Putting on a sweater used to be a big deal; they even had competitions about it. Now, according to the WWF, it's National Sweater Day! They are calling on people to " put on a fun sweater and turn down the thermostats", and to "think differently about how we use energy, where our energy comes from and how we can play an important role in tackling climate change." It's actually the Canadian branch of the WWF, but it's time to go international. Why? Here's a roundup of our stories about sweaters.
Putting on a sweater should be part of everybody's energy saving strategy. There is real science behind it:
Insulating Your Body Is Cheaper And More Effective Than Insulating Your Home
Jimmy Carter was right; when it is cold, the first thing you should do is put on a sweater. Kris de Decker explains:
Insulation of the body is much more energy efficient than insulation of the space in which this body finds itself. Insulating the body only requires a small layer of air to be heated, while a heating system has to warm all the air in a room to achieve the same result.
Kris goes into the math, introducing the "clo", which "equals the thermal insulation required to keep a resting person (for instance, a couch potato) indefinitely comfortable at a temperature of 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit)
So how many Clo can you go? More: Insulating Your Body Is Cheaper And More Effective Than Insulating Your Home
In praise of the Dumb Home
Why a smart sweater set is better than a smart thermostat.
Another problem with the smart thermostat: people no longer put on such smart sweater sets like Patti Page used to wear. As Steve Mouzon has noted, "because we are too lazy to put on a sweater or take off a jacket, we have let the thermostat and the mechanical engineer behind it change the way we make buildings." A smart thermostat might actually increase the energy used, not because it drops the temperature when you are not home, but because it increases it while you are there, when you could in fact get just as comfortable by putting on a smart looking sweater.
A Stripey Sweater Fights Peak Oil, Proves Jimmy Carter Right... and Wrong (Video)
So what the heck could a rather nasty stripey sweater (sorry fellow Brits, really I mean jumper!) have to do with getting us off fossil fuels? Sami explains all.
Of course any mention of a sweater and sustainability here in the US will inevitably evoke sneering remarks about Jimmy Carter. And I think there are lessons to be learned from this vidwo on that front too. Because Jimmy Carter was 100% right—clothing is the first line of defense in an effective insulation strategy—and he was 100% wrong, in that an overly earnest approach to sustainability will leave it doomed to the sidelines.