Consumers, too, must become aware of the impact of their choices and behaviors. This was made plain in a somewhat unorthodox way recently in South Korea, where citizens typically keep the thermostat high during chilly winters and the air conditioning working overtime during hot and humid summer months. According to an economist who has studied energy usage in buildings, the nation could reduce its energy consumption by 10 percent if the population simply kept room temperature at 72 degrees during cold weather. To help improve citizens’ bad habits, South Korea’s largest broadcasting company recently visited the homes of the foreign community living in Seoul to film a documentary meant to educate Koreans on how and why foreigners use significantly less energy.
Nick Beglinger is managing partner of Maxmakers, a Swiss company active in sustainable real estate and infrastructure development, including Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City.
Tariq Hussain is Maxmakers’ northeast Asia representative, based in Seoul, Korea.