11 November 2009

Climate Change – the small version

Every year, we go through rounds of climate change.

Summer is warm, and we need the windows open to get the air circulating through the house. If the upstairs window is open, the cooler air actually gets drawn in the downstairs windows as the rising heat pushes air out of the upstairs window, in a sort of passive ventilation scheme. All that sunshine really heats the house, though, so in the summer we tend to spend more time in the North Wing where the building is shaded and the rooms stay cooler, especially with the heavy dark drapes pulled to block the warming sun.

The rest of the year, though, those big south facing windows are a delight, and we spend more time in the South Wing of the house, soaking up the precious natural light (of which there is less and less as we approach solstice again), and the concomitant warmth.

However, as fall turns to winter, those big panes of glass also have a downside. They bring in sunlight and warmth, but boy, oh boy, do they leak heat. The glass is icy under your fingers, and much of the lovely warmth from inside is transferred outside in accordance with the unbreakable laws of thermodynamics.

So … we deal with the annual face of climate change with our annual climate change mitigation strategies. :)

Today, the bubble wrap insulation went up on all the windows. The light still comes in, and we still get lots of warmth … but the transfer of warm air to the outside is impeded by thousands of tiny plastic bubbles stuck to the glass.

We also need to replace the light weight summer curtains with heavier, chill-blocking ones – but with so many windows, that’s a substantial investment in fabric. I’ve got some thoughts about weaving some curtain fabric from the rather substantial stash of wool I have here … but if I find good curtains on sale before then, well, one way or the other, we’ll get warmer drapes in place before too long.

The last mitigation strategy we need to put in place is the expensive transparent plastic thermal barrier for the upper windows – they are too high to reach without an extension ladder (and even then, the very top is a long way up), and we want a more permanent heat-transfer solution for those windows – something that is ‘once and done’. The see-through stick on thermal barrier material from Home Depot works really well, but we’ll need several rolls to cover those windows. Still, for the savings in heating costs, it’s probably worth it.

I think I’ll schedule a trip this week as part of my small scale climate change mitigation strategy. :)

1 comment:

  1. .. and curtains were on sale at Sears.ca outlet! Woohoo! New cotton drapes on the south windows: darker, so they block the sun when it's bright and glaring, and heavier, so they block the cold at night. Yippee!


Comments have been opened up for immediate posting - the spam filters seem to be doing their job pretty well, thankfully. I love hearing from you, thanks for taking the time to post a comment!