Lowering your thermostat in the winter by 10-15 degrees for 8 hours per day reduces energy bills by 5-15%; decreasing air conditioner use in the summer has a similar effect. It is possible to take advantage of saving both energy and money without sacrificing your individual thermal comfort, using some simple tips and getting creative with your wardrobe.
A small investment in a programmable thermostat will go a long way in reducing your heating and cooling needs without any daily effort. Simply program the thermostat to run less while you are away or asleep and run more frequently when you are at home and awake.
Whether at home or at work, the type of clothing that you wear during the summer and winter has a lot to do with your overall indoor comfort level.
- Moisture tends to evaporate from the skin, creating a natural cooling effect. In conjunction with light, sleeveless, loose-fitting clothing, this evaporative process will help keep you cool during the summer.
- During the summer, if you are sensitive to subtle drafts, keep a light sweater at your desk.
- The evaporative cooling effect that works to your benefit in the summer can work to your disadvantage in the winter when you are trying to stay warm. So if you want to be more comfortable in the winter, it only makes sense to keep as much skin covered as possible, thereby reducing the evaporation rate, and creating a thermal barrier.
- Dressing in layers during the winter traps air between the layers of clothing. Trapped air is a good insulator. During periods of increased indoor physical activity, layers of clothing can be shed to keep you from becoming too warm.
One must keep in mind that even with these practical suggestions, individual thermal comfort is and always will be a subjective perception.