Alternative living.

flowerbug

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in thinking about how to get along on minimal resources i keep finding out that nature has pretty much figured out much of this many many years before us.

like the idea that in order to live we need to keep warm. we've lost our fur, built structures, keep them warm, intead of just heating our selves and the immediate space around us. some people wear layers of clothes, that actually does work well.

here it is coming up on the colder part of the season and i'm thinking again how nice it would be to have more fur. :) in the future people will likely have the option again of being more furry and perhaps even seasonally. :) i like fur. :)

on the other extreme is to think about living arrangements and thinking in layers. in the center of the house you could have your warm room where you keep a small heater and the hot water supply. when the weather gets cold you just close off the outer layers and leave them to be the buffer and if you've designed the place right then the inner layer stays warm and comfy enough. i can't quite do that here but i've done a version of it when Mom has been away by keeping the heat of the whole house low and just warming up this room if i need it warmer. most of the time i'm just reading or surfing the internet from this perch here and i can put more blankets on to keep warm and type with my hands/arms under the blankets. that can save a lot of energy from being wasted.
 

Britesea

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In the winter, we close off the bathroom and bedroom during the day and only heat the living room and kitchen. I figure if I use the bathroom, I'm only in there for a few minutes usually; if I take a shower the steam warms the room for when I get out to dry off. At night, we open the doors to both rooms and they get some heat from the rest of the house- enough to keep from having windows totally ice up and such. We wear layers and remove or add through the day as our individual needs change (I tend to be warmer in late afternoon, DH in late evening). So far this system has been working for us.
 

baymule

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For many years I lived in houses without central heat and air. Heat was an unvented gas heater. It got turned off at night for safety reasons. Turned it on in the mornings, off when we left for work. Old houses with little to no insulation, drafty wood frame windows, built up on blocks so the air could blow under it in summer for cooling, but cold in winter!! We keep the central heat low but at least have the option of turning it up to warm up the house.
 

tortoise

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When DH was a bachelor, he only heated his living room in winter, and slept on the couch.

We have been keeping it steady here because we have old wood furnace that doesnt have good regulation and propane.

We used to keep it very cool and avoid using propane heat until the weather is cold enough to use the wood furnace. But going from 60 degrees to 80 degrees when switching furnaces was triggering my symptoms.

Instead of conserving propane and acclimating to lower temps, we switched strategies to improving insulation. DH retrofitted vapor barrier and redid the attic insulation. It made a huge difference! He bought insulation for the under the main level floor to trap more heat upstairs. He will probably do that project in January.

Our second floor is poorly heated and we just deal with it. I'm sleeping in our guest room which doesnt have any heat. I read or journal in bed to warm up the bed and blankets before bedtime. Its okay, but I might switch bedrooms when we get really cold weather (-20 degrees F).
 

frustratedearthmother

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WE don't deal with the kid of cold that a lot of you do. But, we do close off as many north facing rooms as we can to keep a barrier between the rest of the house and the north wall. We rarely run any heat upstairs except maybe a space heater in the bathroom. I generally have a heated mattress pad or blanket on the bed, but lately they have bit the dust within a year of purchase and I'm ticked off about that. Not feeling like purchasing another, so I'll preheat the bed with a heating pad instead. We wear more clothes inside and put off turning the heat on as long as possible.

I'd much rather deal with cold than heat! Just don't ask me to do without AC in the summer lol.
 

flowerbug

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i forgot to mention one of the other strategies that was used in Japan. the kimono is like it is because those billowing robes act to trap heat coming up from the floor. they built some parts of their rooms with stone slabs and the fireplace was off to the side so the heat would warm the slab and then the people on the slab would have their robes to catch the heat coming up. that to me was genius level right there when i first read about that. i mean you'd not have to heat the entire house just keep enough heat on the slab and you'd be sitting there nice and warm. :) i could handle that. :)

and maybe that would work out well enough if you had solar panels or a wind powered generator so that you could use that to warm up a tank of water and then you could recirculate heat as needed. or direct solar heat to hot water (which is more efficient than doing the conversion both directions).

i'm always thinking about how to do some kind of heat budget and storage here as i think that is a good way to cut down on energy use and to make it more comfortable too in the winter.

good insulation for sure is a big help and also making sure the walls aren't letting too much air in and out of the house. you do want some air exchange, but you can get air exchange and at the same time still not lose too much heat.
 

Hinotori

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The japanese have these awesome quilts called kotatsu that come down off the low table. Sometimes you can find electric ones. You just sit with your legs under and are toasty.

Tapestries and other fabric wall hangings were used in drafty stone castles to keep the cold out.

Window quilts are a little more modern but still work.

We heat the the kitchen/living room (about 400 sq feet) and bathroom. Just where the pipes are.

There is some air transfer to the bedroom but it's always cold in there. I just add more blankets.
 

Mini Horses

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Heated mattress pad here! I keep temps lower and layer clothes more. But we aren't into our COLD yet....which isn't the cold you northerners get but, more than I want. 😁 I don't use my central heat, live in downstairs only, so space heaters or the propane heater, which looks like a wood burner stove and ceiling fan on low. About 1300 sq ft. Open floor plan. So far I'm handling colder house temps better this year than last. Normally upper 60s inside. Bake a couple times a week....lower temps when out of house for more than quick trip. Plus off hot water tank 2 days, on 1. Few lights needed. It all makes a difference! My house is also well insulated with garage on north side.

I find keeping neck, upper back and feet warm makes a real difference. So turtle necks, vest, thick socks. Snuggie shoes. Those type things. I own a lot of long johns and flannel.

Summer I use a/c but temps closer to 75 inside....not a fan of cold.
 

Hinotori

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Growing up we always had a small blanket over the end of the bed. It covers the feet to keep them warmer. Even Great Grandma did this as it's how her Swiss family did things.

I have one of those big quad sheepskins on my bed. Keeps all air off the feet. The german shepherd sleeps down there as well and I shove feet under her if I'm really cold.

We've had an unusually warm (and dry) winter so far.

On a side note, the greenhouse tarps I put around the silkie pens have prevented their water from freezing at all even when the large fowl pen has over a half inch thick ice puck in theirs.
 

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