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European Tribune - Comments - What makes them PIIGS?
Without having hard numbers, this reliance on Oil is mainly due to the Transport sector, given that all the PIIGS have been modernizing their Electricity infrastructure and consolidating balanced energy mixes there.

How about heating? Before the 70ies oil crises Sweden had lots of oil heating. Sweden of course has large heating needs, though countries with lots of heat tends to have poor insulation making their heating needs larger when it is cold.

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by A swedish kind of death on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 05:24:45 AM EST
Because of the milder weather, heating technology and energy-saving habits around the Mediterranean basin are uniformly poor.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 05:33:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the older houses here are often well insulated against excessive summer heat with thick stone walls.

large families helped each other stay warm huddled round the fire in winter. august afternoons can be merciless.

the winters... what tao said about PT. lots of room for improvement there.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 12:49:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Same thing for the South of France: thick stone walls (or brick walls in the Toulouse region). Those old house are delightfully cool during hot summer afternoons.

That's for old houses; more recent construction hasn't been so careful, especially during the years when cheap and abundant energy was the prevailing paradigm. Special mention to the buildings and houses built during the 60s and 70s that should be just demolished...

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 07:41:29 AM EST
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Special mention to the buildings and houses built during the 60s and 70s that should be just demolished...

In my experience they do that all by themselves.

by njh on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 09:18:35 PM EST
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It's odd because good insulation also keeps things cooler in summer.
by Upstate NY on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 10:33:40 AM EST
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In that regard, I haven't been impressed at all with house insulation in the American South West. Neither in Northern California, by the way.

There's a lot of room for improvement, especially in places with extreme temperature swings like desert areas.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 07:44:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I live mostly and Liverpool, UK. But spend quite some time in my original country (Portugal). I've had houses in other places in the UK and in NL.

The winter in Portugal is extremely uncomfortable in-house: all the houses that I know require extensive amount of heating and are still cold. Contrast this with my place in Liverpool: DOES NOT NEED WARMING IN WINTER AS LONG AS I KEEP CLOTHES ON.

Granted, this is one anecdotal example (and I can think of cold homes in the UK), but I think it honestly reflects the reality: Much energy, wealth (and comfort) escapes through the (uninsulated) windows and doors in PT.

Ah... and don't get me started with cars. I've read somewhere (lost reference, sorry) about something like having the biggest number of cars per capita in Europe for PT. Normally this goes with a justification of "public transport is bad". Who had endured the public transport in London versus Lisbon knows that, at least where most people live, this is utter bull. It is mainly a status symbol, and a symbol of not being prepared to do anything for the common good.

by t-------------- on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 11:08:48 AM EST
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Generally speaking this doesn't show up in the numbers. While it is true that building practices are not as good in these states, the heating season is much shorter. Cooling is much more of a problem I'd say.

I think I may be able to distil some numbers on this matter to get a clearer picture.


by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]protonmail[dot]ch) on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 04:34:27 AM EST
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It would be interesting to have some numbers on this. I've read somewhere (unfortunately lost origin) that the energy spent/lost on buildings (all: heating and cooling) in Southern Europe, was massive.

I would be nice to have a quantitative grip on how much energy is lost.

by t-------------- on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 11:18:29 AM EST
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I did some googling and found this:

EarthTrends: Data Tables - Energy and Resources

Energy and Resources
Select a data table from the list.
Energy Consumption by Sector 2005

The "residential" category should give some clues. Though the tables are in total energy/country and then divided in percentage of that total. So to compare one would need to get the absolute number for residential and divide by population to get residential/capita. And it is getting late in Sweden so I will not get the spreadsheet out now.

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by A swedish kind of death on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 04:43:12 PM EST
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