Meet a man who sets his thermostat at 45 degrees

How low can you go? Ken Ilgunas says for him it’s 45 degrees — in his home.

Ilgunas chatted with Michael Smerconish about his chilly environment after publishing his New York Times’ Op-Ed, This Cold House.

The writer was living in a big, drafty home in rural Nebraska when he realized it would be costly — and not very environmentally friendly — to crank up the heat. (He acknowledges that “manly pride” played into it a bit, too.)

Ilgunas started his cool-off at 55 degrees, which was reasonably comfortable when he was bundled up. Fingerless gloves were key for time spent typing at the computer, he says.

He second-guessed himself a bit at one point: “When it hits 47, that’s when you begin to see your breath … when I first saw my breath I was like ‘Oh my God, I’m taking this way too far, this is extreme.'”

But he toughened up and continued his experiment with a 5-degree-rated down sleeping bag, which made a huge difference.

“I was comfortable! It may not sound comfortable … but I just learned that once you give it some time, it’s really easy to acclimate and adjust, and what was abnormal becomes normal.”

Ilgunas insists that such a cold home isn’t for everyone (especially the elderly, children or sick).

“I’m just trying to get people thinking, ‘maybe I can lower the thermostat 5 degrees, put on a set of thermal cotton underwear’ and really not be any less comfortable,” he says.

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