Since the day I arrived in Korea, I’ve been asking myself that question: Why am I so damn cold? Especially since I come from Canada, which is basically the coldest.
Believe it or not, Korean’s are like you and I: human. No, they do not like to be freezing cold, just like us. Korean’s also pride themselves on their efficiency; in their transportation systems, computer systems, so on and so forth. So why am I always so damn cold efficient country?
I have yet to walk into a building and be greeted with a blast of warm air. It’s always that pesky cold air. Assuming most of you went to high school, when it was -20 outside and you walked into school, what was that you got? Right, warm air in your grill. The bank? Warm air. A police station? Warm air. Bus station? Warm air. These things don’t happen here in efficient Korea.
99% of buildings in Korea are built with cement, which is fine for holding in heat. Most doors it seems are made of glass, which is not at all good at holding heat. These glass doors are single ply without any insulation around the edges – basically, there is always cold air coming in through a door. Same goes for the windows: single ply glass without much ability to hold any heat.
So, basically all buildings in Korea have no ability to hold heat. That’s not to say its cold everywhere, which would suck. So, instead each individual room generally has it’s own heater. So, in my school the hallways are basically as cold as it is outside, but the classrooms and offices are kept warm by the electric heaters on the ceiling.
Still, with thin doors and thin glass the heaters must be run all the time to keep things warm. These electric heaters are also on the ceiling – as far as I remember, heat rises.
My classroom is another story – with single oil heater in the corner. I can have the stupid thing on for 2 hours and it goes to a max of 18 degrees. Yes, I teach wearing my jacket. Yes, the students learn with their jackets on. I also use the bathroom at school in the cold.
Luckily my apartment is decently heated – but I pay a fair bit for that heating. Korea has the resources and the brains to keep places warm, but they don’t. Certainly heating each badly insulated individual room can’t be nearly as efficient as heating an entire well insulated building. To all my South African friends (who have never experienced freezing cold) even though it’s a bit colder back in Canada, it’s still warmer. C’mon Korea, be more efficient.
I will soon comment on Korean carpentry (Spoiler alert: it’s terrible).