Since the start of this really cold winter, and because I’m working from home quite a bit at the moment, my attention has turned to the most efficient and lowest carbon solutions to heating my (rather small) home-office environment. This has been especially the case as, up until now, I have used my central heating system to keep warm, which seems a little crazy given I spend 90% of the time in one small portion of the house, but am heating the whole thing.
I monitor my energy use on a monthly basis (being a bit of a data geek at heart), so was a little taken aback when I saw how much my gas usage and bill was for December. Compared to the December before (2009), I had used almost a 1/3rd more gas (see graph below)! Albeit the weather was colder in December 2010 compared to the year before, but still, the increase seemed unacceptably high. Interestingly though, my electricity usage had not changed a jot.
I had been considering buying a small electric heater, or a halogen model, but the cost of going down that route would potentially be comparable to my (efficient A+ condensing) gas boiler system, and the carbon emissions would be much higher, so that wasn’t really my ideal solution.
Rugging up is an option that I had already employed, but its amazing how cold you get sitting still for a extended period. I was ending up typing with my gloves on during the chilliest days, and that was with the heating on!
But recently I came across what seems like a perfect, if not exactly cheap, solution! A portable bio-ethanol fuelled heater. The company claim that the bio-ethanol comes totally from a by-product of organic waste. The fuel apparently also does not smell or release any smoke.
I say ‘apparently’ as I am currently awaiting delivery so cannot report on its efficacy or ponginess-rating yet. But I’m very much looking forward to receiving it and testing out its claims.
Its not a cheap option though! The bottles, 1 litre size, are about a fiver a throw, and I litre will last around 4 hours apparently. So I’m hoping I will be able to use it briefly and intermittently throughout the day to warm the room up, and hopefully the bottle will last me a few days at least. I’ll report back on the typical cost to run it in due course.
The other plus is that it is quite a stylish looking object, and gives off a living flame that does much psychologically to keep you warm!
I will not post a link to the product yet, just in case it turns out to be a bit of a (expensive) dud, but watch this space for updates in my quest for cosy, carbon neutral heating.