It has nearly been a month since we first started the Brass Monkey Challenge, so it is time for an update.
The minimum temperatures have dropped down to 2°C (35.6F) for the last few nights/mornings, and max temps are hovering around 12°C (53.6F).
That is on par with the long-term average, even though the rest of July has been about 2 degrees above this average.
Still no frosts, thankfully, and our challenge is still going strong.
The days have been somewhat sunny, so we keep the window coverings open during the day to let the sunlight heat the lounge, my office, and our bedroom. With the doors and windows closed, these rooms have been heating up to around 18°C during the day.
There is certainly no need for heating in these rooms. My office is staying at that temp for most of the night because my computer keeps the room constant. Who needs a heater when the PC pumps out so much heat!
The rest of the house is around 16°C (60.8F) during the day, and down to 12°C (53.6F) at night. The are tolerable temperatures once you get used to it and dress for the conditions.
Layers are the norm here at the moment. Ben, Kim and I are now quite used to having about three layers on top to stay warm.
No, we are not dressing like Eskimos, more like dressing for a spring day. I have been wearing a t-shirt, flannel shirt, and track-suit jacket on top, and thick woolen or hemp socks, and track-pants on the bottom. No hats or scarves or gloves required. I was wearing fingerless gloves at the start of the challenge, but discontinued use once I adapted.
Guests Do It Tough
With that said, our recent guests, Amy and Kate had a bit of a climate shock when they came over on for dinner and to record the pollution podcast episode.
Both were given coats and hats to keep warm. They are were not the hardened Brass Monkeys that we obviously were. It was quite funny actually, as we discussed this during the podcast episode at around the [27:32] minute mark of the chat. They were all rugged up, and I was not. Quite a stark contrast.
Quieting The Monkey
Yesterday, Maurice from ecoMaster visited and performed the ecoHome Plus assessment. He was here for about 3 hours in total, checking insulation levels, inspecting walls, checking for draughts, and other stuff.
He gave us some verbal feedback before we receive the full report in the next few days.
The first thing he suggested we get done is to get some wall insulation pumped into the wall cavities. We have a brick/veneer home and there was foil insulation fitted when the house was originally built, however this has a very low R factor. There is a 50mm gap in between the bricks and the stud-work that can be filled.
We have no idea of the cost until we get the main report, but I am willing to dive into my deep pockets to get it done.
Additionally, the windows need to be replaced with double glazing, as they are not very efficient. With aluminium frames that are rotting, and glass that is single pane, they are highly efficient conductors of heat. Not very good when you are trying to keep your home warm. Again, not sure of the cost, but it will not be cheap.
One Month Remaining
With only one month of winter remaining, I think we will make it to the end of the challenge quite easily.
No natural gas has been expended on heating so far, so therefore no GHG emission have been created. I am looking forward to our next gas bill at the end of the month!
Kim has had the energy-efficient reverse cycle air-conditioner on for an hour in the morning to heat up her south-facing office, and on for another in the evening. She only has a laptop, so her room temperature drops during the evening. As we purchase GreenPower, we only use renewable energy to power our home, so no GHG emissions for this little bit of heating.
I am looking forward to spring and the warmth that it brings. It will be a flurry of activity in the garden as well, but we will be able to reduce the layers (like an Ogre) and warm up a bit.
I am also looking forward to start work on making our home more comfortable with wall insulation and double glazing, but will have to assess the timeframes when we see how much it will cost.
How are you going on your Brass Monkey Challenge? Coping alright? Keeping warm enough?
Lynda D says
Ive been doing it sneakily, turning off the heater when the others dont notice. Mind you, last night i was up till 12 midnight, engrossed in writing, and i got so cold i must have lowered my core body temp. Despite doonas i was still awake at 2am shivering and keeping hubby awake. I got up and had a hot shower and then got back into bed for a 3 hr sleep. We have north facing windows but have covered them with a pergola for the heat in summer. Need to think about this one.
Adam Eales says
I’m in a MacMansion with no north facing windows, and windows that aren’t old enough for me to justify replacing them. I run ducted heating, yet the house will drop 10 degrees overnight. This have got to change! I’ve insulated some of the windows with plantation shutters or low e window tinting. I’ve been looking into pumped in wall insulation, but it is hard to find local information. I look forward to reading your results with EcoMaster.
Kathy Partridge says
If you do the insulation and windows, you’ll also notice the house stays MUCH cooler during those horrible heat waves you get in the summer. My folks had all this done a few years ago – it’s a lot quieter in their house now, since the furnace doesn’t run nearly as much and outside traffic noises are blocked. Their house was built in 1962 and had only 1″ of insulation in the walls and 3″ in the ceiling! They had cellulose blown in – don’t remember what the walls are now, but they’ve got R-50 in the attic.
I just had a new energy efficient furnace installed, which qualified for some utility incentives. In terms of actual combustion, the installer says there’s not much more the manufacturers can do to make them more efficient. So added efficiency comes from a variable heating and fan that starts out burning minimum BTUs, then steps it up as necessary. (Not sure I’ve explained it that well, but that’s the gist of it, anyway.)
Kathy Partridge says
PS – If you have to do the project in stages, I understand that you will get the biggest bang for your buck if you do the attic before the walls and windows because the attic’s an inferno in the summer, and heat rises and escapes through it in the winter.
I have to admit to often sleeping in in the mornings, but it has still been only 5 degrees C in the house a number of times when I’ve first gotten out of bed in the morning. So, yes, we have been running our gas heater.
The thermostat goes down to 16C and there is also a low setting. It often sits on that, taking the chill out of the room, though I do notice how much colder you feel sitting down for a period of time. It often gets bumped up a little at times like that!
Gavin Webber says
I find that a small blanket on the lap works wonders if I have to sit for a while. Saves on the gas bill.
Nola Kontjonis says
Hi Gavin……I have dug out the thermal pants and tops we wore on our adventure to the Himalayas. Just put them on under normal gear and they keep you warm all day…….no bulky layers required!!
Gavin Webber says
Good tip Nola. Thermals are a brilliant idea to ward off the brass monkey!