Clothing as adaptive strategy… #WarmAsToastUOW

Wollongong’s unseasonably warm weather in the past couple of weeks belies the official start of winter this weekend. While we’ve been enjoying the sun, some of us in AUSCCER – and the Faculty of Business and Sustainable Building Research Centre – have also been preparing to research how people keep warm at home, and what this means for energy efficiency. Warm as Toast will also seek community input via Twitter on how you keep warm on cold days – so please reply if you see our tweets at #WarmAsToastUOW.

In terms of keeping warm at work, here we revisit Lesley Head’s piece on the adaptive and creative winter warming practices of AUSCCER staff from 2012. We still work in the same offices, so it’ll be fun to see what people’s wardrobes offer this year! 

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@anadejong

@anadejong

July is the coldest month in Wollongong, and we work in a poorly insulated building with no central heating or cooling (unless you are a computer lab). Even on the beautifully sunny days we’ve had lately it can get down to 10 degrees in the office.

That flushes out all kinds of interesting ways to stay warm. Catherine knits ferociously, Nick runs up Mt Keira, Michael wears polar fleece, Chris has a big woollen jacket, Leah keeps cycling. Jen does fieldwork in warm places and when she gets back has a very elegant black coat she can wear all day. My favourite adaptive strategies are the gorgeous assortments of scarves, shawls and beanies that emerge.

@drceriksen

@drceriksen

Having lived in Sweden, I know that our conditions are nowhere near really cold. But, as Chris Gibson mentioned in his recent post, that’s part of the problem. The greater Sydney region pretends winter is not really happening, and its buildings are not well designed for the cold we do get. In Wollongong we lose the sun behind our beautiful escarpment between early and mid-afternoon. And the westerly winds blowing from the desert are not warm.

@LM_Gibbs

@LM_Gibbs

So it would be good if they sealed the windows. It would be good if we could get rid of the inefficient and power-guzzling electric blow heaters. It would be good if our northern hemisphere visitors felt a little less chilly (even when we prepare them, they are always surprised at how cold it is). But we spend enough of the year sitting round in T-shirts. As we say goodbye to July, let’s enjoy the scarves, shawls and beanies while we can.

@tindaleuow

@tindaleuow

@lifeofstuff

@lifeofstuff

@BenGallan

@BenGallan

 

2 thoughts on “Clothing as adaptive strategy… #WarmAsToastUOW

  1. Over the years I’ve bought a few pairs of expensive Canadian-made socks that are graded for Arctic cold and feel like I’ve wrapped thick blankets around my feet. I keep them in a box at the top of my wardrobe for 9 months of the year and then get them out again for the ‘winter’ morning cold in Sydney/Wollongong. Normally the box has come down by now (end of May) and the socks would be in regular use. Not in 2014, the year of the winter heat wave.

  2. A supermarket chain had ski clothes galore for sale last week… I wonder if the weather affected their sales or if people still stocked up.

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