Monday, May 09, 2011

"Maximum shields, Mr. Worf!"

Our lease says we can't change the outward appearance of our apartment. Technically, what that means is that we cannot change out the blinds (for ones which are actually capable of keeping out light, for example) or hang anything between the blind and the window. Walking around the complex, what it seems to really mean is that it's OK to rip your blinds half down or allow your dog to eat the slats, but don't you DARE hang anything between the blind and the glass that would save energy or even block out light.

There is clear heat film that goes on the glass, but it would have cost around $50 per window. I doubt we would ever recover the cost in the time we are likely to stay living here. So after wasting time and gas trying to "buy local", I headed over to and picked up a few things [edited to add - total cost was about $50 with enough leftovers to do our next apartment]:

It only took a total of about three or four hours to do all the windows in the apartment except the office. (The way we have it set up, it would be impossible to open and close, and in the 10 months we've lived here, the sun has shone directly in that window exactly once.) It's a little dark, but that's the whole idea:

And we can open up to the outside world if we wish:

Now we know what it feels like to be a Hershey Kiss.

The hope is that by keeping the heat shields down during the day, then opening them and the windows at night, we can keep the electric bill below $100/month. (Doing the opposite in the two months of "winter" will likely eliminate the need to heat.) Today was the first full day with them all in place and it seemed to work pretty well. The indoor temp stayed below 79 degrees F even in our little sunroom, which usually runs up well over 80 when the sun starts cooking the windows.

We got our letter today from the front office telling us what our new rent will be. They only jacked it up by $25, so it looks like we won't have to send out an address change with our Christmas letters.

Gotta go; dinner is getting cold.

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