2.04.2014

17 Turning Down the Heat


It has been so cold this winter that often times it takes hours to get the house up to temperature. This weekend I started to think about how much energy it must be taking to warm the house at the end of the day and really....what is the point? What if I didn't have the thermostat kick in right before we got home? What if instead we found other ways to stay warm. We already use socks, sweaters and blankets when necessary but what if we just tried to get used to the normal daytime "away" setting rather than having the higher "home" temperature turn on.

Our Eco Challenge this month is to stop turning the heat up to the normal "home" setting, which is 3 degrees F higher than the "away" temperature. Studies have shown that reducing your homes temperature by 3 degrees F will result in 8% energy savings and 325kg carbon emissions reduction. This is pretty significant for such a small temperature difference. 

If the outside temperatures continue to hover between -20C and -40C then this will be a hard challenge but hopefully nothing a little creativity can't solve. And by creativity I mean sitting in well insulated forts, playing full body Wii and drinking more tea than normal. 

Goal
To demonstrate the difference 3 degrees can make on energy usage and relate that to environmental impact and cost. 

Join In!
Want to participate? Stop increasing your thermostat to your "home" setting and measure its impact. Use the hashtag #JnJEcoChallenge

Have you ever turned down the heat and noticed a difference?  What do you have your "away" and "home" temperatures set to?

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photo credit: James Britton via photopin cc

17 comments:

  1. I admit I keep mine a bit to high. We have reptiles in the house in the and I don't want to kill them or make them sick. I really regret buying cold blooded pets!

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  2. You know I'm game! I'm reprogramming all of our thermostats to be 20 instead of 21* :)

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    1. I'm already freezing today!

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  3. What do you think about using things like hot water bottles and heating pads to help keep warm?

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    1. Hot water bottles at the foot of your bed can keep you nice and warm and don't require too much resources to generate the heat. Heating pads if electric would use resources and slightly counteract dropping the heat.

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  4. We've turned down our thermostat. I use layers to keep warm ... at least two layers all over my body. I've also found, lately, that certain foods help keep us warmer. I'm particularly into Indian spices and they seem to work at warming my "core" up. We also use towels at the bottoms of doors & windows (we're in an apartment ... it's not efficient) and we've closed off all the rooms of our home except for the living room & bathroom. The bedroom is seriously cold but we just hop in (quickly) and soon we're warm enough. Oh ... and sleep with a cat ... they provide a lot of heat (LOL).

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    1. There is currently a cat sitting on me as I type!

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  5. The best thing we did to keep our heating costs down was to insulate the home and purchase a new furnace. We have already saved the amount of money it cost us to do those too. We also keep the house on the cooler side as well, we're okay with that!

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    1. Great ideas Heather and those make a huge difference in energy efficiency. Our issues are terrible builders grade windows and doors and then a garage that we don't really think the builder insulated (we weren't the original owners). It will all be a project for this spring/summer.

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  6. With this crazy winter weather, you're very brave! Good luck with your goal!

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    1. Obviously my brain is frozen!

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  7. Interesting experiment! We just got a new high efficiency furnace, so I've been waiting to see how our bills compare to the old 1980s one. But, I love the idea of how much of a difference a few degrees can make... plus, I look super cute in a sweater and wool socks.

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    1. Exactly! Work that sweater!

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  8. Good luck! Do lots of baking too- turning the oven on and making homemade goodies is another way to heat the house (and buy less packaged snacks and cookies)

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  9. Hmm...so, at what temp does everyone keep their house? When I'm away, I keep it down to 68F or so (too scared to go lower in these crazy cold temps!), but when I'm home I'm happy with it at 70-72F. I really need to convert everything to Celcius, don't I?

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    1. Ours is at 70 and 65 at night. I am working on getting it lower during the day...1 degree at a time. It just feels so cold! One local on twitter said he keeps his house at 64. 64!!! SO COLD.

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