The lowest the thermostat would go was 45 degrees, which I figured was good because I had to make sure the pipes wouldn’t freeze. At first it was fairly unpleasant. I wore two pairs of wool socks, thermal underwear, a thin pair of pants, sweatpants, a wool shirt, a sweatshirt, a light hoodie, a light jacket, a big poofy winter jacket, two winter hats and those fingerless gloves. Yet I was still having trouble typing because of my numb hands. That’s when I pulled out my down sleeping bag, and decided to wear it whenever I was sitting. With the sleeping bag, now that my core had been warmed, my extremities were warming up, too....Here at Grim's Hall, there is no bottom to the thermostat. We shut the heat off when we moved in, and don't turn it on but a few days a year. If the temperature is going to get very low, I shut off the water from the well, open the taps so the pipes can't burst, and let the house freeze.
I’m not going to say that I liked living in a 45-degree house, but eventually I didn’t mind it, and it taught me that one’s sense of comfort can be redefined with a bit of grit and resourcefulness. Sitting in my sleeping bag, I began to wonder: If we all set our thermostats to our own “comfortable low,” how many West Virginia mountains could we save? How many fewer wells would need to be fracked? How much less greenhouse gas would we emit?
Doesn't hurt anything. When the temperature gets down low enough to be genuinely dangerous -- say the teens -- we all move into the room with the wood stove, tarp it off with blankets, and sleep snugly. The rest of the time, if you're cold you need to work. There's always work to do.