Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Energysavers and Women in Layered Clothing

One of the most energy consuming areas of our homes is heating and cooling. We spend lots of money on keeping our homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer. My husband and I wear several layers of clothes during the coldest parts of winter to stay warm because we turn the heat down to 60˚F to 65˚F to save energy. When we sit down to talk or watch a movie, we cover up with some blankets. At night we turn the heat down to 55˚F and cover up with lots of blankets and comforters. Should we have guests over who may not be dressed for our cooler home, we turn the temperature up to around 68˚F to 70˚F. This works for us, for now. As we age, that may change, but we feel good that we are saving energy and money.

Some of the previous generations learned how to live this way rather comfortably. I remember visiting my great aunt in Germany years ago in December. She lived in an old house, and that old house was cold. I am certain it was cold because it was old and because my aunt kept the heat way down. She was one of many that endured the ravages of World War II and all of its sparseness. I think many of those who experienced those times find it difficult to indulge in great luxury and comfort. She always wore wool clothing and sweaters in the winter. At night, I remember feeling as if I would never get warm in that cold bedroom. However, after about 10 minutes of huddling and shivering beneath the huge goose down comforter, I did reach a nice and toasty comfortable warmth.

Although it can be difficult to make that choice between being energy conscious and being comfortable, there are a few things we can do to reduce the amount of energy we use to heat and cool our houses. Here are some tips:

In the cooler months:
  • Turn the heat down if only by a few degrees.
  • Wear layers of warm clothing inside the house.
  • Use ceiling fans on the reverse setting to circulate the warm air in rooms.
  • Use space heaters in rooms most often used.
  • Have throws and blankets handy for use when sitting down.
  • Turn the temperature down at night when most of the house is not in use.
  • Use humidifiers to increase the humidity inside the house. The increased humidity can make the house feel a little warmer.
  • Use passive solar energy by opening all of the curtains of south facing windows to let the sun shine in and warm the house.
In the warmer months:
  • Turn the temperature up if only by a few degrees. Experiment with what is comfortable.
  • Use ceiling fans on the forward setting to circulate air in rooms.
  • Use pedestal or table fans in rooms to circulate air in the house.
  • Close all curtains on windows facing the sun.
  • Check that all windows and doors are sealed and caulked properly.
  • Invest in a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the temperature day and night to your specifications.
  • Invest in solar panels to save on electricity and gas usage for heating and cooling.
  • Invest in thermal windows where the layer of air between the windows acts as insulation.
©Michelle A. Potter


  1. Dear Michelle, This is such an important post and one I hope is widely read. We waste so much energy. I too keep my heat at 60 (when I am not heating with wood) and wear warm clothes. My hands are never cold at that temp and truthfully I cannot breathe well in houses so overheated. If everyone would turn down their heat it would make a great impact on our energy consumption. Turning the heat to 55 or lower at night just makes so much sense. I can be even more stoic (though it is not that hard) and turn the heat off when it is not freezing out. Just hopping up early and turning the heat up then going back to sleep for a bit works great. Warm bedding is key and the environment we sleep in is healthier. In small effort towards conserving would help. Wearing tee shirts and going barefoot with the heat turned up to 80 is so costly to the world at large and irresponsible. Great tips!

  2. @Carol

    Carol, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I became accustomed to this habit when my struggling divorced mother of three turned the heat way down to save money when we were kids. It becomes a way of life and easy. I applaud you for living this way. I also find it uncomfortable when the heat is turned way up. Thank your for your encouraging words!

  3. Fortunately, my wife and I have always loved cool rooms for sleeping. Too, I like a cool house in general, as it's not only healthy for us, but for my houseplants as well. I explain to shivering guests that they will be proud when they harden off.

  4. @Lee May It is nice to meet someone who shares a love of a cold house in winter. It is better for the plants as well. And I always feel strange wearing summer clothes inside when it is freezing outside.

  5. If we could cut down the energy that we use to heat or cool our home, just imagine how much money we can save in the long run. We can actually do a lot of things on our own to make our house more energy-savvy. We should also invest in checking our house's insulation regularly and repairing or buying new, more efficient appliances.


'I see trees of green, red roses, too
I see 'em bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world'
--What a Wonderful World

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