As a non oil-producing country, Taiwan simply must take great care with its resources. While not everyone in a highly urbanized location like Taipei is able to take advantage of geothermal systems ("How using geothermal heat is an all-round winner," Jan. 1, page 12), it is clear that energy is being wasted on a massive scale from a simple lack of good windows and insulation.
Walk for five minutes around the streets of any average Taiwanese city, and you will see typical apartment windows that are an environmental disaster in the making: single-paned glass or plastic, often with the panes slid ajar to let in improperly installed cable, phone and electric lines. Sometimes these gaps are filled with cardboard or other material, but other times they are left open. The result is that the average Taiwanese home is an energy sieve, leaking out heat in winter and air-conditioning in summer.
As a matter of urgent national energy policy, the government must educate and encourage home owners to install modern energy-saving windows and to install insulation during renovations.
J. Ronald Buttercam