Chile men urged to ditch ties to beat heat

Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru Rafael Roncagliolo in Merida, Mexico (Dec 2011) Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (second left) and other regional leaders ditched ties at a summit

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The authorities in Chile are encouraging men to leave their ties at home during the coming summer months to save energy.

The country's energy minister Rodrigo Alvarez said the measure would help reduce the use of air conditioning and lead to overall energy savings.

Weather forecasters expect temperatures of over 30C (86F) this summer.

The Energy Ministry said letting the temperature of a room rise by 1-3C would reduce energy costs by around 3%.

In a statement, it said that if this was implemented in the public and private sectors during the hottest months of the year, from January to March, it could save about £6.5m ($10m).

Mr Alvarez said the idea of encouraging employees to leave their ties at home had already been put into practice successfully in Japan and Spain.

"This small measure will help the country's energy efficiency. Reducing the use of air conditioning will lead to energy savings," he said.

People could also reduce their energy consumption at home, he said by for instance switching off their electronic devices when not in use.

A BBC correspondent in Chile says energy production during the summer months is always strained because much of the country's energy comes from hydroelectric power.

In contrast to Chile's woes, last month South Korea's president said this winter he would be turning down his office thermostat and wearing warmer underwear.

President Lee Myung-bak revealed the personal details in his regular radio broadcast.

Emphasising the economic importance of saving electricity, he urged all businesses and individuals to co-operate as the country struggles to meet growing demand.

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