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Energy conservation: gosh it's cold inside!

Thermostat I'm having a hard time picking which I like best this year: wool or fleece. Many days it's both at the same time. Why? Because we are keeping the thermostat really low.

The winter started off with a vengeance when Arctic Blast 2008 blanketed our Pacific Northwest temperate rain forest with snow upon snow. The schools replied with snow day after snow day. The roads in my neck of the woods were pretty much impassable. So we stayed home and turned up the heat. Resulting in the most expensive gas and electric bills we've ever paid. Ouch.

Since then, we've implemented some rather severe austerity measures. The heat is set to 55 degrees at night. When we wake up, we jack it up to a generous 61 degrees. During the day, when it's usually only me at home with one child, 63 degrees. And if I'm really freezing (i.e., even my layer upon layer of wool and fleece aren't doing the trick), I will crank it up to 64 degrees.

While last year we used to keep it at 65 during winter days, I usually don't start to feel cold until later in the afternoon. Probably because I'm typically doing more during the morning, and it isn't until the afternoon that I slow down. Right after dinner, the thermostat kicks back down to 55, and let me tell you, the temp drops like a stone (our house could probably use some insulation and weatherizing). I usually read in bed at night with socks or gloves on my hands to keep warm. Thank goodness for the down comforters on our beds. Otherwise we'd be popsicles.

We do use a programmable thermostat, which greatly helps us conserve electricity and gas. Although this year, I find myself over-riding the settings more than ever to save a degree here and there. Way back when, during last year's presidential debates, this question, "what will you ask Americans to sacrifice?" kept coming up, and the candidates pretty much dodged it every time. So while I'm not asking you or anyone else to make sacrifices in the heat department the way we are, I did want to share that we learned we could go much lower than we ever thought, and still feel fairly comfortable.

Out of curiosity, how low do you go?


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