Our house has basically no insulation apart from the double glazing. There are blinds instead of curtains in most of the rooms. Yes, these are things we need to fix, but we only moved in 8 weeks ago, we only have finite amounts of money, there are only 24 hours in a day and we both work full-time. Our energy usage has been consistently much lower than the national average for the last few years, and we're still working to decrease it further. We don't fly, we don't drive, we don't have a vast home cinema, we don't run servers at home that have to be on all the time. I'm not suggesting we're some kind of saints, but we're already doing a lot to reduce unnecessary energy use. We don't generate much waste.
No, I wouldn't have the heating on all the time at the moment (all the time we're there, I mean -- obviously I wouldn't have it on when we're out!), though I would use hot water for washing (and I bet all the people who are having a go at me do too). Yes, I can wear extra jumpers. Yes, I can wear gloves in the house. Yes, I can make cups of tea and wrap my hands around them. But I'm sleeping in two layers of thermals with a hot water bottle and I'm still cold at night, the floors are cold even with socks and slippers, my toes are usually numb, and there's a deep cold in the air that makes me even more tired and miserable than I already am. Also, in cold conditions my extremities basically stop circulating properly (Reynaud's syndrome). Fingerless gloves don't really help, and there is a limit to what I can do when I'm wearing full gloves. I'd do more baking (which would help to heat the kitchen and adjoining living room) but we don't have a working oven, and when we use the hob (portable one-ring electric) or toaster it sets the smoke alarm off, and Owen doesn't like any of the food I make so cooking is always just misery anyway. Maybe we should be living and sleeping in one room, and blocking up all the doorways, nailing blankets over the windows, eating nothing but porridge (he doesn't mind that). Maybe there are better ways to fix the problem more permanently. Every morning I cycle along the towpath, and most mornings I find myself wondering if one quick and straightforward way to save energy and solve a whole host of other problems into the bargain would be to fill my pockets with heavy stones and just cycle straight off the path into the river.