Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mini-skirts harm the planet

MINI-SKIRTS AND GLOBAL WARMING? By Cheryl Dieso, Hartford Green Building Examiner
March 6th, 2011 1:45 pm ET

When we think about global warming, have we considered how fashion may contribute to this problem? Since temperatures inside our buildings are set to accommodate thermal comfort, and because buildings consume more than 40% of energy in the US annually, perhaps we should.

A key step to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is to conserve energy. So when we’re chilly indoors at wintertime, shouldn’t we throw on a sweater before cranking up the thermostat? And before we turn on the air conditioning in the summer, perhaps we should rethink what we’re wearing first.

Imagine how style could contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases. Does it make sense to wear mini-skirts in Hartford with temperatures below freezing? And though men look sharp in suits and ties, cooling loads could be significantly reduced here in the summer months with attire more conducive to higher temperatures. The greater the difference between outdoor and indoor temperatures, the more energy must be consumed to maintain a comfortable environment inside. We could be talking about savings millions of barrels of oil by helping to achieve comfort levels with the right clothing.

Architects and Engineers can design buildings that are energy efficient and thermally comfortable, but cannot specify what occupants wear. The challenge for fashion critics and clothing and textile designers is to create apparel that is both fashionable and smart for the season: chic winter garments with insulating properties and attractive layered styles that provide appropriate coverage; summer fashion with the focus placed on permeable, natural fabrics that breathe and absorb moisture; and a solution to the full dress-suit regalia when the mercury is rising.

Fashion is beloved in the United States and for many, it trumps comfort. Surely we can find a fashionable way to dress for the seasons, while simultaneously conserving energy. While some of us want to be dressed-to-kill, it should not be at the risk of harming our planet.

[Note: this alert has been submitted for consideration at]

Related: George Carlin Video on Global Warming

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