Saturday, May 11, 2013

In praise of window-blankets

One of the things about a passive solar house, is that you need to make sure that the solar energy (heat) that you collect through your north-facing windows during the day, doesn't escape when the outside temperature drops in the evening. If you have money, you can get double, or even triple-glazed windows. If you're doing things on the cheapity-cheap, however, and found-on-the-side-of-the-road-2nd-hand-windows are more in your budget range, then you need to go to a plan B. Heavy curtains with pelmets are usually prescribed, but lining curtains can be expensive. We also wanted a solution that meant that the maximum amount of glass was open for heat-transfer during the day - we didn't want bunches of curtain at the sides of our windows, blocking out bits of heat. And then Pearl reported "something she'd seen somewhere" that was like a big curtain quilt, which was rolled up and hooked in the morning. Effectively, you end up with a rolled 'swag' kind of thing at the top of the window during the day, and your windows (and your toasty, solar-warmed rooms) are protected by nice big thick window quilts and blankets at night. Snug!
Patchwork-quilt 'swag' at the top of our french doors - lets through the maximum amount of light/heat during the day, keeps the cold out and heat in during the night
So far, we're thrilled with the results! The window-blankets were made using whatever we had to hand - old blankets, a patchwork quilt that was the perfect size for our french doors, and some beautiful beautiful doilies and appliques sent to us in a spectacular package from our friend Nicole.
And they're doing a fab-o job of keeping in the warmth, too.
We toyed with the idea of getting a small wood heater, earlier in the year. But when we did the measurements, we realised that we'd lose almost 2 square metres of floor space. Now, I'm sure there will be nights and rainy days this winter when we'll be longing for a bit of extra warmth. But I'm also sure that during the 10 months of the year when we don't need a fire, we'd be longing for the space inside our little house. So we made the call and decided to save the money, and the floor space, and just get some more jumpers and blankets to see us through the winter. She'll be right mate! But what it means is that our window-blankets and that solar energy we collect on our earth floor all through the day, are going to be super-precious as the days and nights get cooler. 
The kids' window
Many locals are still thinking we're a bit mad, living without any heating (other than the sun) through a Bega  winter, but we have faith in the sun, and we have faith in our bales and we now have faith in our window-blankets and extra jumpers and long underwear. Let's see how we go, shall we?
Lined double-blanket. It's also a nice way to show off bloody beautiful blankets like this one


  1. Yay, for the window quilt. We use them even on our double glazed windows. True. We burn less wood that way and keep the temperature more stable. We don't have the excellent insulation that straw bale offers....retrofitting a 50's modernist box in the Blue Mountains, there was/is never enough's small, at least. Your quilts are more colourful/inventive than what we are using.. grey army blankets. Not as pretty but they work.

    I've really enjoyed your blog over the summer. Just wonderful! Always pleased to visit. (as it were) Thanks.


  2. Hi Nada, thanks so much for taking the time to write such lovely words. Glad to hear the window blankets are working well for you too. And so glad to hear you enjoy "visiting" our little space.

    All the best x

  3. Looks lovely! Can't wait to visit sometime soon(ish). xoxoxoxox