Readers in Council,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
Bravo to Joergen Jensen for his comments about the lack of thermal insulation in Japanese construction (“Lack of common sense on energy,” October 12, 2008). In the winter time, Tokyo feels colder than it really is not because it gets so cold here (it doesn’t) but because it is so difficult to keep warm. You warm your apartment, but then all the heat seeps away so fast. The same is true of trying to keep rooms cool in the hot summer time. It is not helped by the silly idea of putting heaters at the top of the wall of a room, where the warm air is least effective. The designer who came up with that idea won’t be getting any Nobels. A small correction, though. Thermal insulation does not keep the cold out in winter and the heat out in summer as Jensen writes. Insulation keeps the cool air in in the summer, stopping it from seeping out, and it keeps the hot air in in the winter, preventing it from seeping away. Insulation keeps internal things contained within, not external things contained outside.
Misunderstanding of insulation goes deep. I have been told directly by a professional Japanese architect that the reason why Japanese homes have minimal insulation is that Japanis a warm country. Clearly, the man just didn’t understand insulation.