The Crunchy Chicken, it's time to freeze yer buns off in 2011, and she's issued a challenge to go with it! Apparently there are even prizes to go with it, but it seems to me like everyone participating wins, since you get a lower heating bill just for playing!
I'm going to cheat a little on the challenge and declare my temperatures to be the same as we usually set them in the winter: 65 during the day and 55 at night. A lot of people seem to think that is crazy low already, so I'm officially going to leave it there.
Even though I plan on leaving the thermostat the same place as last year, I do plan on better implementing strategies to keep the family warm, beyond putting on socks and a sweatshirt or breaking out extra blankets.
One advantage we definitely have at the Trailer Park Homestead for keeping the temps down in the winter is, like I said, the furnace is practically right outside my bedroom....and everyone wants to sleep in that bedroom. This means that we don't have to worry so much about heating the far side of the house at night. If the kids were to actually start sleeping where they are supposed to, we might have to turn the thermostat up a notch or two more, but, as it is, I encourage that less in the winter so they think they are getting away with something by sleeping in my room, and we're getting away with paying less on the heating bill.
Another thing I'll definitely be doing is strategically planning meals and baking around the weather. If it is supposed to be overcast (more on why that is important a bit later) and cold, I'll be more inclined to stick something in the oven, or maybe fire up the canner to can some stock, or make or something, which would also serve to heat up the house while getting something done.
One final unusual way I plan on keeping the house warmer without heat this winter is passive solar energy. I don't even need any fancy equipment for this--just the storm window shut on the screen door! On sunny afternoons, if I leave that front door that has a screen door open and the screen door shut, the light from the sun coming in generates enough heat that it raises the house's temperature as much as 10 degrees in an afternoon! And that is even if it is in the 20s outside, so it doesn't have to be a warm day to do it! I know this wouldn't work for everyone, but check out the windows on your house and see if you can do something similar, if they line up right that if you put up the blinds or curtains, it actually heats the house rather than loosing heat to a potential draft.
So those are my main ideas for keeping the house warm this winter without using much energy. If you have others, especially ones useful for a single-wide trailer, I'd love to hear them. This might be a bit of a game for us, participating in this "challenge", but my next door neighbors' furnace is broken and they don't think they'll be able to afford to replace it (yes, it is beyond repair, according to the guy they had come look at it already. And, yes, we'll be being neighborly and inviting them to come over any time they need to keep warm, even if it means spending just about every night here), so any tips on keeping warm could literally be lifesaving for them.