Freezing Shanghai

Winter has fully come to Shanghai. I escaped to the earliest cold wave in late December by flying to a sunnier destination, but holidays are now finished… and the winter has come back. Temperatures during the day are about 5C, but it’s below 0C during the night. This would be no problem in anywhere else apart from China, as people have heating… but not in Shanghai which is a real pain.

Fireplace blocked by concrete

Shanghai old houses used to have fireplaces, at least in the villas. They were a great way to heat up those big houses and keep them warm just like their sisters in Europe and USA. Unfortunately Shanghai is different. Sometimes after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, it was decided that people in South China do not need heating. I could imagine that people were supposed to be warmed up by belief in communist ideology… or that all this wood and coal was better used for the development of heavy industry. All fireplaces inside houses were filled up with concrete and pipes were broken down (like picture on the left). I also heard that the radiators were melted down to use the metal they were made of. In any case, it was probably a  fast track way to reduce energy costs.

The whole issue is about defining what South China is. The actual dividing line is a river, that runs north of Shanghai making the city and the surrounding provinces part of the South… I can tell you that it is cold here during winter. As a consequence, people use air conditionners to heat up rooms. If airconditionners are fine for a slightly chilly climate… they are clearly unsufficient for Shanghai’s. People push them to the maximum to get a mere 18-20C in rooms. The sales of electric heaters soars along with comsumption of electricity. Because of the real bad efficiency of electric heating and the lack of insulation of houses, a lot of energy is wasted… contributing to more pollution… Shanghai in winter is somewhat less of a world city.

2 thoughts on “Freezing Shanghai”

  1. Oups !!! In english !!! voila la question que j’ai oubliee de te poser samedi soir !
    Il va me falloir plus de temps que prevu pour lire tous tes articles … Lol
    Je te souhaite une bonne semaine.

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