Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The 20-Degree Challenge

Matt and I have been trying to use our air-conditioning and heat less often in order to be better on the environment and our wallet. The thing about living in Central Texas is that you can literally go from AC to heat (and back again) in the span of a week. Oddly enough, it's not often the perfect temperature to have nothing on and the windows open. 

Matt and I have been trying to stretch what feels right in our home but undertaking the "20-Degree Challenge." We are trying not to turn on the air-conditioning until it gets hotter than 80-degrees in our house and trying not to turn on the heat until it gets lower than 60-degrees in the house. 

We've been doing this challenge for about a month, and so far it's working out well. The challenge has illuminated just how bad some of our habits used to be. For example, when it got hot in our home, we would immediately lower the thermostat, versus turning on a fan or removing extra clothing. For example, Matt has a habit of wearing long-sleeve shirts even in the summer (since so many commercial spaces are over-air-conditioned). When I get cold, it's easy for me to turn up the thermostat versus just putting on more layers, using a blanket, and sipping hot liquids. 

I honestly think the 60-degree low might be too difficult for me. So far, it's only dropped to 63 degrees during the day, and that felt like freezing. We might have to modify it to the 17-Degree Challenge. 

We'll see! 

At what temperatures do you typically turn on your AC or heat? 

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beneg said...

This was funny to read! In Vietnam our house without the air-conditioning is often above 38 degrees Celsius in summer (even at night). We set the air-conditioning to 26C (80F) and this brings the temperature down to around 28C.
I too long to be able to open the windows and doors...

Nora said...

We set our heat to 62 degrees in the winter (which means it's functionally more like 55-60 in most rooms). One trick is to set the heat so it goes down when you're sleeping, and to have extra blankets. Our heat is set to go down to 55 from 11 pm to 5:30 am. The nice thing is that means that the heater runs to reheat the house in the AM, so it feels comparably warmer when it's time to wake up!

Unknown said...

I wonder if using something like NEST would help regulate things (this is on my mind because we just moved from a condo to a house and are trying to figure out the right balance for us). For me, I struggle when it gets colder than 65 but I have a high tolerance for warmth so I can usually go to 80 without a problem. So for me it would be either a 15 rule or a 20 rule with 85 being the top (my husband would be the opposite). That said, we tend to save lots on energy with a programmable thermostat that regulates the temperature at night and during the day when we are not home.

Catherine Wright said...

Read this: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/01/does-global-warming-make-me-look-fat/383509/

I love a good cold house. It motivates me to get moving (wash the dishes, sweep, go outside and rake leaves/shovel snow!)

Sara E. Cotner said...

What a fascinating article, Catherine! Thanks so much for sharing!

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