The Cost of (Dis)Comfort
Studio in the Garden Courtesy of Befama Homes
The Cost of (Dis)Comfort
analysis paralysis: refers to a situation in which an individual or group is unable to move forward with a decision as a result of overanalyzing data or overthinking a problem (Investopedia)
Nobody likes paying bills. That being said, unless you’re looking to bear the brash brunt of a British Columbia winter without having any recourse with which you could possibly exert control over even your own personal climate - other than, of course, knitting a sweater (but that would probably take too long, and would require you to learn how to knit, and you haven’t talked to ol’ meemaw in years; in fact, last you heard of her she was down in Montego Bay selling fake crab meat out of a cooler to pay for her stay at the Marriott Seacastles Penthouse Aparthotel, which was itself, of course, based on an elaborate ruse she had concocted up in order to facilitate the conduction of on-the-ground field research for the construction of a Rastafarian-themed apple orchard in Vermont, where her lover, Manuelle, lived with his two cocker spaniels and his Yogi the Bear chia pet - but, I digress, and far too much, at that, especially considering the fact that the topic which this here article seeks to cover is of a very serious nature) - you are going to have to pony up some major loonies. But how major do they have to be? In this article, we will do some math together (fun!) to determine just that - so bust out your handy-dandy calculators (or scratch paper, if you’ve yet to swallow your pride in this regard), and let’s get number-crunching!
I do hope you all are as excited as I am about this.
Above is a graph depicting the amount of energy required to maintain a temperature of twenty degrees Celsius (or eighty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, if you’re a bloody yank) in a given living space, consisting solely of one bedroom. Furthermore, if you squint a little bit more you’ll see that there are also dollar amounts listed next to several dotted points along the graph’s slope. Those figures represent the approximate amount of money, per day, that it would take to generate such a level of energy.
As you can see, these numbers tend to be lower when lesser amounts of energy are needed for the room. Larger rooms would, naturally, require more energy to heat than smaller rooms. Therefore, it would appear to be the case that the smaller your room is, the less energy you will need in order to heat it. Ipso facto, if you find yourself with a pocket full of dust bunnies after forking over your utility fees, it’s likely the case that your room is far too big for your own good. I mean, think about it - what do you really even need to use your room for, except to sleep? Do you really need that IKEA desk in there, or can you just waltz on down to a cafe and siphon a little WiFi to churn out Monday morning’s past-due articles? What is the point of working in a home office space when you’re simultaneously shelling out all that extra money to heat said space? Indeed, it’s as if you’re putting money into your pocket with one hand and pulling it out with the other - which would explain all the dust bunnies.
So, what do you do?
Get yourself one of these!
Or, maybe, this would be more your style:
“Well, it certainly looks nice,” you may find yourself saying, “but, I mean, look at all of that snow - how could I possibly afford to keep warm in such a climate?”
This is, indeed, a fair question - to say the least - but it also happens to be one that can be fairly easily answered just by taking a look at the picture in front of you.
Seriously - take a look at that thing. Does this look like the sort of place that is going to require exorbitant amounts of money to upkeep and maintain? Does it look like there are a ton of preschools in the area, or that it is densely populated enough to raise the property values?
“Hey, now - speculation’s all well and good, but I’d like to see some numbers right about now. Something cold, hard, and concrete - like a stone, or a slab of sherbert from Cold Stone Creamery. I need data. Show me the stats...stat!”
Alright, alright, calm down buddy. I’ve got your numbers, and they’re as concrete as numbers can be. Keep in mind that this article is primarily geared towards those on the west coast of Canada, where these types of considerations tend to be a more ubiquitous visitor to the cradle of one’s cranium. This is not to say that those of you reading this who happen to be living on the east coast, or maybe even in the midwest, cannot derive any value from this article - far from it. I believe that anyone who reads this will benefit from it, in some way, whether they may realize it or not. That being said, I do not plan on providing any data for any province east of Fort Nelson, so just don’t expect much (or anything at all, for that matter) regarding the particularities of Nunavut, or Nova Scotia.
Alright, then - let’s get started, shall we?
Below are the TEDI requirements for all of the cities that lie within the province of British Columbia (as well as the ones that tell the truth, too):
“Just what in the world are TEDI requirements?” you are likely asking, perhaps even out loud, at this time. Well, according to NAIMA (not to be confused with the beautiful ballad composed by John Coltrane and included on his seminal 1959 album, Giant Steps, inspired by his then-wife, Juanita Naima Grubbs; I am referring, of course, to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, headquartered in Ottawa), a building’s Thermal Energy Demand Intensity, or TEDI for short, represents the annual amount of energy from heat needed to maintain a consistently comfortable inside temperature, per square metre (or meter, if you’re a bloody yank) of floor area.
As you can see, the energy required in order to keep things at that Goldilocks level of “just right”-ness varies significantly based on the size of one’s quarters. Indeed, depending on what type of living space you occupy, and where in British Columbia it is located, you could be looking at something as low as 16 or as high as 122 - quite a large range, to say the least. Put in terms that perhaps may carry a bit more weight when it comes to how the average person thinks of things, it could very well mean the difference between paying less than a dollar a day to heat your home, and more than fifteen dollars.
“Where in the world are you getting these figures, kid?” is what you might be asking right about now. Well, if you are legitimately curious, then I guess I probably should tell you. If you scroll up to that initial graph I included a picture of - the first image in the article, as a matter of fact, smack dab on the top of the second page- you will see that, the less kWh of energy input is needed to maintain a particular temperature in a given unit, the lower the cost per day of heating said unit is. Conversely, then, it stands to reason that those units in which more energy is required in order to keep things at a liveable level will be more expensive, on a daily basis, to maintain.
You picking up what I’m putting down, partner?
Let’s take a look at another province here on the west coast of Canada, where I currently am writing this article from (I mean, I’m definitely not sitting on the pad of a sheetless mattress, straining my back, in a one-bedroom apartment in northwest Washington, D.C., with the hardened remnants of a powdered peanut butter and oat smoothie etched across my upper lip...what are you talkin’ aboot, eh? Okay, that might have blown my cover...shit.).
Anywho, below is the data for the province of Yukon:
As you can see, these numbers clearly illustrate that...well, I mean obviously we are supposed to infer...it’s patently evident that...alright, I got nothing. But I’m sure the same principle still applies - after all, it’s science. And science doesn’t lie (well, actually, it does sometimes, but we won’t get into that right now).
Okay, now, let’s get back into some numbers since I do genuinely feel pretty bad about not being able to break down whatever we’re looking at in that image above for Yukon in any sort of meaningful way that wouldn’t just be me babbling on regarding something about which I know nothing (hey, it takes a man to recognize and openly admit what his limitations are; I’m sure our old pal Socrates would be proud).
Do y’all (there we go, now I can finally slip out of character here) remember that first house I linked a picture of? You know, the one that I recommended you go out and purchase. Well, I’ve got some numbers for you regarding that house, and they definitely tell more of a story than whatever those Yukon numbers are supposed to say to me (I really am truly sorry - like I said, limitations). It is my sincerest hope that you find the following information of substantially more value than the information that has immediately preceded it, which I do not believe accurately reflects my ability to provide you with quality information, an ability that I strive to maintain each and every day. I also strive to maintain my own integrity each and every day, and letting you know that I hit a mental wall (which we all do from time to time) is just one way in which I can uphold that promise of honesty to myself, as well as to all of you.
Now, as you can see, the efficiency of this building’s heating system is, at a prescriptive minimum (the bare minimum required to maintain this living space) 90%. Under the proposed design, the efficiency rises to above 95%. Compare this to a number further away from 100, such as 78, or 34, or 12, and you’ll soon see why the wise among us are beginning to eat these types of houses up like hot cakes - they simply are the best bang for your buck out there at this point in time.
That is, of course, if you don’t mind eschewing some of our modern luxuries - those fleeting whirlpools of temporary joy that are quickly whisked away by the sands of time under the guidance of the river of eternity, the river along which all of us are only just barely floating by (some paddling much harder than others - and seek refuge in sources of true comfort. These sources, unlike their more tangible yet less satisfying counterparts, are very often much easier to access, yet far less likely to be accessed. This is because the difficulty lies not in locating the source, which, of course is none other than you and the eternal Brahman within you, but in trusting the process of uncovering the reality behind the veil of existence and learning to appreciate the journey, bearing all of its challenges with absolute equanimity.
So, what, you don’t have as much room for that ping-pong table you got from your cousin Mathis last Kwanzaa; how often do you even play ping-pong, anyway? Think long-term, bud - the wintertime is coming, and, pretty soon, the windows will be filled with frost. I tried to tell everybody but I could not get across.
You know your house should be smaller and your junk, you should toss...
Don’t say I didn’t warn you when your train gets lost.