Ever heard the term “It’s so cold that it would freeze the balls off a brass monkey”?
Well if you haven’t, it has nothing to do with our primate cousins. It said to be an old navy saying that refers to the stand that cannon balls used to sit on called the brass monkey. When is was very cold, the brass monkey would contract, and the iron cannon balls would fall off. Some say this is not quite factual, but I like the analogy.
Anyway, this has nothing to do with my challenge, except for the temperature part and the catchy name!
Brass Monkey Challenge
We are challenging ourselves here at the house of GoG to see how long we can go without turning on the heating for winter. As we live in a temperate climate with very few frosts, then it is a moderately difficulty challenge.
The long-term average low for June is 6.9°C and the high is 14.1°C. Certainly hypothermia causing weather if caught outside for a period of time without any clothing layers. July and August is slightly colder.
Rising Gas Prices
Natural gas prices here in Australia are scheduled to rise dramatically over the next few years. Domestic gas prices have been historically low compared to the world market, and now that gas exports are on the rise, so are the domestic prices. In NSW, prices are expected to rise by as much as A$225 per household bill for those on a regulated tariff. That is scary stuff.
So what better way to save money (and greenhouse gas emission), by trying your best to cut back a little.
Our Progress So Far
It is already at the end of the first month of winter and we are doing well so far. Our main heating for the house is two natural gas wall heaters, that blow hot air around the main living areas. These two units are currently turned off without the pilot lights running.
We also have two energy-efficient reverse cycle air conditioners that could be used for heating, one in Kim’s office and one in the main bedroom. Both of these are off as well, however Kim did turn her heater on for an hour to heat up her office the other day when it was a max temp of 10°C during the day.
So how do we keep warm?
Well, we are keeping toasty warm by using a few methods. The home is insulated with blown paper pulp in the ceiling, which traps the heat in.
During the evening we keep toasty warm by using cell blankets on our laps when sitting.
During the day, we passively heat the house when it is sunny by opening the blinds on the north side of the house. This heats up my office, the main bedroom, and the lounge room. Just before the sun sets we close the blinds to lock the heat in the room. All of our binds have pelmets fitted above them to prevent the air circulating behind them which cools the air in the room.
We also wear layers indoors, and dress appropriately for the season. At night we wear warm dressing gowns and slippers.
Our beds have thick continental quilts and organic cotton blankets to keep us warm at night. Very snuggly!
Join The Challenge
So what do you think? Do you want to join us in the Brass Monkey Challenge? You may already be participating, which is great. Even if you have the heating on, but would like to give this a go, chime in with a comment if you want to take up the challenge.
Each fortnight during the remainder of winter, I am going to post tips and tricks on how to stay warm without the need for whole home heating.
So what are you waiting for? Join the challenge. You might even save a bit of money in the process.