Thursday, 30 December 2010

Winter expectations

Interesting article in the NYT about life in Mexico City in winter. Apparently most houses are built of concrete, windows are single glazed and buildings don’t have any heating to think of. At first thought, given that the city is almost on the Tropic of Cancer, that doesn’t seem so big a deal. The city is of course at 2300m altitude and consequently cold in winter.

Just like Canberra, while most of the city is around 600m above sea level we’re 35 degrees south giving us a winter (and summer) climate like Madrid. In short, cold in winter. Seriously cold. We managed –6.7C overnight in the middle of winter.

And yet, because Australia is a sunny warm, hot even, country houses were built until recently with little or no insulation, single glazed windows and no heating save for a couple of pissy electric convector heaters.

The result is that most houses in Canberra are cold in winter, even after retrofitting insulation, central heating and double glazing. We’re definitely colder in winter than we were in our heavily insulated house in England despite living in a warmer climate overall…

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