updated 1/18/2007 2:00:11 PM ET 2007-01-18T19:00:11

Chile’s energy warriors went for the throat on Thursday, urging men to shun neckties so that offices could ease up on air conditioning.

Government workers will not be required to wear ties or jackets in summer, and officials hope the private sector will follow suit, Deputy Economy Minister Ana Maria Correa said. Chile is a socially conservative country where men typically dress formally for work.

According to the government, 215,000 air conditioners have been imported since 1997, and during the Southern Hemisphere summer from December to March, they may account for up to 60 percent of electricity consumption at workplaces.

The no-tie, no-jacket plan was the idea of the government’s Commission for Energy Efficiency.

“We recommend all male workers drop their ties and jackets,” the group’s director, Nicola Borregaard said at a news conference. “We hope all sectors will follow this recommendation so it will become a national habit.”

The country’s main private business organization, the Industrial Development Society, joined the initiative, which according to its president, Bruno Phillippi, has proved successful in other places, including Japan.

“In 2005 instructions on proper dressing and adequate use of air conditioners during summer in Japan resulted in considerable reduction of power consumption and of CO2 emissions,” he said.

That said, Phillippi removed his tie.

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