block out a fair amount of light and so helped me sleep for longer(my curtains are quite thin).

The best thing is, unlike blankets or fans, they can be used when it's hot AND when it's cold. When it got cold I just started hanging them aluminium side in which reflects heat from the air conditioner back into the room, keeping it warmer for longer.

The trick is you need to keep a small air gap between the window and the sheet for it to be effective.

I also put one over my front door which is metal and freezing cold. Now the entrance/kitchen area doesn't freeze so quickly. I use magnets so that hanging and removing them is quick and hassle-free.

420Y bought enough sheets to cover my balcony sliding door, the small window and the front door. Try it. You'll be glad you did :)

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Share your body heat with a pretty filly.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@Onniyama,

Id rather spend the extra few thousand yen to be warm and cozy in my house. I dont even think about it for a second. Why would you wear 3 and 4 layers of clothing in your house? I`m more "eco" in other areas so everything balances out.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Move to the sunny coast of southern California and blaze up.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Japan is the second largest producer and consumer of electricity in the world, depite having about 1/3 the population of America, and only a tiny fraction of the land area. Japan can't throw any stones when it comes to talking about energy consumption or conservation.

Japan is 19th in terms of per capita consumption (7848 kWh), the top five consumers per capita being Iceland (52,374kWh), Norway (23,174), Kuwait (16,122), Canada (16,406) and Qatar (15,755). The US is 9th at 13,246 kWh. Stone-throwing may not be a good thing, but Japan can chuck a few pebbles at some windows.

http://wdi.worldbank.org/table/5.11

As for an eco-friendly way to keep warm - eat porridge for breakfast and train the dog to sleep on your feet.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

No, it makes you feel warmer but lowers your body temperature, so its not a good thing to do if its that cold that you might get hypothermia, but if its just a bit chilly its perfectly fine

No, it makes you feel warming and then the alcohol lowers your core temperature and you feel cold. When you get hypothermia, you feel cold, and when you feel 'just a bit chilly', you feel cold. It may be perfectly fine to feel a bit chilly, but it is hardly an effective way to feel warmer. Which is what this question is about. Alcohol is not an effective way of feeling warmer for very long.

I like a beer as much as the next person, but I am smart enough to know it will not be an effective way of keeping warm. Again, what this discussion is about.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Freeze your tail off like me in this shabby small apartment. Make sure you have a few good blankets. It gets cold, but you'll warm up a little afterwards.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Kotatsu

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Use oil heaters instead of fan based heaters. Oil heaters use vastly less electricity.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Central living room - all other rooms connect to it. So we just heat up this room, and occasionally another we are going to use by opening the adjoining door.

(It baffles me as to why central heating is called central heating when there's nothing central about it. Huge waste of energy and money)

Wear more clothes before you use a heater. By the way, fan heaters seem to work more efficiently than other types, the warm air quickly heats things up. When the rooms warms up, turn it off.

Finally, show a little backbone and toughen up. Maybe some camping in the snow will make you appreciate the warm and cozy life of living within 4 walls with a roof over your head.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Use oil heaters instead of fan based heaters. Oil heaters use vastly less electricity.

Modern oil/paraffin/kerosene heaters all have fans and electric controls and need power to operate as do the gas versions too. But they burn the oil/paraffin/kerosene without a wick and produce less carbon monoxide. we still use an old type in case of power cuts but also the modern type. But the cost of oil/paraffin/kerosene increases every winter and is now at least equal to the cost of gas and the problem of deliveries and filling the heater. Modern AC units which are eco friendly can also provide heat at costs equal to or less than oil/paraffin/kerosene.

(It baffles me as to why central heating is called central heating when there's nothing central about it. Huge waste of energy and money)

Its called "Central Heating" because it operates from a single central boiler which can be gas/oil/wood etc. The radiators can be turned off or turned down in unused rooms/spaces. With a digital thermostat it can be controlled from your mobile phone. No central heating here except for those overnight storage heaters which are expensive to install, about ¥500,000/unit.

Block all the holes around windows and doors with old newspapers. Cover north facing windows with bubble wrap. Use thick curtains. Close shutters overnight. Wear some layers. Wear a duvet style waistcoat. Wear fingerless gloves and wristbands. Use hot patches.

The other day when out shopping discovered very soft boot style slippers filled with feathers for less than ¥1,000/pair and really keep the feet warm.

Change the wallpaper on your computer/monitor to some warm hot scene like the beach in Hawaii.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@zichi

Its called "Central Heating" because it operates from a single central boiler which can be gas/oil/wood etc. The radiators can be turned off or turned down in unused rooms/spaces. With a digital thermostat it can be controlled from your mobile phone. No central heating here except for those overnight storage heaters which are expensive to install, about ¥500,000/unit.

Thanks Zichi. I'm concerned that a lot of people don't turn the radiators off in rooms they don't use. A quick trip to get something or the wc shouldn't require having that room heated.

@Jimizo

My Aussie coworker does it constantly and it obviously brings him some relief.

I'm from Australia too and find your comment embarrassing. Australians used to have a reputation of being tough.

I'm sitting in an office wearing a jacket with the heater off. If my colleagues don't come in, I'll turn on the heating in the morning and turn it off when it heats up. Maybe I'll turn it back on again in the evening.

When I talk about toughening up, it's not (just) about calling people sissies, it's about acclimatization. If you get used to cold weather early on, it helps a lot later on.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

J-apartments are one step removed from camping. The trick is spot heating, as there's no central.

At night, one electric blanket UNDER your body beats a half-dozen blankets OVER your body. Overdoing it with regular blankets just means being wet and cold instead of just cold. Best 3000 yen I ever spent. From bottom up: mattress --> electric blanket --> bed pad --> lower sheet --> body --> upper sheet --> down comforter and/or wool blanket

Get an electric carpet for in front of your TV or computer. When you're up and moving around, such as when you're cooking, your movement will keep you warm. It's sitting that brings on the chill. It ends up being cheaper to use the electric carpet in my bedroom office than to try to heat the whole apartment with the gas heater in the living room. On the coldest days, I set the gas heater to low and the carpet to high.

Heat-Tech turtleneck tucked into fleece sweatpants with elastic or string gathers at the ankles and waist. The gathers keep your body heat in. Fleece hoodie as a top. This minimizes exposed skin. Fleece beats cotton for heat retention and moisture moderation, and it dries faster when you wash it. Use the hood to fine-tune your temperature.

Check out Homac for insulation strips. I have never lived in an apartment with properly fitting windows; there's always some gap. There are also sheets of mini-bubble wrap that you can stick to your windows for jury-rigged insulation. Pads with foil on the upper side with moderate the cold from bare floors, such as under your kitchen table.

That's how we roll in Hokkaido, anyway.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Build a zero-energy house and live in it. This is 2013, you know. There has been some development in the world of house building since the Japanese concrete festa of the '50s.

Advice like: eat nabe, take a hot bath, put on one of those ugly polyester indoor coats are all lost on me and should be on others as well

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Japan is the second largest producer and consumer of electricity in the world

WTF? Links? The US consumes more than 4 times as much as Japan, with China being no. 1. Per capita (according to wiki) Japan is 31st in the world.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Turn the bloody heating off in the trains for starters. It's beyond a joke!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Don't know and don't care. I mostly work from home and want to be comfortable while i do that. I work hard to pay for my energy bills whether heating or AC, i'll leave it to the poor and the hippies to conserve energy and save money, lol!

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Don't know and don't care.

Being well-off does not have to exclude you from wanting to be environmentally friendly.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Just remembered, haramaki work wonders too when your shirt, sweater, jacket rides up your back when wearing a backpack or just sitting down.

It seems to be a fashion thing but longer coats/jackets that cover your bum are a lot warmer than the ones that barely com down past your waist.

I'd really like to wear tunics that come down to about mid-thigh.Vikings etc had, and the Mongols still do have, the right idea.

Ladies, ponchos and boots look sexy!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Snuggle up close with your hunny bunny.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Candle heat captured and radiated by an upside-down flower pot. Check out "Candle-Powered Air Heater" in Youtube. It's pretty cool... I mean warm! Gotta be SUPER careful because it has involves small flames, though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Them nifty kairo heat packs!

"Build a house to North American specifications: triple glazing, thick insulation everywhere, and baseboard heating."

Nah, too mendokusai, ha ha!

"Move to Okinawa"

OK, everyone in Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and especially Hokkaido, let's move to Okinawa, lol!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Modern oil/paraffin/kerosene heaters all have fans and electric controls and need power to operate as do the gas versions too. But they burn the oil/paraffin/kerosene without a wick and produce less carbon monoxide. we still use an old type in case of power cuts but also the modern type. But the cost of oil/paraffin/kerosene increases every winter and is now at least equal to the cost of gas and the problem of deliveries and filling the heater. Modern AC units which are eco friendly can also provide heat at costs equal to or less than oil/paraffin/kerosene.

@zichi : I was actually referring to one of these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_heater, which contains oil but doesn't use it as fuel, so there is no refilling involved. On the same page however, it describes its inefficiencies, so I guess it wasn't a good option after all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Too many people missing the obvious -- get under the blankets with a partner, both in your undies. Body heat, baby... and hey, if you happen to MAKE a baby while you're at it that's something Japan needs as well.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I agree with Smith... snuggle under a blanket, skin-to-skin contact... warming and pleasurable at the same time ;)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't really use heaters often. I just wear track pants, and a light sweater. I am one of the lucky people that don't get cold easily.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@dcog9065

@zichi : I was actually referring to one of these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_heater, which contains oil but doesn't use it as fuel, so there is no refilling involved. On the same page however, it describes its inefficiencies, so I guess it wasn't a good option after all.

I see. When I investigated those I decided the running costs were too expensive.

The same as night storage heaters use oil which is heated by electrical power which are expensive to install and only worthwhile if the overnight price of power is reduced, which I thinks happens in Hokkaido?

When lived in the Japan Alps were used a wood burning stove which heated the entire house even with the outside at minus 20 deg C.

Heaters with lamps like Halogen are good for local heat. I have one of those next to my computer desk.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

75 minutes of hot yoga

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Make love... (not war...)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sex. Plenty of sex.

And a nice cup of tea.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@sangetsu

Funny, my 150 square meter, four bedroom three bathroom home in America cost the same to heat and cool as my old Japanese 30 square meter 1LDK apartment.

The same both to heat and to cool sounds suspiciously convenient...

Added to that, no one but you has any idea 1) how many people were living in each place 2) what your daily habits were in each (how many hours at home etc) 3) to what extent you used heating and cooling in each room in the larger place 4) the weather conditions and temperature ranges in each place

So it's all a bit meaningless really.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Seconded on the bubblewrap on windows; or you can get the rolls of stick-on plastic insulation from a home hardware center for about 700 Yen each. Weather strips are only a few hundred yen and really do a good job of plugging leaks of air coming in and out. Insulating curtains make a huge difference- and look for the ones that reduce sound and are good for use in summer as well. A fan running on the lowest setting on top of a shelf can cycle the warm air back down from ceiling level and will make a noticeable difference.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Bottom line people. Japanese houses/apartments suck. No insulation. Single pane windows. Totally environmentally unfriendly. Have to be torn down in 30 years. And still uncomfortable. Make all the excuses you want. The buildings here suck!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

All this 'get under the blankets and make whoopee' is all well and good and very enjoyable, but it makes keeping warm and working at the computer at the same time almost impossible. at the very least, very awkward.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Cleo

That's were iPads are very useful for sending tweets, and updating social networks about what your are up to? Taking selfie's and a useful light soucre under the blankets to see the bigger picture? Keeping us informed on JT.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hot Sake

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No insulation. Single pane windows. Totally environmentally unfriendly.

I have looked at dozens of newly built standalone houses in my area (not Hokkaido) over the last five years, and they all had double glazing and insulation. Every one of them.

Which is by way of saying 1) times change and 2) it's not always a good idea to extrapolate some extremely limited experience to the entire country.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Log house & wood stove!!

I can get plenty of wood for free just need to break out the chain saw & get good work outs with the axes(also great exercise & relieves stress!)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tatami room is much much wormer than wooden floor living room. So, in winter, I move to tatami room with Kotatsu. If you don't have tatami room, covering the entire floor with carpet would help.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hugging.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@zichi : Fair enough. Yeah, I always had the image that oil heaters were efficient, but it seems like they aren't at all. I guess natural sources like your wood burning stove would be better, if the price of wood is less than the price of electricity. Best bet, probably solar if it were cheaper.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To those of you speaking about the "poor quality" Japanese houses . . . Have any of you spent time in a house constructed within the past ten years or so? No? I didn't think so. If you had you would know that new houses are of much better quality than the old style single pane window and no insulation manner. My house, built six years ago (by Toyota!), is of great quality (heat stays in, cold stays out) and is energy efficient. My electric bill is higher than most people I know, but then I do have five children. By the way I live in Chiba.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Have any of you spent time in a house constructed within the past ten years or so?"

Mine is a 15-year old concrete condo in central Tokyo, built after the improved national building standards following the Kobe quake. Single pane glass only. Becomes extremely cold after sundown, so I assume very little insulation. Heating is provided by 2 air con units located in the worst possible position: at the juncture of a window and the ceiling! Much energy leaks out or remains above our heads. In short we pay exorbitant energy bills for the privilege of freezing in winter.

But hey, the unit's build quality is very good. A case of forest for the trees.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry to hear about that. If you do move, and you consider getting a house, I recommend going with Toyota Home. I can't say enough good things about them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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