If you start shivering when your indoor temperature hits 65 degrees, brace yourself; this news will be a shock to your system. According to the New York Times, some Americans are living without any heat at all -- and they're doing it by choice
One of these people, Maine resident Daniel F., lives in a house with no thermostat, no heating system, no radiator, and no furnace. The house's average indoor temperature lingers around 52 degrees.
Daniel explains, "It all started in October '08 as just a few pals goading each other to see who could wait the longest to turn on their furnace." After the friends made it past Thanksgiving without heat, Daniel grew accustomed to the colder temperatures and decided to launch Cold House Journal
, a blog in which he chronicles his controversial lifestyle. He notes, "It [the blog] was a way to focus my thoughts and maybe inspire a few others. Also, as long as I was posting things, my parents knew that I wasn't in a hypothermic coma."
Of course, you're probably wondering why anyone would choose to live in such conditions. Although Daniel would like to think that conserving energy, minimizing CO2 emissions, and saving money are enough to make his heat-free life worth considering, he personally sees his lifestyle choice as an experiment in answering the more basic questions of human happiness and adaptability.
For other cold-weather-bloggers, living heat-free is an eco-minded effort to reduce fuel usage. Washington resident and blogger Crunchy Chicken
(who also founded the "Freeze Yer Buns" initiative
) lives with minimal heat, and often gives tips on how to keep the thermostat low, such as utilizing heating pads, fingerless gloves, and even pets. Her
average indoor temperature? "I'm wimping out this year and pledging for 65 [degrees during the] day and 58 [at] night," she writes on her blog.
Of course, to each their own. As a homeowner, I suppose one has the right to keep the temperature as low as they please. But what about guests?, I wondered. "We don't really have rules, but if we did, we'd bend them for guests," says Daniel, who lives with his girlfriend, Jordan. "We let them sit on the heating pad, and if they're here overnight, we even let them have a space heater in the guest room."
So, is this a permanent decision? "We do frequently get asked when this is going to end." Daniel admits. "I'm not at all sure. It's getting easier, not harder. If anything, [the lack of heat] has made me happier. So [Jordan and I] are waiting for a reason to stop, which we haven't encountered yet."
As for concerned family members and friends, Daniel's heard it all. He says, "Everyone seems to have an opinion. Some people think we're heroic, before our time, etc. Other people (probably more) think we're imbeciles. A lot of people do seem to get that we're advocating a way out of some of our dependence on burning fossil fuels in a cheap, low-tech, old-fashioned way. But a lot of people get very upset when you suggest they could change their behaviors."
Think you'd be brave enough to follow in these homeowners' chilly footsteps? For those who are, Daniel shares these tips:
1. Try to disconnect the phrase room temperature
from any specific number that may currently be stuck in your mind.
2. Recognize that if you share your house with another person, you'll always disagree about the temperature -- accept it as normal and try to smile at each other.
3. Lastly, find out where all the pipes are in your house, figure out which ones are most at risk to freeze
, and keep a close eye on them.
And, of course, look out for metal objects. As Daniel says, "Putting my hands on the aluminum laptop first thing in the morning is still kind of shocking..."
Other heat-free bloggers::
-Experiments in Efficiency
-Peak Oil Blues
Find the Perfect Space Heater to Save Energy (and Money)
A Zero-Energy Building Grows in Brooklyn