Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Freeze Yer Buns 2010 kick-off

Welcome to the first day of the fourth annual Freeze Yer Buns Challenge. It's the start of five months of keeping the thermostat at a lower temperature than you normally keep it, not just for saving a boat load of money, but also for reducing your carbon footprint as well.

Saving a ton of money
Last year, when I called our oil company to get some information, I got some stats about our energy usage and how it's changed. Before we started doing this challenge, we used 500 gallons of heating oil a year. The average for our area (Seattle) is 600 gallons. Last year, we used only 250 gallons of heating oil. All in all, we save about $750 a year by lowering our thermostat and occasionally using electric space heaters to heat the rooms we are in.

This year I'm expecting our savings to be even higher because we are keeping the temperatures even lower than last year. It's going to be three degrees cooler during the day and three degrees cooler at night (62 day and 55 night). Since I work from home now, I'll be cuddling under a down throw while I'm writing and so far it's been manageable. If it's gets any warmer in here, I find it to be too warm. Anything above 65 is too hot.

Reducing our carbon footprint by the ton
The average Seattle household emits 3.75 metric tons of CO2 per year due to home heating. Since we started this challenge, we've dropped our thermostat by 10 degrees. For every 3 degrees lowered, we save 1/2 ton of CO2. That means we've dropped our CO2 emissions due to home heating by about 1.7 tons of CO2 per year.

Want to see some big savings yourselves? Well, come join in on the fun! It doesn't need to be uncomfortable or cold. I'll be sharing tips on how to keep the heat you generate in your house and stay warm with the heat you do have.

Kick your carbon footprint in the balls
If you haven't yet signed up for this year's Freeze Yer Buns Challenge, go on over and sign up! This year's participants will be eligible for some fun and exciting giveaways like a home energy audit and a few other surprises.


Katy @ The Non-Consumer Advocate said...

I've actually turned the furnace on a few times so far this year. Most recently after a freezing cold Saturday morning soccer game that I seemed unable to warm up from.

Otherwise I've been baking a lot.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
"Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without"

historicstitcher said...

I haven't turned on the furnace yet, but it only went below freezing for the first time last night.

I have to admit, though, that while I'm joining the challenge, I am not going to commit to going lower than last year's 55F day and night. I find that any lower than that, and even at that temp, that moisture from the shower causes mold problems. It probably has more to do with lack of circulation, but the condensation from the hot steam on the cold walls seems to promote mold growth in a crazy way in my bathroom.

maybe I should check the vent fan?

Adrienne said...

We've only had one night below freezing so far... the heat is technically on but set at 62-ish, it's only actually turned on once for a few minutes.

Tree Huggin Momma said...

Just in time we had snow for Halloween and are expecting more this week. Currently the highest setting on the programable thermostat is 64 (first thing in the am, and just before bed). The majority of the day its just DH and he wears a flannel and snuggles under a blanket, allowing us to keep it at 58-60. At night its 55. I am hoping to lower the upper level to 63 this month, and the lower end to 54.

Anna Marie said...

We have the furnace set to go on at 50*. So far, aside from one night, we haven't used the furnace once. We have used the fire place twice. Hopefully the wood we have will last us through the cold parts of the year.

Jonah said...

Hello, my name is Jonah. (We met yesterday at the Aster.) I think we may have talked about the misconception that change, ie--conservation ... as opposed to consumerism, is a return to the stone age. I love cold weather, but I enjoy being warm in it. Money spent to accomplish this is, to me, worth the price. However--I can be efficient. The thermostat in my house is "smart". It is programmed to be "very low" at night, yet "warm" in the morning as I get out of bed (which I find hugely helpful); but it turns itself off all day as I am away. In the afternoon it goes to "warm" again and the cycle repeats. This is intelligent in that it uses only the energy that is needed. No more.
HOWEVER ... it is so complicated to set that I don't know how to change it even though I would like it turned down a bit more. Haha.Ironic.
No easy answers in life.


Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I don't turn on the furnace until it goes down to 40 degrees. My mom complained while visiting that the indoor temperature was 67 degrees. Ha! Wait until winter when the daytime indoor temp is set at 58!

My tip is to spend the extra $20 on programmable thermostat that already has pre-programmed temperatures. I never have to worry or calculate the lowest temp vs. too cold that I'm losing money warming up the house threshold. I don't have to grab the instruction book each winter to relearn how to program it either. I just turn it on to Heat and it's on auto pilot 62 at waking and sleeping and 58 during the day - I work at home too.

Olivia said...

Our thermostat stays set at 50 degrees - but it is in the basement. We have an upstairs thermostat as well but rarely use it. We have to heat the basement to that temp. or else our cement walls crack during our LONG, FRIGID winters. (Canada, you know. "Mon pays, ce n'est pays un pays,c'est l'hiver" or "My country isn't a country, it's winter) as the old French Canadian song goes. We have already had snow.

We have a wood cookstove in the kitchen that heats the house and our water and cooks our food. Also dries our clothes. We also have our own 22 acre woodlot.

I like the house warm and can thankfully keep it so with the woodstove, at least, during the day when we are up. I like it cold for sleeping. We have spent a fortune on energy retrofitting the house - insulation, windows and so on - had an energy audit last year and did everything they recommended. Of course, I am older (Greenpa's generation) and thin, so generating body heat is harder. Living at 60F. would make me want to curl up and die but I think we have done a lot to ensure that we don't waste fuel and, as I said, our woodstove plays many roles.

Dea-chan said...

We've been keeping the heat around 60-65F. I'll have to plan baking/roasting/crockpot cooking to help bring some heat into the apartment. Luckily, we're on the top floor, so can siphon heat from the bottom two floors -- and well-insulated enough to not LOSE most of that heat!

round belly said...

our house was just built to be ecological- there is enough insulation that just sleeping raises the house's temperature by 5 degrees.

I had the thermostat set at 60, but my dh turned it up when his feet got cold. So I went out and bought him slippers. now it is back at 60, although it usually is about 70 in here due to body heat and cooking.

I should probably give the kids slippers for christmas :)

Dee Dee Bowman said...

We've been told by a so-called energy expert that having more than about 3 or 4 degree difference between day & night temperature settings for our furnace would, in the long run, use more energy because the furnace has to work so hard to get back up to the on temperature. Have you heard this argument. Our gas furnace is set to go at about 5:30 am at 68 degrees. It goes off around 9:30 with the reduced temperature at 65; then on again around 4:30, staying at 68 until 10 pm. Most nights we "fool" the thermostat into going into off mode much earlier (maybe around 7 pm) when we light a fire in our family room fireplace.Our old stone house has 2 zones - the 2nd one being our bedroom on the attic level. We haven't turned that one on in a few years and just get by with whatever heat rises up to that floor of the house. We've been able to keep our utility bills pretty stable, even though prices have risen. Cooler than 68 just doesn't allow us to be comfortable in the mornings in our old house.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Dee Dee - I don't know. But, I'll ask my energy expert guy and do a post on it since I think it's probably a question that affects a number of folks...

Nicole said...

Our furnace has been turning itself on for a few weeks now. I have a programmable thermostat and generally find it to be great! My DH has been complaining with the heat set at 18 during the day - somewhere between 63 - 64 acording to the conversion chart. We turn it to 15 during the night and when we are away from home (59). I have made sure we are stocked with sweaters, slippers, throw blankets, but am still getting resistance. Are there any suggestions of how to convince a significant other to turn down the heat with you?

Debby said...

We are gonna give 65 daytime temp a try and 55 at night, we haven't turned our heat on yet, hope I can hold out for a few more weeks! We have our timmer set to help us stay on track, love the idea of a space heater in the bathroom, that is the one place that would beat us, need a warm bathroom after a shower.

Pippi said...

I'll have to pass on the challenge this year (not that I officially participated last year but I'm generally a bit crazy about keeping the heat down). With a newborn in the house we've been keeping it warmer. Sure we can dress her warmly, but she still needs frequent diaper changes. I don't want to literally freeze the baby's buns off :)

Anonymous said...

During my first winter of sustained anti-heat effort, I used so much less heating oil that my oil delivery guy actually called to check if I was alright. He assumed my furnace was broken and was worried that I was in peril. That was gratifying!

Coldhousejournal said...

During my first winter of sustained anti-heat effort, I used so much less heating oil that my oil delivery guy actually called to check if I was alright. He assumed my furnace was broken and was worried that I was in peril. That was gratifying!

Anonymous said...

I love living in the Northern half of the US, I was raised on Lake Superior, but now live in mid-Michigan. But while I don't mind it being cold outside, I hate being cold inside. In past years I've kept my Temp between 70-73 and still felt like I was freezing. This year I am lowering it to 65-68. So far I've turned it up once or twice to 73 when I was home. I've tried bundling up, but then I feel constrained by having too many clothes on and I feel uncomfortable. My only saving grace, I guess, is that my home is really small, and keeps its temperature well due to the insulation I added and the new windows I put in. I don't know what my usage is, but I spend $69.00 a month on gas for heat, cooking, dryer, and hot water. That seems low to me.

EngineerChic said...

For anyone who has elderly pets & worries about their ability to stay warm & comfortable in chilly temps - there are heated cat and dog beds available that plug in. I was thinking about this issue this morning when I noticed our relatively young (and well insulated) cat has been firmly parked on her heated cat bed since it got cold outside. When we had an elderly cat he loved that bed, now that he's passed on she is taking over.

The best pet beds have a setting so they don't heat beyond 85F & use a very small amount of energy compared to heating the whole house by an additional 5-10 degrees.

Just thought I'd throw that out there for other tender-hearted suburbanites like myself ;)