Author Topic: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment  (Read 29681 times)

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #50 on: November 20, 2015, 05:00:05 PM »
NJ isn't really cold either.

Source: Someone who grew up in northern NH and now lives in NJ. :P

I have a house in Phoenix and when I was there, I did try to hold off on the heat as long as reasonably possible - but I'm not nearly as dedicated as a lot of you guys. If it was in the low 50's inside, the heat went on.


I suppose someone in antarctica could claim NH isn't really cold, and someone living on Nepute would say antarctica is nice and toasty, but where I was it would dip into single digits (Fahrenheit) outside, and by human standards, that's pretty dang cold.  We used heat 24/7 (after the freezing issues), but still kept it below around 40 or so and dressed appropriately.


So, maybe 40s is too low for most normal Americans.  50, 55, whatever - yall are still missing the point: when you do use the heat, you don't need to heat it up to outdoor summer temperatures.  There are choices in between "off" and "72".  Dress the way you would if you were outside - where ever you are - and the heat doesn't have to go nearly so high to be comfortable, and you lower both your heat bill and your environmental footprint at the same time.


 Incidentally, it's not really so much that I don't understand cold because I live in CA.  More like I live in CA because I didn't care for living somewhere where I couldn't just be comfortable year round without having to do anything or think about it.  Honestly, I don't know why people live in places that aren't hospitable for human life (for more than a few months, just to see what its like).
Then again, that's exactly why our real estate is so gosh darn expensive - everyone wants to live here, because it isn't NH, and you can feasibly go all winter without using any heat.
Until recently I was a renter, and I wanted to discourage people from moving here and driving up rents and home prices, but now that I'm finally an owner, by all means, come join the party Mustachians, the weather is way better here, and you'll find lots of like-minded friends!

reader2580

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 219
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #51 on: November 21, 2015, 06:46:16 PM »
My point is the same regardless of the temperature outside: however you dress outside, dress that way inside and you won't need to turn the heat up nearly as far.

What is the point of even living in a house if I was going to keep the interior temperature so cold that I have to wear a winter coat, hat, gloves, and boots indoors?  I might as well just live in a canvas tent with a wood stove.

I would love to live in a house that was designed just for me and didn't have extra spaces that cost extra money to heat/cool.  If I didn't need a mortgage and didn't care about resale then I would build a house more like a one bedroom apartment with a minimal number of rooms.  One issue is many cities require a minimum square footage.  A property in the country might not have minimums, but you pretty much eliminate biking or walking places to replace car trips.  Of course, I would make any house I built very well insulated.

Personally, my body has major issues with heat and humidity.  I have had heat exhaustion a number of times even with drinking lots of fluids.  I use air conditioning a lot even in Minnesota due to the humidity.  I tolerate heat just fine without humidity.  I would probably be better off living in a different dry state, but I have too many reasons to stay put.  Even with not being mustachian at all on my heating/cooling I spent just $1250 in the past 12 months for natural gas and electricity in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Shocked it is that low.  Thought it was more like $150 a month.)

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #52 on: November 24, 2015, 12:56:35 PM »
My point is the same regardless of the temperature outside: however you dress outside, dress that way inside and you won't need to turn the heat up nearly as far.

What is the point of even living in a house if I was going to keep the interior temperature so cold that I have to wear a winter coat, hat, gloves, and boots indoors?  I might as well just live in a canvas tent with a wood stove.


Not that I'm entirely opposed to the yurt lifestyle either... but solid walls gets you much more protection from extreme weather and burglary.  Not to mention the whole legal / mortgage / insurance aspect you mentioned

Quote
I would love to live in a house that was designed just for me and didn't have extra spaces that cost extra money to heat/cool. 
Use a space heater in the room you are in most often, and you can lower the whole house thermostat just enough to avoid freezing.  That way you are still comfortable, without wasting energy heating up the entire house including rooms no one is in.


Quote
If I didn't need a mortgage and didn't care about resale then I would build a house more like a one bedroom apartment with a minimal number of rooms.  One issue is many cities require a minimum square footage.  A property in the country might not have minimums, but you pretty much eliminate biking or walking places to replace car trips.


(don't get me started on building codes and zoning regulations and how terrible they are for affordable housing, being able to do what you want with your property, etc, and how much they are based on middle class expectations of convenience and aesthetics rather than the claimed purpose of public health and safety...)



GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 17618
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #53 on: November 24, 2015, 01:30:01 PM »
What is the point of even living in a house if I was going to keep the interior temperature so cold that I have to wear a winter coat, hat, gloves, and boots indoors?  I might as well just live in a canvas tent with a wood stove.

I do it mostly for protection from bears.

reader2580

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 219
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #54 on: November 24, 2015, 03:50:16 PM »
Use a space heater in the room you are in most often, and you can lower the whole house thermostat just enough to avoid freezing.  That way you are still comfortable, without wasting energy heating up the entire house including rooms no one is in.

Electric heat is so ridiculous expensive compared to natural gas would this really save all that much money?  The house I have was previously electric heat and I converted it to natural gas.  Electric bills were over $500 a month in the winter.  The most I have paid in the coldest month for natural gas is $105 even keeping it heated to 69 degrees in the evening and on weekends.

It is unfortunate that modern houses are designed such that central heat usually has to be kept at around 55 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing.  To set up my house for really low temps would require a few hundred dollars in modifications to the plumbing.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #55 on: November 25, 2015, 09:55:38 AM »
Use a space heater in the room you are in most often, and you can lower the whole house thermostat just enough to avoid freezing.  That way you are still comfortable, without wasting energy heating up the entire house including rooms no one is in.

Electric heat is so ridiculous expensive compared to natural gas would this really save all that much money?


Hard to say, depends largely on how big the house is.
If you are, say, sleeping in a fairly small bedroom within a 2 story 3000 sq ft house, a space heater is probably more cost effective than a gas furnace heating the whole place up to 70.
On the other hand, if your in a living room that takes up 1/2 of a 1000sq ft house, the difference in cost of gas vs electricity might mean heating the whole house more cost effective.
The only way to be sure for any specific circumstances is to try both ways

alsoknownasDean

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2381
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #56 on: November 26, 2015, 08:21:07 AM »
There's a few extra things that you could include in Step 4 to keep a place cool in summer.

What about shading the outside of the place (and not just the windows)? Perhaps with shade sails or deciduous trees?

Not just the windows either, but the rest of the house, especially if you're in a brick house (although I didn't see many brick houses in the US). After a few 40C+ days, the bricks heat up and the house stays warm even after the temperature drops.

Ceiling fans are worthwhile too, I wish I had one where I was, it'd make getting to sleep on the hot nights so much easier.

ditheca

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 265
  • Age: 37
  • Location: ST GEORGE, UT
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #57 on: December 10, 2015, 03:13:47 PM »
Just found this yesterday and thought it fits the these here... free lighting (using ancient technology!):

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gravitylight-2-made-in-africa#/

It's like a wind-up clock, but for lighting.  Gravity is converted by a little motor into light.  Pretty cool, and an epic win for those in a developing nation who can get their hands on one.

I'm normally not big on indiegogo, but SmarterEveryDay gave this project a recommendation so it seems pretty legit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jsc-pQIMxt8

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #58 on: December 11, 2015, 09:35:06 AM »
There's a few extra things that you could include in Step 4 to keep a place cool in summer.

What about shading the outside of the place (and not just the windows)? Perhaps with shade sails or deciduous trees?

Not just the windows either, but the rest of the house, especially if you're in a brick house (although I didn't see many brick houses in the US). After a few 40C+ days, the bricks heat up and the house stays warm even after the temperature drops.

Ceiling fans are worthwhile too, I wish I had one where I was, it'd make getting to sleep on the hot nights so much easier.


Great ideas - sort of stuff I'd never think of while living in an RV

Now that I'm a house with high ceilings, I've discovered how valuable ceiling fans are in winter too: we don't have any (yet), and it can be cold after the heats been on for quite a while.  Get on a ladder and its obvious why: all the heat is on the top half of the room!!!  I started putting a little table fan facing straight up, and suddenly the whole room is warm. 


Just found this yesterday and thought it fits the these here... free lighting (using ancient technology!):

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gravitylight-2-made-in-africa#/


Clever idea, but not something the typical person can use, what with it not existing yet and all...
« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 09:37:44 AM by Bakari »

MilesTeg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #59 on: December 11, 2015, 12:32:58 PM »
Some really bad advice you are giving about those of us in cold weather climates. Setting your thermostat to 35 degrees is really a bad idea. The pipes you want to keep from freezing are not in the interior of the house next to the thermostat where that temperature is measured. They are often in the basement, the attic, on the peripherary of the house or elsewhere that the temperature can be 10-20 degrees (or more) below what the thermostat is reading.

55 degrees is the lowest I would ever set mine, even with a modern well insulated house. I tried 50 once, and the pipes that feed my washer (that run through an exterior, insulated wall) froze. Thankfully they are PEX, not copper so they survived.

MilesTeg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #60 on: December 11, 2015, 12:43:02 PM »
Another big issue with turning your thermostat "off" is that low temperatures are not just a problem for being cold, the cause and/or aggrivate other health problems.

Cold air, in addition to being cold also is dry. The colder, the dryer. Dry air causes your body, especially your skin and mucus membranes to dry out (which sounds trivial, but can lead to much bigger problems). Dry skins sounds trivial, but can lead to much bigger problems because dry skin isn't as effective at i's primary purpose: protecting your from the outside world (pathogens, etc). It can also lead to really painful (if not too dangerous things) like split heels and other skin problems.

Dry air also causes problems for those with asthma and other lung issues.


With a typical, sane, level of heat (say low 60s during the day) the problems of dry air can be mitigated with humidifiers, body lotion, etc. But, at guano loco levels of heat (like 35), it's effectively impossible to maintain a comfortable, healthy level of humidity because air at the temperature can't hold a reasonable level of moisture. Elevation/air density also contributes, so people in high altitude, cold climates will have the biggest issues.

Bottom line, this suggestion of turning down the heat to 35 degrees is one example of the occasional insanity that some folks here engage in.

« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 01:18:54 PM by MilesTeg »

Silverwood

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 164
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #61 on: December 11, 2015, 01:08:14 PM »
I think some people here forgot to read the title of the post

Fireball

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 299
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #62 on: December 11, 2015, 03:07:04 PM »
Cold air, in addition to being cold also is dry. The colder, the dryer. Dry air causes your body, especially your skin and mucus membranes to dry out (which sounds trivial, but can lead to much bigger problems). Dry skins sounds trivial, but can lead to much bigger problems because dry skin isn't as effective at i's primary purpose: protecting your from the outside world (pathogens, etc). It can also lead to really painful (if not too dangerous things) like split heels and other skin problems.

Dry air also causes problems for those with asthma and other lung issues.


With a typical, sane, level of heat (say low 60s during the day) the problems of dry air can be mitigated with humidifiers, body lotion, etc. But, at guano loco levels of heat (like 35), it's effectively impossible to maintain a comfortable, healthy level of humidity because air at the temperature can't hold a reasonable level of moisture. Elevation/air density also contributes, so people in high altitude, cold climates will have the biggest issues.

Bottom line, this suggestion of turning down the heat to 35 degrees is one example of the occasional insanity that some folks here engage in.

Using your heat at a sane level can also reduce humidity significantly.  Our gas heat will lower the humidity into the low 30% range in our home which dries my skin out like crazy.  A humidifier will solve that problem, but it also uses ~100 watts to do it. I've found that lowering our heat to 62 during the day and 58 at night actually increases the humidity compared to a warmer 68. YMMV of course....With that said, I've never tried 35F.  All bets are off at that temp.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 03:09:52 PM by Fireball »

Mr Dumpster Stache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 139
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #63 on: December 11, 2015, 06:16:48 PM »
Just found this yesterday and thought it fits the these here... free lighting (using ancient technology!):

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gravitylight-2-made-in-africa#/


Clever idea, but not something the typical person can use, what with it not existing yet and all...

I have mine ordered, though!!!! The second generation prototype is sturdier; the first generation kept breaking when the kids would hang from the cord. :D

Malum Prohibitum

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 764
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #64 on: December 12, 2015, 11:58:17 AM »
Just found this yesterday and thought it fits the these here... free lighting (using ancient technology!):

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gravitylight-2-made-in-africa#/


Clever idea, but not something the typical person can use, what with it not existing yet and all...

I have mine ordered, though!!!! The second generation prototype is sturdier; the first generation kept breaking when the kids would hang from the cord. :D
  I did not see a way to buy it - just a plea for donating money. 

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #65 on: December 12, 2015, 03:52:48 PM »
Some really bad advice you are giving about those of us in cold weather climates. Setting your thermostat to 35 degrees is really a bad idea. The pipes you want to keep from freezing are not in the interior of the house next to the thermostat where that temperature is measured. They are often in the basement, the attic, on the peripherary of the house or elsewhere that the temperature can be 10-20 degrees (or more) below what the thermostat is reading.

55 degrees is the lowest I would ever set mine, even with a modern well insulated house. I tried 50 once, and the pipes that feed my washer (that run through an exterior, insulated wall) froze. Thankfully they are PEX, not copper so they survived.


Wouldn't it be a lot more effective, if the pipes are in an area no where near the heat, in a space which wasn't even intended to be heated by the interior furnace, to just run some dedicated pipe heaters along the pipes, and then wrap pipe and heater together with plenty of insulation?
That's what I did when I lived in sub-freezing temperatures, and my pipes never froze, even when we traveled for 2 weeks and turned off the furnace and water heater completely.

https://www.google.com/search?q=pipe+heater&gws_rd=ssl

There's dozens of different styles and brands, they aren't that expensive, and available at all sorts of home improvement stores, I'm surprised that people who live in cold climates don't all know about them already.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #66 on: December 12, 2015, 03:56:42 PM »
Another big issue with turning your thermostat "off" is that low temperatures are not just a problem for being cold, the cause and/or aggrivate other health problems.Cold air, in addition to being cold also is dry. The colder, the dryer. Dry air causes your body, especially your skin and mucus membranes to dry out (which sounds trivial, but can lead to much bigger problems). Dry skins sounds trivial, but can lead to much bigger problems because dry skin isn't as effective at i's primary purpose: protecting your from the outside world (pathogens, etc). It can also lead to really painful (if not too dangerous things) like split heels and other skin problems.Dry air also causes problems for those with asthma and other lung issues...



Sounds like a good argument for not living in areas that get that cold.  When I was living back East, I actually had to, you know, go outdoors sometimes.  And there was no way for me to force the outside to warm up for me.  I never got skin or lung issues (even when I worked outside, 8 hours a day!!), but I suppose if I had them, I probably wouldn't have chosen to stay there for as long as I did.

Given that humans have lived in snowy climates since long before central heat was invented, I feel confident in saying that it is a luxury, not a necessity.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2015, 04:27:33 PM by Bakari »

meadow lark

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5176
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #67 on: December 13, 2015, 02:38:30 AM »
Yeah, that argument is a little ridiculous.  I live in a state that often has humidity in the single digits. Don't do any of this if you don't want to, but these are not bad ideas.

MilesTeg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #68 on: December 13, 2015, 02:04:38 PM »
Sounds like a good argument for not living in areas that get that cold.  When I was living back East, I actually had to, you know, go outdoors sometimes.  And there was no way for me to force the outside to warm up for me.  I never got skin or lung issues (even when I worked outside, 8 hours a day!!), but I suppose if I had them, I probably wouldn't have chosen to stay there for as long as I did.

Given that humans have lived in snowy climates since long before central heat was invented, I feel confident in saying that it is a luxury, not a necessity.[/size][/font]

Ever compare the general health, appearance and longevity of the average person who lived in, say the <=1800s (when central heat was very uncommon) vs now? You remind me of the anti-vax and other folks who talk about how everyone/everything was just fine and dandy without all these modern things and so clearly they serve no purpose.

This is a prime example of taking a very good concept, frugal living, to an absurd level. But to be clear, live your life as you see fit; I support that fully. Just don't begrudge others pointing out problems with your advice.

MilesTeg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #69 on: December 13, 2015, 02:09:36 PM »
Yeah, that argument is a little ridiculous.  I live in a state that often has humidity in the single digits. Don't do any of this if you don't want to, but these are not bad ideas.

What's ridiculous is the advice being given here to "turn off" your heater for no other reason than to save a few $$. Do it if you want, but don't pretend it's a reasonable thing to do barring an actual financial need.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2015, 02:12:07 PM by MilesTeg »

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #70 on: December 13, 2015, 04:07:07 PM »
Ever compare the general health, appearance and longevity of the average person who lived in, say the <=1800s (when central heat was very uncommon) vs now? You remind me of the anti-vax and other folks who talk about how everyone/everything was just fine and dandy without all these modern things and so clearly they serve no purpose.

This is a prime example of taking a very good concept, frugal living, to an absurd level. But to be clear, live your life as you see fit; I support that fully. Just don't begrudge others pointing out problems with your advice.


A whole lot has changed between 1800 and today besides central heat.
Prime among those changes is widespread availability of a balanced diet, sanitation, vaccines, and a massive decrease in homicide rates.

Your argument would work as well if we said "Ever compare the general health, appearance and longevity of the average person who lived in, say the <=1800s (when television didn't exist) vs now?"  Is that evidence that TVs increase health and longevity?

Why don't we look at what science has to say: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19115965
http://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/cool-temperature-alters-human-fat-metabolism
Or, in easier to read English: http://joshmitteldorf.scienceblog.com/2013/02/25/cold-temperature-and-life-span-its-not-about-the-rate-of-living/
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151203135832.htm

Low temperatures have been established to increase longevity in mammals, and reduce excess fat in humans.


Plenty of people will think my suggestions to ride a bike everywhere instead of drive, or to go to sleep when it gets dark, to buy less stuff or live in an RV are ridiculous too.  But those aren't questions of fact, they are matters of opinion.  You are trying to pass of your personal preference as an objective fact.  There is no objective "reasonable".

I don't begrudge you for stating your opinion, but I am certainly going to address it, since its my words you are contradicting!



MilesTeg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #71 on: December 13, 2015, 05:13:51 PM »
A whole lot has changed between 1800 and today besides central heat.
Prime among those changes is widespread availability of a balanced diet, sanitation, vaccines, and a massive decrease in homicide rates.

Your argument would work as well if we said "Ever compare the general health, appearance and longevity of the average person who lived in, say the <=1800s (when television didn't exist) vs now?"  Is that evidence that TVs increase health and longevity?

You miss my point. I was addressing your falcious argument that (paraphrased) "because thing thing has only existed for a while, it not necessary or an improvement over what was. It's just luxury."

Quote
Low temperatures have been established to increase longevity in mammals, and reduce excess fat in humans.[/font]

No, you've listed a couple of studies that provide data points with an extremely limited scope; They do not firmly establish anything. That's not how the scientific process works.

But if you like narrow scoped data points, I can list many of those:

Temperature variability tied to shorter life expectancy:
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/5/science-temperature/

Heat Waves, Cold Snaps Kill 2,000 Each Year In U.S.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/31/heat-wave-deaths-cold-extreme-weather_n_5637616.html

Deaths linked to freezing temperatures soared by 30% to 31,000 last winter: 3,000 more staff hired to prevent a repeat this year... "The 29 per cent rise in excess deaths occurred against a background of soaring gas and electricity prices, which left millions worried about whether to spend on heating or eating."
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2513719/Number-deaths-linked-freezing-winter-increases-30-31-000-temperatures-fell-record-lows.html

Winter kills: Excess Deaths in the Winter Months
She also notes that, “For every degree the temperature drops below 18C (64 degrees F), deaths in the UK go up by nearly 1.5%.”
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/06/winter-kills-excess-deaths-in-the-winter-months/


Humans are not biologically adapted to cold temperatures. We've evolved to survive in warm temperatures. We don't even bloody have fur, unlike our ape-like ancestors and cousins. We use our technology and brains to survive it (e.g. heating our homes).

Quote
Plenty of people will think my suggestions to ride a bike everywhere instead of drive, or to go to sleep when it gets dark, to buy less stuff or live in an RV are ridiculous too.  But those aren't questions of fact, they are matters of opinion.  You are trying to pass of your personal preference as an objective fact.  There is no objective "reasonable".

You are wrong, some of those suggestions (or rather, the extreme level you take some of them, such as the question of heating are objectively unreasonable in most cases. By unreasonable, I mean that you have not thought out your suggestions and have given advice that has an objective negative or disproportionately low ROI compared to the trade offs. For example, the aforementioned advice to turn your heat to levels that would cause major damage to many people's homes (or require extensive remodeling, freeze protection or other expenses that would not have a reasonable ROI compared to other uses of that money).

For example, if I were to turn my heat down to 35, that would save me about 40-50% a year in heating gas. That would mean roughly $150 a year. But, of course, that would mean I would need to buy and maintain other heating devices to protect the plumbing and structure, and buy (and/or wash more often -- good luck doing that @ 35 degrees indoor temp) more clothes, more skin care products, etc. That's, objectively unreasonable because the ROI is low, and adds significant health risks, much lower comfort, and auxiliary costs to make up for the change. An objectively better use of that money would to be invest in improvements to my house that improve its energy efficiency (costs that will be passed on to the next owner). I have already invested heavily in an energy efficient home, which is why that's a fairly low savings ($150 year). A better example would be a home that is not energy efficient. One of my childhood homes had no insulation, a 40 year old furnace, and lots of other energy efficiency problems. It cost $300+ a month in the dead of winter to heat when we first moved in. Instead of freezing the shit out of ourselves, we invested the money necessary to upgrade the furnace, install insulation, seal the foundation, etc. Not only did it lower the cost of heating by 75%, it increased the value of the home by more than the invested amount (since we did all the work -- sweatquity is awesome).

(yes, I know your thread is about no up front cost, but that in itself is an unreasonable position to start from since it forces you to make bad decisions, like turn your heat off, instead of focusing on productive uses of your time and money)

Your other suggestion, that I should just not live here and instead move to a warmer location is even more objectively unreasonable. Such a move would undoubtedly cost me far more in moving expenses, financing costs, lifetime travel expenses (to visit family, etc.), and a much higher COL (warmer places are more desirable, and therefor more expensive).

So, like I said. Go forth and be merry; Live your life as you see fit. some people get sexual pleasure from extreme pain, some people get life pleasure from pretending that turning their heat down to 35 is "badassity". To each their own.

Just don't pretend that there is no objective definition of reasonable to go by.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #72 on: December 14, 2015, 05:15:21 PM »
No, you've listed a couple of studies that provide data points with an extremely limited scope; They do not firmly establish anything. That's not how the scientific process works.
I listed two of the studies, that doesn't mean those are the only two that have found the same conclusions.


Quote
Temperature variability tied to shorter life expectancy:
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/5/science-temperature/
This link refers only to excess heat.

Quote
Heat Waves, Cold Snaps Kill 2,000 Each Year In U.S.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/31/heat-wave-deaths-cold-extreme-weather_n_5637616.html

Deaths linked to freezing temperatures soared by 30% to 31,000 last winter: 3,000 more staff hired to prevent a repeat this year... "The 29 per cent rise in excess deaths occurred against a background of soaring gas and electricity prices, which left millions worried about whether to spend on heating or eating."
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2513719/Number-deaths-linked-freezing-winter-increases-30-31-000-temperatures-fell-record-lows.html

Winter kills: Excess Deaths in the Winter Months
She also notes that, “For every degree the temperature drops below 18C (64 degrees F), deaths in the UK go up by nearly 1.5%.”
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/06/winter-kills-excess-deaths-in-the-winter-months/
None of these actually define "extreme" cold, though the implication is sub-freezing.
They also are mostly talking about variations in temperature being harmful, which could imply its better to stay one constant temperature rather than have lots of extreme changes. 
Like the extreme change one experiences going from a heated space to outdoor and back...
All of them say most of the excess deaths are due to flu, followed by pre-existing chronic conditions exacerbated by cold.

Similarly, if a particular individual is in a wheelchair, they should ignore any advice to bike instead of drive.  I didn't feel any need to make disclaimers for those where they have a particular reason to disregard any particular suggestion, but yes, if you are over 75 and have heart or lung issues, keep your heat up enough to stay comfortable.
Quote
Quote
Plenty of people will think my suggestions to ride a bike everywhere instead of drive, or to go to sleep when it gets dark, to buy less stuff or live in an RV are ridiculous too.  But those aren't questions of fact, they are matters of opinion.  You are trying to pass of your personal preference as an objective fact.  There is no objective "reasonable".

...some of those suggestions (or rather, the extreme level you take some of them)... are objectively unreasonable in most cases. By unreasonable, I mean that you have not thought out your suggestions
"thought out"?  I've actually lived them.  When I lived where it snowed, we kept the heat on just high enough that the cats water bowls stayed liquid.  When I moved back to CA I went 3 years with no heat at all.  Both were in an RV, so not a lot of insulation (although also not a huge space to fill).  Now I use some, but I still keep it below what most people consider uncomfortably cold, and make up the difference with clothes.

Quote
and have given advice that has an objective negative or disproportionately low ROI compared to the trade offs. For example, the aforementioned advice to turn your heat to levels that would cause major damage to many people's homes (or require extensive remodeling, freeze protection ...
?? If the pipes susceptible to freezing are in crawl spaces and basements and other unheated spaces, they are accessible.  If they are accessible, it does not require "extensive remodeling" to wrap a line heater and some insulation around it.  If, on the other hand, the pipes are inside the insulated walls of a heated space, then keeping it from freezing inside should protect the pipes too.

Quote
For example, if I were to turn my heat down to 35, that would save me about 40-50% a year in heating gas. That would mean roughly $150 a year.
So, again, if you personally are an outlier for whatever reason, obviously you should ignore the parts that don't apply to you.
You apparently spend 1/10th what the typical American in a cold state spends ($2-3000 a year, vs your claimed $300).

Quote
But, of course, that would mean I would need to buy and maintain other heating devices to protect the plumbing and structure,
about $1 per foot, maybe $100 or so...

Quote
and buy (and/or wash more often -- good luck doing that @ 35 degrees indoor temp) more clothes,
Layers.  You don't need to wash the exterior layers very often, and you would change the interior layers anyway.  If you ever leave the house, you already own coats and hats and such.

Quote
It cost $300+ a month in the dead of winter to heat when we first moved in. Instead of freezing the shit out of ourselves, we invested the money necessary to upgrade the furnace, install insulation, seal the foundation, etc. Not only did it lower the cost of heating by 75%, it increased the value of the home by more than the invested amount (since we did all the work -- sweatquity is awesome).
Well that is fantastic!  It would be ideal if everyone both would and could do the same.

Quote
(yes, I know your thread is about no up front cost, but that in itself is an unreasonable position to start from
You have the luxury to afford a massive upfront cost.  Not everyone does.  Some people are renters.  Some live in RVs.  Some own, but have no liquid capital left over for the cost of a new high efficiency furnace, taking down walls to add insulation, etc.  Some buildings have no crawlspace and/or no attic, in which case there is no way to seal the foundation or add insulation in the ceiling.
While weather proofing is unquestionably the best option, if it isn't an available option it isn't particularly helpful. 

Quote
Your other suggestion, that I should just not live here and instead move to a warmer location is even more objectively unreasonable. Such a move would undoubtedly cost me far more in moving expenses, financing costs, lifetime travel expenses (to visit family, etc.)
To you.  If it isn't reasonable for you, its ok to not take it.  I didn't write this specifically for MilesTeg.  The relative costs of housing (some people are renters), moving (some people don't have lots of stuff), travel (not everyone currently lives near people they feel a need to visit frequently), are highly individual.  So what is "reasonable" for you is still not objective fact.


I find it odd that you have a total of 6 posts, and 5 of them are here, complaining on the Mr Money Mustache forum that some random guys suggested way to use less energy is "objectively" too extreme.
What is your goal here?  Are you afraid that thousands of people are going to read this and try it, regardless of their personal circumstances, and die?  Is this some sort of defensive counter-attack because you feel guilty for spending 300 a month on heating in your past?  Did you sign up for the forum just to troll me?

NinetyFour

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7075
  • Location: Southwestern US
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #73 on: December 14, 2015, 05:27:08 PM »
I love your ideas, Bakari.

I am sitting at home with the thermostat set to the usual 54 degrees.  I am wearing SmartWool socks, warm cotton pants, a turtleneck, a t-shirt, a wool scarf, a Buff (around my neck), a Turtle Fur hat, and a fleece jacket.  I am drinking hot tea and am quite comfortable.

Yesterday, I briefly turned the heat up to 58 degrees.  I forgot to turn it down when I went to bed.  Woke up during the night (under a down comforter and a cotton quilt) and was hot!!

Anyway, thanks so much for all these great suggestions.  Too bad you are getting so much pushback.  :(

MilesTeg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #74 on: December 14, 2015, 09:28:21 PM »
I listed two of the studies, that doesn't mean those are the only two that have found the same conclusions.

Again you miss the point. Citing a couple internet articles (either way) does nothing to establish any position. It's not how the scientific process works.

Quote
"thought out"?  I've actually lived them.  When I lived where it snowed, we kept the heat on just high enough that the cats water bowls stayed liquid.  When I moved back to CA I went 3 years with no heat at all.  Both were in an RV, so not a lot of insulation (although also not a huge space to fill).  Now I use some, but I still keep it below what most people consider uncomfortably cold, and make up the difference with clothes.

Obviously you did not think them out, regardless of your claims to having lived them. If you had thought them out, you would not have suggested lowering temps in your house to levels that would require significant upfront costs to freeze protect the structure in a thread talking about saving energy with no upfront cost.

Quote
?? If the pipes susceptible to freezing are in crawl spaces and basements and other unheated spaces, they are accessible.  If they are accessible, it does not require "extensive remodeling" to wrap a line heater and some insulation around it.  If, on the other hand, the pipes are inside the insulated walls of a heated space, then keeping it from freezing inside should protect the pipes too.

You don't seem to understand temperature gradients or how insulation works. Just because the house, near the thermostat is @ 35 degrees, this does not mean the entire house is that temperature, and certainly does not mean that exterior, walls (insulated or not) are that temperature. Insulation, whether it's in a wall or in a coat, isn't a magic heating device; and, it does not maintain the same temperature of whatever it's insulating (its always less or more depending on whether its insulating from cold or heat). You're suggestion WILL lead to exterior walls, insulated or not, dropping to freezing temperatures in places where the outside temperature drops below freezing for sustained periods (days, weeks or months). If there are water pipes in that wall, which is common, they WILL  freeze.

Hell, in places I've lived I had to freeze protect interior plumbing (e.g. under a sink) because the temperature gradient in a house (insulated & heated in the 50s/60s) left those areas @ freezing temperatures.

And, freeze protecting plumbing for exterior walls is not as simple as applying heat tape, you'd have to move the pipes. A pipe heater should never be used in an enclosed space, especially if it's an insulated space (it's a fire hazard, and against most municipalities building codes).

So, what about moving the pipe? I'd have to:

* rip out ~two stories of wall around the pipe in TWO locations (to move the pipe to a different wall/path up the building).
* rip up a carpet, pad and subfloor to route the pipe to the laundry room again (and/or more walls and more PEX).
* buy probably 100' (accounting for both hot and cold) of new PEX + fittings + tools (not cheap)
* possibly have to reroute other things and/or use even more PEX
* replacement insulation, rent/buy other misc tools that I don't currently own, drywall, paint & other finishing materials, etc. Probably also have to replace something I would likely damage beyond repair.

That's certainly not an insignificant up front cost, and it's almost certainly not the only thing I would have to modify to properly freeze protect the structure. (there are at least a 10 water feeds in exterior walls). For example, I would still have to run heat pipe on the PEX running in non-enclosed spaces, and find some way to freeze protect the drainage systems (I, for one, prefer that my toilet can actually flush), and ironically, the furnace (the condensate will freeze and cause problems, like a frozen blower motor). It could end up costing me thousands of dollars in just materials; 10s of thousands if I had a contractor do it (like most people would need).

Objectively, that would be a stupid thing to do; it could easily cost me several decades to see a return (probably never if I had a contractor do it). And, the up front investment I would require would add 0 value to my house (actually, it would probably reduce the value), vs. spending that money on weather proofing.

Now, while the above is fairly specific to me, it's also very common to have pipes running through or near exterior walls, and other places where temperatures can be well below the main portion of the house (as well as other things that may need freeze protection).

Quote
So, again, if you personally are an outlier for whatever reason, obviously you should ignore the parts that don't apply to you.
You apparently spend 1/10th what the typical American in a cold state spends ($2-3000 a year, vs your claimed $300).

I'm an "outlier" because I chose a reasonable path toward energy efficiency. First and formost, I have

1.) a small (by American standards) house with
2.) decent insulation and other weather proofing
3.) and don't attempt to heat my house to summer temps in the winter (nor do I drop them to stupid levels).

As far as cost...

Quote
(yes, I know your thread is about no up front cost, but that in itself is an unreasonable position to start from
You have the luxury to afford a massive upfront cost.  Not everyone does.  Some people are renters.  Some live in RVs.  Some own, but have no liquid capital left over for the cost of a new high efficiency furnace, taking down walls to add insulation, etc.  Some buildings have no crawlspace and/or no attic, in which case there is no way to seal the foundation or add insulation in the ceiling.
While weather proofing is unquestionably the best option, if it isn't an available option it isn't particularly helpful. 
[/quote]

Most of the gains are from insulation, which is has a very low up front cost (if you do the labor) and and EXTREMELY high ROI. With a typical, frugal size house (<= 750 foot of footprint), I can insulate an attic with <$200 + sweatquity and enough balance to crawl on a set of 2x4s. You can insulate an average, non McMansion house, exterior walls for about $3-500 as well (with DIY + some low effort deal shopping -- depends a LOT on your house config). No, it doesn't require ripping walls down, you blow the insulation in through a small hole.

The roof insulation will have a positive ROI of a couple months (most heat escapes up; see: physics). The wall insulation will take longer, but is still only a few months worth of heating cost (not massive like you claim).

You can do other really cheap weatherproofing of your house. For example, if you can't afford two pane windows, you can get (better) benefits by using wool (or other heavy cloth) for window/door covering (probably $10-15 worth of _new_ bulk wool + some basic sewing abilities for a reasonable, small house) and/or use plastic wrap as a temporary insulation barrier similar to multi-pane windows ($1 per average window).

Foam insulation to seal the joints and cracks in your foundation is dirt cheap ( sealed mine with < $5 + a couple hours sweatquity, not even bothering to find the best cost for the stuff). Used inter-tubes to better seal your doors is free.

Quote
To you.  If it isn't reasonable for you, its ok to not take it.  I didn't write this specifically for MilesTeg.  The relative costs of housing (some people are renters), moving (some people don't have lots of stuff), travel (not everyone currently lives near people they feel a need to visit frequently), are highly individual.  So what is "reasonable" for you is still not objective fact.

You don't seem to understand what the word "objective" means. I have given you many objective (i.e. not based on personal bias) reasons why *some* of your advice (as originally given) here is poor. You are giving a piece of advice that will cost more (in energy, time, as well as other things) than it can possibly save.

I'm not saying *everything* you suggest is bad, or that someone must take it all or nothing. I'm simply saying *this* suggestion is bad for people who live in places where it actually gets cold (which is a big demographic).

Quote
I find it odd that you have a total of 6 posts, and 5 of them are here, complaining on the Mr Money Mustache forum that some random guys suggested way to use less energy is "objectively" too extreme.
What is your goal here?  Are you afraid that thousands of people are going to read this and try it, regardless of their personal circumstances, and die?  Is this some sort of defensive counter-attack because you feel guilty for spending 300 a month on heating in your past?  Did you sign up for the forum just to troll me?

Everyone starts somewhere when they start participating in a community. If they are like me, they don't necessarily start contributing the moment they arrive.

So, how about we avoid crass personal attacks like the above, and stick to some civil conversation?

I have not, nor will I make disparaging comments about you or question your motives like in your above. All I am doing it what you explicitly solicited in this thread: giving you feedback.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 10:20:07 PM by MilesTeg »

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4946
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #75 on: December 15, 2015, 05:09:25 AM »
I love your ideas, Bakari.

I am sitting at home with the thermostat set to the usual 54 degrees.  I am wearing SmartWool socks, warm cotton pants, a turtleneck, a t-shirt, a wool scarf, a Buff (around my neck), a Turtle Fur hat, and a fleece jacket.  I am drinking hot tea and am quite comfortable.

Yesterday, I briefly turned the heat up to 58 degrees.  I forgot to turn it down when I went to bed.  Woke up during the night (under a down comforter and a cotton quilt) and was hot!!

Anyway, thanks so much for all these great suggestions.  Too bad you are getting so much pushback.  :(


He's not getting a lot of pushback if you measure by numbers of people, just a lot from one guy.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #76 on: December 15, 2015, 09:15:02 AM »
Miles, in this last response it seems you don't even disagree with my real point (even though you have missed it), you are just obsessing over that one number.


As I wrote earlier on this same page, when someone else thought my suggestion was too cold:


"... We used heat 24/7 (after the freezing issues), but still kept it below around 40 or so and dressed appropriately.So, maybe 40s is too low for most normal Americans.  50, 55, whatever - yall are still missing the point: when you do use the heat, you don't need to heat it up to outdoor summer temperatures.  There are choices in between "off" and "72".  Dress the way you would if you were outside - where ever you are - and the heat doesn't have to go nearly so high to be comfortable, and you lower both your heat bill and your environmental footprint at the same time."
Quote
I'm an "outlier" because I chose a reasonable path toward energy efficiency. First and formost, I have

1.) a small (by American standards) house with
2.) decent insulation and other weather proofing
3.) and don't attempt to heat my house to summer temps in the winter (nor do I drop them to stupid levels).


That, right there, is my point.  Steps one and two are great things to do, but not with in everyone's immediate means.  Anyone can do 3 at any time with no effort.  The typical "energy saving advice" suggests setting heat at about 70. 

Take my suggestion as "set your thermostat so that the temperature at the pipes in your exterior wall is about 35".  That should still be a lot less than 70.  Most people set their thermostats based on comfort while wearing indoor casual clothes.  That's the mindset I'm trying to challenge. 




Quote
*some* of your advice (as originally given) here is poor. You are giving a piece of advice that will cost more (in energy, time, as well as other things) than it can possibly save.
You keep saying its multiple things, but the only example you have in the thermostat.  What else do you think is objectively wrong?



Quote
Everyone starts somewhere when they start participating in a community. If they are like me, they don't necessarily start contributing the moment they arrive.
Yes, but most people don't start out in a new community by spending all their time telling another community member how wrong they are.

Quote
So, how about we avoid crass personal attacks like the above, and stick to some civil conversation?

I have not, nor will I make disparaging comments about you or question your motives like in your above. All I am doing it what you explicitly solicited in this thread: giving you feedback.


I don't see any of that as a personal attack.  Sorry if it came across that way.  It fits the pattern of an internet troll, but I figured there must be another explanation cause you don't write like a troll.  I just don't get your motivation for so much focus on discrediting this one very specific number is this very specific thread. 

Since you agree that many people turn the heat up to an "unreasonable" degree, why don't you share what you think is the objectively correct number to set it too?

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6396
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #77 on: December 21, 2015, 03:18:18 PM »
NJ isn't really cold either.

Source: Someone who grew up in northern NH and now lives in NJ. :P

I have a house in Phoenix and when I was there, I did try to hold off on the heat as long as reasonably possible - but I'm not nearly as dedicated as a lot of you guys. If it was in the low 50's inside, the heat went on.


I suppose someone in antarctica could claim NH isn't really cold, and someone living on Nepute would say antarctica is nice and toasty, but where I was it would dip into single digits (Fahrenheit) outside, and by human standards, that's pretty dang cold.  We used heat 24/7 (after the freezing issues), but still kept it below around 40 or so and dressed appropriately.


So, maybe 40s is too low for most normal Americans.  50, 55, whatever - yall are still missing the point: when you do use the heat, you don't need to heat it up to outdoor summer temperatures.  There are choices in between "off" and "72".  Dress the way you would if you were outside - where ever you are - and the heat doesn't have to go nearly so high to be comfortable, and you lower both your heat bill and your environmental footprint at the same time.


 Incidentally, it's not really so much that I don't understand cold because I live in CA.  More like I live in CA because I didn't care for living somewhere where I couldn't just be comfortable year round without having to do anything or think about it.  Honestly, I don't know why people live in places that aren't hospitable for human life (for more than a few months, just to see what its like).
Then again, that's exactly why our real estate is so gosh darn expensive - everyone wants to live here, because it isn't NH, and you can feasibly go all winter without using any heat.
Until recently I was a renter, and I wanted to discourage people from moving here and driving up rents and home prices, but now that I'm finally an owner, by all means, come join the party Mustachians, the weather is way better here, and you'll find lots of like-minded friends!

I saw -33f in NH.  If you dress the way you are outside, wtf is the point of having a house? Go live in a tent and save tons of money!

Antarctica has zero permanent residents...nice try, though. I grew up in a house where rooms were walled off with heavy blankets in doorways so we only had to heat the rooms we were using, and I remember thawing pipes under the kitchen sink with a hair dryer because they had frozen. I think a lot of the pushback you're getting is because you have no concept of what it's like in really cold places. :P

As you said, the general principal is sound - you don't need 72f inside. I don't know anyone who keeps their houses that warm, but I'm sure they are out there.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 03:21:34 PM by JLee »

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #78 on: December 22, 2015, 08:57:36 AM »
I saw -33f in NH.  If you dress the way you are outside, wtf is the point of having a house? Go live in a tent and save tons of money!
Well, if it is -33 outside, and 35-40 inside, you could shed a whole lot of gear while inside compaled to outside and still be comfortable!
Of course there are also other benefits to living indoors (which is why people in warm climates live in houses too)


Quote
Antarctica has zero permanent residents...nice try, though. I grew up in a house where rooms were walled off with heavy blankets in doorways so we only had to heat the rooms we were using, and I remember thawing pipes under the kitchen sink with a hair dryer because they had frozen. I think a lot of the pushback you're getting is because you have no concept of what it's like in really cold places. :P
As I mentioned earlier in the thread, I've had to deal with frozen pipes too.  Yup, hair dryer.  After that I learned about line heaters and didn't have that problem again. 
I've been suggesting using just enough heat to avoid freezing indoor pipes.  Water freezes at the same temperature whether it is -33 outside or 0 or 28.  So I'm not sure why being "really cold" is really relevant.  If anything, it should just make a person more adapted to the cold, so that even 35-40 feels dramatically warmer than outside, if the outside is in negative temperatures.

Quote
As you said, the general principal is sound - you don't need 72f inside. I don't know anyone who keeps their houses that warm, but I'm sure they are out there.


Just about every energy guide out there recommends" lowering" one's thermostat TO 68.  Which very strongly implies that the default for American's is a least a little bit more than 68.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6396
Re: My Guide to Saving Lots of Energy - with little to no up-front investment
« Reply #79 on: December 22, 2015, 09:58:22 AM »
I saw -33f in NH.  If you dress the way you are outside, wtf is the point of having a house? Go live in a tent and save tons of money!
Well, if it is -33 outside, and 35-40 inside, you could shed a whole lot of gear while inside compaled to outside and still be comfortable!
Of course there are also other benefits to living indoors (which is why people in warm climates live in houses too)


Quote
Antarctica has zero permanent residents...nice try, though. I grew up in a house where rooms were walled off with heavy blankets in doorways so we only had to heat the rooms we were using, and I remember thawing pipes under the kitchen sink with a hair dryer because they had frozen. I think a lot of the pushback you're getting is because you have no concept of what it's like in really cold places. :P
As I mentioned earlier in the thread, I've had to deal with frozen pipes too.  Yup, hair dryer.  After that I learned about line heaters and didn't have that problem again. 
I've been suggesting using just enough heat to avoid freezing indoor pipes.  Water freezes at the same temperature whether it is -33 outside or 0 or 28.  So I'm not sure why being "really cold" is really relevant.  If anything, it should just make a person more adapted to the cold, so that even 35-40 feels dramatically warmer than outside, if the outside is in negative temperatures.

Quote
As you said, the general principal is sound - you don't need 72f inside. I don't know anyone who keeps their houses that warm, but I'm sure they are out there.


Just about every energy guide out there recommends" lowering" one's thermostat TO 68.  Which very strongly implies that the default for American's is a least a little bit more than 68.

It's relevant because going from mid 30's in the day and briefly touching single digits at night is a lot different than sustained sub-zero temperatures (when something goes from not freezing to freezing, it takes a while for the temperature to adjust and then it warms up again the next morning, vs being well under freezing temperatures without a break for weeks on end). As mentioned earlier, not all spaces in houses are as warm as the area immediately next to the thermostat.