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Not heating my home at all

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8:19 pm
March 16, 2010

John Symond


posts 70

Post edited 2:36 am – August 18, 2010 by John Symond

I moved to an apartment over three years ago and I am about to go into my fourth winter of not using any heating. In the first winter I made a concession by turning on a heater for visitors. Since then all my visitors have been trained – John does not heat his home!!

A major reason for relocating from a suburban house to this inner suburban flat was to conserve energy. I chose a flat with the largest windows having a northerly aspect. It still gets pretty cold. I have a max-min thermometer which allows me to see the highest and lowest temperatures recorded. An impulsive friend said, “Ooh! Whats this?”, and pressed the reset button. Grrr…

However I think the recorded temperatures are still about right – Min = 8 degrees Celsius, Max = 31C.

I survive by wrapping up. Long Johns, Beanie, scarf, two sweaters, maybe a dressing gown or meditation shawl on the coldest evenings – the full catastrophe!

Yes I am getting more and more eccentric. And loving it. 

I get uncomfortable at about 10 degrees. But having done it for three years I know I can do it indefinitely. And I hear the climate is getting warmer…Cool

More later. Must go to have lunch with a friend…

7:37 pm
September 26, 2010



posts 60

You're obviously made of stern stuff!

I will say though that I've found the EER ratings bear little useful relationship to 'sensible' heat and actual energy efficiency of a home. I often suggest to friends considering buying a property to disregard those things, which often seem to rely on counting installed equipment and their relative energy efficiency compared to more outdated technologies, and just trust to how your body feels on walking into a house/apartment at different times of the day. It is really worthwhile considering things like orientation, building materials, and whether it's possible to make small modifications to make a difference to the climate of the home. 

My current house has a high rating, due to things like its RC heater/cooler, yet it's either cold or hot depending on the time of year and everyone complains that it's freezing, which is quite true, in winter. My electricity bills for September were astronomical. Double glazing helps with heat and sound reduction in some parts of the house, yet I'm convinced the chief problem is that the building developers use cheap materials (hardiplank cladding lined with foil is rubbish and shouldn't be allowed as an insulation material between walls in Canberra's climate – we're being ripped off).

Yet, I had an apartment once that had the perfect combination of factors to make it a much more pleasant temperature ie., it was double brick, sandwiched between other apartments, north facing on the balcony side, I installed batts in my part of the ceiling and since it was top floor I also put in solar tubes to light the inner parts of the flat.  I got rid of old fashioned wall heaters in favour of under carpet heating that was on controls for each room. It retained both natural and manmade heat very well.

I agree that dressing appropriately in winter is best wherever possible, but would say it's easier if your home is made of the right materials and properly oriented too. 

1:09 am
September 27, 2010

John Symond


posts 70

I can now describe a flat, whose owner also uses no heating in winter, nor air conditioning in summer.

I find it consistently more comfortable than mine (described above). Both flats are built of double brick and both have their largest windows facing north. However, my friend's flat faces east of north and mine west of north. As a result she gets the morning sun earlier, when you need it in winter, and none of the western sun in summer. 

In addition she has a flat below, another above, and one on either side. Thus getting better insulation than you will ever get from batts!

5:24 pm
January 9, 2013



posts 263

We tried living with no heating in 2008, the first year I learnt that heating accounts for about 80% of the energy costs and related carbon pollution in Canberra homes. My kids were similarly convinced and would tell me not to turn on the heater. I thought that it was them that wanted to go without heating and they thought it was me, so miscommunication meant we spent an entire winter without heating.


OMG! It was so cold it hurt.


Anyway, the reality for those of us that want to do our bit without suffering too much is that every degree reduces your energy bill by ten percent. Most people can relatively easily drop to 22, 21, 20 even 19 degrees simply by dressing more warmly in the house and in bed.


We now manage at about 16 degrees. The temperature drops to about 12 degrees during the night and most days so warming it up to 16 degrees feels really quite warm.


Seriously though, I think quality of life is vital so being relatively comfortable is important! Those damn coal companies cause thousands of times more emissions than us householders. Why should I cause myself so much grief trying, creating so little effect when our federal government won't hold them to account??!!!

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