Sunday, December 7, 2008

uncle, mercy, whatever, I can't take it!

So I haven't blogged much over the last few weeks. It is no coincidence that in the last few weeks the temperature outside has dropped and we have officially entered winter.

It's cold.

And not just outside.

This year in order to do a little better for the Riot (last year we did 50% of average for Natural gas) we decided to keep the heat in house a little lower than last year. By 2 degrees C.

Now this gets a bit complicated in our house because we share the heating system (forced air natural gas high efficiency furnace) with the downstairs apartment.

The only thermostat for the heating system is in their unit. Now this is really for the best. Of the two apartments it is a way better scenario for our apartment to be the colder one.

I know what you are thinking...that doesn't make sense, doesn't heat rise? So shouldn't our apartment be the warmer one? Well the thing is that the two apartments are completely separate so the heat can't 'rise' to our apartment. Also the air from the furnace takes longer to get to our apartment (and isn't as strong up here as downstairs). What this means for us is that we are usually 1 to 2 degrees colder than downstairs. So while we've set the thermostat at 18 degrees during the day and evening (because we have super-great green tenants), in our apartment we have not gone above 17 degrees in weeks. Often we are at 16 degrees.

16 and 17 I can handle. I don't love it but I can deal.

But I think our tenants have been doing a lot of baking lately. The positive side of this is that our apartment is often full of the smells of baked bread and cupcakes. The downside of this is that the heat from their oven helps to heat up their apartment. Which means the thermostat reaches 18 degrees more quickly. And when it reaches 18 degrees in their apartment, the

As a result....

This is the temperature it has been in our apartment for the last 2 days.

15 is really cold folks. I know there are people who are freezing their buns and are at 15 (and colder) but we all have our breaking points and apparently 15 is mine. The thing about 15 (and to some extent even 16 and 17) is that my motivation to do anything other than huddle under a blanket on the couch is nil. This means my stack of unread books remain unread (hands outside of blankets in order to hold a book? no way!!), my Christmas present projects are way behind and in general I have the winter blues. And its barely December! Winter's only just begun.

So I think I'm going to borrow the portable electric heater from my Mum and Dad's. Hey M&D, can I borrow your electric heater?

The more I think about it, this sort of dual heating really makes sense. Using a very efficient gas furnace to get to a minimum temperature and then using localized heating to heat up the room you are in (and not heat up the rooms you are not), seems like a pretty efficient way to go.

I'm sure I'll be grouchy when I see my electricity bill go higher than last winter but I think the trade off of a drastically reduced natural gas bill will be worth it.


Theresa said...

15C is indeed chilly! We tried it last winter for a very short time overnight (17 in the day) but then one of my guinea pigs died. I wasn't sure if it was because of the cold temp overnight, but I wasn't going to risk it again. So we're back to 18 in the day and 17 at night. (Upstairs is a degree colder, because we block the doorway to keep the heat on the main floor where we spend most of our time). A space heater seems like a plan - I wonder how much electricity those actually use? I guess you will find out :)

Anonymous said...

And here I feel it's chilly at 21. Currently it's set to 23.5... I guess I'm not that green. :-O

Green Grrl said...

Hi Theresa,
Sorry to hear about your guinea pig. I'll let you know about the energy use for the space heater. I'm going to plug it into my handy kill-a-watt first to see how much it uses. And then my goal is to only use it if we get as low as 15 degrees. Am a bit worried though that I'll get used to it and want to have it on all the time!

Hey Keenman,
Sounds like moving out to the west coast has made you soft! ;-) Just teasing. I know, I know, it's a damp cold out there. But as an Ottawa valley boy I bet you can handle 21 degrees. :)

Turboglacier said...


Just stumbled on your blog while Googling things for my own. I'm enjoying reading of your adventures in "abnormal" living! My friends have been calling me a whacknut for not turning on my heat until Jan 1... I think telling them about these people who threw away their fridge will help convince them I'm not the only one :)

Green Grrl said...

Hey Turboglacier,

So glad you found your way here. :)

Congrats on not turning your heat on until Jan 1!!

Looking forward to perusing your blog to learn more about how you've done it.

You'll find there are lots of us lower impact folks out here. Welcome to the community!

Steven Kurutz said...

hi. i'm a writer with the new york times and am looking for folks who have turned off their fridge or are thinking about going without. deanna at crunchychicken thought you might be a good person to speak to. if so, could you e-mail me at:

much thanks!

Steven Kurutz said...

i should add that i'm trying to reach green grrl...