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News Saitama municipalities to subsidise thermal house insulation

thomas

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More municipalities in Saitama Prefecture offer subsidies for house renovations to improve thermal insulation. According to industry sources, this enhancement not only reduces utility bills but can also save lives. The cost of thermal renovations, which help maintain comfortable indoor temperatures in both summer and winter, varies significantly based on the size of the residence. For larger homes, expenses can reach millions of yen. Local authorities hope that more households will adopt heat insulation measures by using public funds to cover part of these costs.


The city government of Ageo in the prefecture plans to start offering a maximum subsidy of 100,000 JPY (USD 638) for thermic renovation work later this fiscal year. Similar measures have been introduced elsewhere in the prefecture, including Kumagaya, Kawaguchi and Okegawa. The central government also has programs to subsidize thermal renovation work on doors, walls, windows and other sections of houses. The program for windows, for example, grants subsidies of up to 2 million yen per house.


A survey by the infrastructure ministry reveals that only 18% of houses in Japan meet current thermal insulation standards. About 80% lack adequate insulation, and 24% have no insulation. This leads to high heating costs and air leakage. Uneven heating can leave areas like dressing rooms very cold, causing sudden blood pressure changes and increasing the risk of cardiovascular issues, known as "heat shocks" in Japan.


"Some 17,000 people die annually from heat shocks, as opposed to the yearly death toll of about 2,600 from traffic accidents," said Masayuki Mae, adviser to the Saitama thermal renovation council, during a signing ceremony for the agreement with the Ageo city government. "Top priority should therefore be given to raising temperatures in houses." Mae, an associate professor of architectural environment engineering with the University of Tokyo graduate school, simulated heat insulation effects and heating expenses in a hypothetical two-story house with a total floor area of about 120 square meters. The sensory temperatures, as felt by humans, averaged 15.8 degrees across the entire unrenovated building in winter with an outside air temperature of 4.8 degrees. Annual expenses to heat the building were estimated at 71,000 JPY. After thermal insulation work, including double-glazing the downstairs windows, the mean sensory temperature roseo 16.4 degrees while annual heating expenses dropped to 54,000 JPY. Additional work, such as covering the downstairs floor with heat-insulating materials, resulted in an average wintertime sensory temperature of 16.8 degrees, and heating costs of 46,000 JPY. Renovating all windows, the downstairs floors, the upstairs ceiling and all external walls led to a mean sensory temperature of 19.2 degrees and lowered the heating expenses to only 33,000 JPY, according to the study.


 
Poor thermic and noise isolation has always been one of my top complaints about living in or even travelling around Japan. I was wondering how Japan compares to the rest of the world in this regard, so I asked ChatGPT to give me a list of the percentage of homes with inadequate insulation. Japan is one of the worst developed countries in this regard, but the US is even worse according to ChatGPT.

Percentage of homes with inadequate insulation
  • United States : 90%
  • Japan : 80%
  • China : 70-80%
  • Taiwan, Russia & Bulgaria : 60-70%
  • South Korea, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Greece & New Zealand : 50-60%
  • Spain : 45-50%
  • Australia, Croatia, Czechia & Italy : 40-50%
  • Canada : 30-40%
  • Belgium & Germany : 30-35%
  • Austria : 25-30%
  • France & Ireland : 25-30%
  • United Kingdom : 25%
  • Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway & Switzerland : 20-25%
  • Denmark : 15-20%
  • Finland, Sweden & Iceland : 10-15%

It's harder to find the data for homes that have no isolation at all

Percentage of homes that have no isolation at all
  • China : 30-40%
  • Japan, Taiwan, Italy, Spain & Russia : 20-30%
  • South Korea : 10-20%
  • Australia : 10-15%
  • United States : 10%
  • Most of Western & Northern Europe : 5-10%
 
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Poor thermic and noise isolation has always been one of my top complaints about living in or even travelling around Japan. I was wondering how Japan compares to the rest of the world in this regard, so I asked ChatGPT to give me a list of the percentage of homes with inadequate insulation. Japan is one of the worst developed countries in this regard, but the US is even worse according to ChatGPT.

Percentage of homes with inadequate insulation
  • United States : 90%
  • Japan : 80%
  • China : 70-80%
  • Taiwan, Russia & Bulgaria : 60-70%
  • South Korea, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Greece & New Zealand : 50-60%
  • Spain : 45-50%
  • Australia, Croatia, Czechia & Italy : 40-50%
  • Canada : 30-40%
  • Belgium & Germany : 30-35%
  • Austria : 25-30%
  • France & Ireland : 25-30%
  • United Kingdom : 25%
  • Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway & Switzerland : 20-25%
  • Denmark : 15-20%
  • Finland, Sweden & Iceland : 10-15%

It's harder to find the data for homes that have no isolation at all

Percentage of homes that have no isolation at all
  • China : 30-40%
  • Japan, Taiwan, Italy, Spain & Russia : 20-30%
  • South Korea : 10-20%
  • Australia : 10-15%
  • United States : 10%
  • Most of Western & Northern Europe : 5-10%
I have some serious doubts about those results as where I have lived in the US insulation, and to a specific standard, is building code and has been for many decades. What is considered adequate? Note thought that I do live in the parts of the US that get cold, so that could be the difference but I understood there were federal building code standards for certain things, including minimum insulation requirements.


I am also surprised that insulation isn't a national requirement in Japan. I would expect it to be in the building code as it is no secret that it can help save money all year long with heating and air conditioning.
 
I have some serious doubts about those results as where I have lived in the US insulation, and to a specific standard, is building code and has been for many decades. What is considered adequate? Note thought that I do live in the parts of the US that get cold, so that could be the difference but I understood there were federal building code standards for certain things, including minimum insulation requirements.


I am also surprised that insulation isn't a national requirement in Japan. I would expect it to be in the building code as it is no secret that it can help save money all year long with heating and air conditioning.

I asked ChatGPT a follow-up question about what is considered adequate insulation in the United States. Here is the answer I got :

Adequate insulation is determined by factors such as the type of insulation, its R-value (which measures thermal resistance), and how well it's installed. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides guidelines on recommended R-values based on climate zones. Adequate insulation typically involves:

1. Appropriate R-value: This varies by region and part of the home. For example:
- Attics in colder regions might need R-49 to R-60.
- Walls typically need R-13 to R-21.
- Floors might require R-25 to R-30 in colder climates.

2. Proper Installation: Insulation should be installed without gaps, voids, or compressions, and it should cover all areas that can be insulated, such as walls, attics, basements, and crawl spaces.

3. Sealing Air Leaks: Ensuring that gaps, cracks, and holes in the building envelope are sealed to prevent air infiltration, which can undermine the effectiveness of insulation.

4. Moisture Control: Adequate insulation also includes measures to control moisture, which can impact the performance and longevity of insulation materials.

These standards are set to ensure that homes are energy-efficient, comfortable, and cost-effective in terms of heating and cooling.
 
I wouldn't trust these results without any source data references. ChatGPT is known to give confident sounding answers when it really has no clue.
 
I wouldn't trust these results without any source data references. ChatGPT is known to give confident sounding answers when it really has no clue.
I asked chatGPT to cite its source:

The often-cited statistic that approximately 90% of homes in the United States are under-insulated comes from reports by the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) and is supported by data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Here is a relevant source:

- NAIMA (North American Insulation Manufacturers Association):
- In a press release from 2015, NAIMA stated that "90 percent of homes in the U.S. are under-insulated."
- Link to the NAIMA press release.

----

The link doesn't work anymore, but by googling it you'll find plenty of news articles about it such as this one.
 
The article that you linked, the working one, doesn't cite any DoE sources for the statistics themselves and I would not trust an insulation manufacturer's association to be a good source for non-biased data considering their members would benefit from the sale of more insulation products.
 
I asked chatGPT to cite its source:

The often-cited statistic that approximately 90% of homes in the United States are under-insulated comes from reports by the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) and is supported by data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Here is a relevant source:

- NAIMA (North American Insulation Manufacturers Association):
- In a press release from 2015, NAIMA stated that "90 percent of homes in the U.S. are under-insulated."
- Link to the NAIMA press release.

----

The link doesn't work anymore, but by googling it you'll find plenty of news articles about it such as this one.
Can chatgpt reliably cite the sources of its answers?

ChatGPT, like many large language models, does not have the ability to reliably cite specific sources for its answers. There are a few key reasons for this:

1. Training method: ChatGPT is trained on a vast corpus of text from the internet and other sources, but it doesn't retain direct links to this training data. It generates responses based on patterns and information it has learned, rather than retrieving and citing specific sources.

2. No real-time internet access: ChatGPT doesn't have access to the internet to look up current information or verify sources in real-time. Its knowledge is based on its training data, which has a cutoff date.

3. Potential for confabulation: Large language models can sometimes generate plausible-sounding but incorrect information, including false citations or references.

4. Lack of source tracking: The model doesn't keep track of where specific pieces of information came from during its training process.

5. Evolving capabilities: While current versions of ChatGPT cannot reliably cite sources, it's worth noting that AI capabilities are rapidly evolving. Future versions or other AI systems might incorporate source citation features.

For tasks requiring accurate citations and up-to-date information, it's generally better to rely on traditional research methods, academic databases, or specialized tools designed for citation and fact-checking. When using AI assistants like ChatGPT, it's important to verify important information from authoritative sources.

Some AI companies are working on developing systems that can provide more reliable sourcing and citation. For example, Anthropic (the company that created me) has been exploring approaches to make AI systems more transparent about the sources of their knowledge, though this is still an area of ongoing research and development.
 
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