Heated Clothing Update

I’ve been a long‑time advocate of heated clothing – for me it is the best way to keep warm inside your home over winter.  However, through my own personal testing, and feedback from others, I’ve found that a heated garment may not work too well if it is worn incorrectly.

In particular, if a heated garment is worn as the outer layer over thick jumpers etc it will very likely add no perceptible warmth for the user.  The heat is unlikely to penetrate through the other clothes to reach the person’s body and much of the heat energy will simply be lost to the atmosphere.

My rules for wearing heated clothing are: i) wear the heated garment as close as possible to your skin but not in direct contact (eg put on over thermal underwear); ii) get a garment of the right size – it needs to fit nice and snugly so that effective heat conduction can take place; and iii) place one or two layers over the heated garment (eg jumper, dressing gown) so that its heat is trapped in the clothing.

Over the past two winters I’ve been wearing a heated vest which very nicely meets my criteria: i) it has a clever method for size adjustment and so it can be made to fit close to the body; and ii) it is very supple and thin so it doesn’t inhibit the wearing of other layers of clothing.

My Adjustable Size Heated Vest

Working on our indirect carbon footprint – bidets

As I’ve indicated earlier, this year I’m trying to reduce both our direct and indirect carbon footprints. One of my first projects for 2020 has been to reduce our indirect carbon footprint through reducing our family use of toilet paper. While the initial inspiration has been the somewhat puzzling hoarding of toilet paper throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I see this as a simple but worthwhile small project. Globally the use of toilet paper is a major environmental problem that can be simply addressed by replacing ‘wiping’ with ‘washing’.

I plan on publishing more detailed reports in due course, but after trialing different types of bidets we have ended up with a simple, but highly effective, bidet on both of the toilets in our house.

The bidet has simply replaced our original toilet seat. Very unobtrusive.
The simple operating lever.

It is too early at this stage to quantify our carbon gains but I am confident our gains will not be insignificant. Putting aside our carbon footprint, and without going into details, I can say that using a bidet is a delight – you feel so much cleaner.

2019 Household Carbon Footprint Report

Today I have released my 2019 Carbon Footprint Report which forms a part of our ‘Fossil Fuel Free Family’ project. In this report I show how we reached ‘net zero emissions’ in 2019 by managing our carbon emissions (both our direct and indirect footprints) through the use of carbon credits. I have claimed credits for solar PV electricity exported and carbon offsets which I purchased specifically to reach our ‘net zero emissions’ goal for the year. I intend that from here we will be ‘net zero’ each year.

You can download the footprint Report from here.

Alternatively, you can view an embedded version of the Report by using the interface below.

2019 Annual Report

This is my fourth Annual Report for our energy transition project.  2019 was essentially a year of consolidation.  A lot of time and effort was taken up in changing our house over from single to three-phase electricity so that we can add more solar PV to our roof in 2020.  The highlight of the year for me was us getting a second generation EV – the new (40kWh) Nissan Leaf.  After 6 months this is looking like a great move and should enable us to make some significant energy/carbon savings.

You can download the 2019 Annual Report from here.

You can view an embedded version of the report below.

We have a new Leaf !

Leaf31We bought a generation 2 (40kWh battery) Leaf a few weeks ago. This has far surpassed my expectations – it is a very big step up from our earlier Leaf. Sad to see our lovely little blue car go after 5+ years but the replacement is better in almost every way. We are now able to do some much longer fossil fuel free trips. So many things to like but I think I most appreciate the way Nissan has incorporated regen driving into the new car.

I have written an article about our first weekend road trip in the new Leaf.  This was published on The Driven.

2018 Annual Report

This is my third Annual Report for our energy transition project. 2018 was a special year as it was the first full year where we had our Tesla Powerwall 2 in place – this made a big difference! We are now getting much closer to our Fossil Fuel Free goal: in 2018 90% of our electricity came from our solar PV system (60% direct; 30% via the battery (and 10% from the grid)). About 98% of our hot water energy use was from solar PV and about 90% of our EV energy use was from solar.

Petrol is the area where we now need to focus – unfortunately we’re not going to achieve any great reduction in our transport carbon footprint until we are able to buy a new generation EV.  Where are they?

You can download the 2018 Annual Report from here.

You can view an embedded version of the report below.

Amazing Low Power Heater

In the past two weeks I’ve acquired a brilliant personal heater. A heated hoodie. This is a beautifully made garment; lovely and soft and comfortable to wear indoors. Most importantly it only uses about 10W to give amazing warmth. It has three heating panels – one at the back and two in the front (see image). It far surpasses other heated clothing I have tested. I certainly find no need to have a heater on in a room when I’m wearing this. I bought it @ https://www.zarkie.com.au/product/evolve-heated-hoodie-grey/
heated hoodie

2017 Annual Report – Our Energy Transition

I have just released my Annual Report for 2017. In many ways 2017 was a year of consolidation – we made steady but not spectacular progress toward our fossil fuel free goal. The major step forward in 2017 was the installation of a Tesla Powerwall 2 in September. This is going to be a game changer! In the five months which we have had it in place only about 3% of our electricity has come from the grid. We will not achieve this for the whole of year 2018 but I think we may come close if we add more solar PV.

You can download the 2017 Annual Report from here.

Our Warm Low Energy Winter

I have just completed my report on our home heating experience over a somewhat cold 2017 Canberra winter.  This year for the first time we did not heat our home over winter.  We heated ourselves.  We kept nicely warm and made some very impressive energy savings.

You can view an embedded version of the report in the window below – you can also download the report from the bottom of  the window.

More Work on Far Infrared (FIR) Heating

Over the first three months of this year I’ve been been delving further into FIR heating.

I have produced a short document which describes what I have been doing.


This document covers two topics. First of all, I talk about a very simple ‘poster’ FIR heater which I have imported from Europe: it weighs about 400g and rolls up just like a poster – this is a very interesting device. For some time now I’ve been thinking about how to improve the temperature control of FIR heaters – in the second part of the document I describe my testing of two potential controllers.