Wednesday, March 26, 2008


It feels odd to be blogging about heat now that the snow is finally starting to melt. I could blame a number of things for my delay, but the biggest reason is that it's just, plain, old, hard to measure. See our natural gas supplier has been over estimating our bills for ages which means we have really skewed numbers for our historical usage. And this makes it impossible to compare month to month usage like - last year this time we used x cubic metres, this year we used x.

What I can say is that our gas bills have been reduced by approx. one half over what we paid last winter.

So what did we do?

Well we turned the heat down to:
64 during the day, 67 in the evening and 61 at night.

Since our apartment and our tenant's apartment are on the same heating system, we were reluctant to go much lower. But that's for the best really as our apartment ends up being 2 degrees cooler than our tenant's apartment.

(the second floor in our apartment is heated with electric heat and we've kept that at 55 degrees day and night)

Taking navy showers has been helping to reduce our gas consumption as well. Shorter showers = less hot water used = less natural gas used to heat the water.

What did I learn? That lower household temperatures are totally manageable. In fact the temperature we had our thermostat set at was still higher than the average temperature 30 years ago. According to 'How to Live a Low Carbon Life', the average internal temperature in UK homes in 1971 was 59. Now it is 68. The current North American average is probably even higher.

As for the Riot, while we have reduced our consumption quite a bit, I don't think we are on track for a 90% reduction. At least not if you consider this house to be one household.

According to the stats I found, the average Canadian household uses: 2,871 cu metres of natural gas a year.

Last year we used more than that (approx. 3,297 cu metres). So what will make a real difference for us is whether a house that is split into 2 apartments is one household or two.

I'm leaning towards two. But is that just messing with the numbers to make them work in my favour?

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