Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, with a passion for sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions, and this post is about the “Best ‘green’ ways to keep YOU warm this winter“. This is part 1; we’ll also be doing the “Best ‘green’ ways to keep YOUR HOME warm this winter”, and “Best tips for more efficient heating this winter”.
Brrrrr….winter has well and truly settled in here in Ballarat! The temperature has certainly dropped, and the cold wind sure is fresh! Our thermal comfort levels sure are put to the test here, and the first thing we do is usually to switch on the heating.
But did you know that here in Victoria, the largest percentage of our home’s total energy use is for heating! Over a third of our home’s energy use is for heating…imagine how much we could reduce our carbon footprints by doing some *free*, easy and green alternatives to keep ourselves warm – inside the home, not just when we go out to brave the elements!
Keep yourself warm:
1. Wear Layers: Put on more layers of clothing, including a singlet, long socks, long tights, thermal underwear, and overcoats/jackets. The layers prevent exposure to the cold, and the air trapped between the layers provides insulation which helps retain body heat.
2. Wear a hat: Wearing a warm hat or beanie as a lot of your body-heat escapes through your head. Yes, you can wear it inside. Try a balaclava if really cold, but perhaps tell your family members/housemates first!
3. Warm toes: Wear some warm socks and ugg-boots or warm slippers. Slipper-socks can be good too. If your tootsies are cold, you’ll feel more cold all over.
4. Get moving: Try jumping up and down, jogging on the spot, dancing in the lounge (this track will get you up and grooving!), ride an exercise bike, pull out a skipping rope if you have the space, or perhaps venture outside for a brisk walk or jog around the block. In a few minutes you’ll feel much warmer! Of course you can do any other activity that can get your blood pumping….err I am off course talking about vacuuming!
5. Do some housework: Speaking of vacuuming, this is also a good time to mop the floors, scrub the bathroom, do the ironing, or dust all the shelves…any of these boring tasks will actually get you moving and warm you up, and you can cross another chore off your list!
6. Cuddles!: Snuggle up close to someone – your partner, children, parents or even a close friend to share some body-heat. Pets can be great for this too (but perhaps not goldfish!).
7. Cover up with a blankie: When lazing on the couch, wrap yourself with a blanket/snuggie/shawl/doona when reading or watching TV. Even when sitting at the computer, you can cover your lap with a blanket to keep your legs warm. In Japan they have blanket/doona-like table cloths called Kotatsu– often with small heaters underneath the table to keep everyone’s legs toasty-warm while they eat/work at the table!
8. Make yourself a warm drink: Put the kettle on, and have a cup of herbal tea, a hot chocolate or just warm-water with a slice of lemon (or perhaps with some ginger and honey too…yum!). Note that ‘moderation’ is the keyword when it comes to caffeinated drinks (and alcohol…mmmm did someone say “mulled wine”!) as they increase blood flow to the skin which make you feel warmer, but you actually then lose that heat.
9. Eat comfort-foods: Enjoy warm comfort-foods that easily digestible – think porridge for breakfast with stewed fruit, and soups, curries, daals, stews and casseroles for lunch and dinner.
10. Go old-school with a hot water bottle: Fill a hot-water-bottle with hot water (but not boiling – as it can deteriorate the rubber) or use a heat-pack to pre-warm your bed, or to warm your toes, or just to snuggle with on the couch.
11. Relax in a Hot Bath: Have a relaxing hot bath (or shower) to warm your whole body up. If you don’t have small children around, leave the bath-water in the tub to continue heating the room until it reaches body temperature before draining away.
12. Flannelette Sheets: Ok these sheets may seem a bit daggy, but they are SO much warmer and cosy then crisp cold cotton or stain or silk! Bamboo sheets are probably a better choice too, and also remember to add extra blankets if needed.
13. Take advantage of free Solar heating: During the day, sit by the north-facing window that still has some warmth from the winter-sun shining through. (You can also park your car is a sunny spot during the day, and it will soon heat up inside so you won’t need to turn the heater on in the car!)
Stay tuned for our upcoming posts, “Best ‘green’ ways to keep YOUR HOME warm this winter“, and “Best tips for more efficient heating this winter“. In the meantime, we’d love to know if we’ve missed any ideas, so please let us know how do you keep yourself warmer in the cooler months (without turning on the heater)?! I’ve love to hear about it in the comments below!
We’ll aim to answer more questions about sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes, also with reference to our local climate (Regional Ballarat area and Melbourne) in future posts. Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our monthly news (over there on the top right-hand side of this page) so you won’t miss out on our posts!