Monday, September 26, 2011

Turning down the heat and staying warm.

Fall is upon us!
Or at least the leaves are turning my favourite colours and it's starting to cool down here in Tampere (& Helsinki), Finland. The wind has gotten slightly more aggressive than I remember it being, and wearing multiple layers is a must for keeping warm.

As an inhabitant of the world's second coldest country after Russia (according to some sources, and 5th according to others...tomato - tomato) and a Canadian citizen, I know a thing or two about keeping warm. Though I have to admit, I'm one of those people whose hands are always cold and rarely feel warm and toasty.

Now, I wanted to blog today about the upcoming cold weather, and how we can manage to keep our impact down. In some countries, keeping the heat off is just out of the question, and that's okay, but keeping the heat a few degrees lower is quite doable.

Regardless of where you live, take a bit of time to calculate how much a few degrees less will save you on your energy bill.

Which brings me to my next point: what kind of energy is being used to heat your home?
This has been a much-debated (if you can call it that) topic in our house since I still don't know. I know we have some sort of green energy agreement with our provider, wherein the amount we used is purchased from green sources (whatever that means, it sounds better than the mainstream) but I can't even remember if this is water, electricity or heating... so I need to get my homework on. (The language barrier makes doing my own research slightly more challenging but now that I've told all of you I'm going to do it, that'll give me the push I need.)

So apart from the supply and demand side of heat, what else can you do to keep warm?

1. Throw on a sweater.
Sounds very simple... and it is. We each have our own comfy sweaters, some that we only wear at home, that give us that warm and toasty feeling. Next time you find yourself shivering, grab your sweater instead of heading for the thermostat.

2. Make yourself a pot of coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
I remember getting home on a cold winter nights (around -25C) and feeling the cold in my bones. No matter how many layers you throw on, no sweater can seem to warm you up on the inside. On those nights, a nice cup of hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate will do the trick.

Sweater - check
Tea - check

3. Cuddle.
This doesn't have to be a romantic thing, but it can be. Pinguins do it! But you can also spend more time under the covers in your bed, or reading in your favourite armchair/on your favourite couch with a warm blanket.

In addition, I stumbled across this really insirational blog post about how Japanese people deal with the cold during winter. I had no idea... the concept is really amazing. The post itself is a guest post on the No Impact Man blog, written by Colin Beavan's friend Sean Sakamoto. Click any where on this paragraph to read it.

If you have more suggestions, I'm excited to hear them so please feel free to leave a comment!


  1. Do some sit-ups. You'll get warm and get some exercise ;)

  2. That's an awesome suggestion! Thanks Emppu :)