By Lisa Brunette
Last spring I shared with you one sexy idea that yielded something even sexier: measurable cost savings on our utility bill during last year's snowpocalypse. Simply wrapping your pipes with something like mini pool noodles could help you fight climate change without breaking your bank or requiring major dietary changes. Now I'm back with another hot plan to save the world, and this time I mean jeans.
Recycled blue jeans, that is. Turns out, they make a great insulation.
I've been a fan of blue-jean insulation since 2003, when my ex-husband and I insulated the attic of our Tacoma, Washington, home with huge sheets of the stuff. It worked great! So when Anthony and I were strategizing how to make the windows in our 118-year-old charmer more energy efficient, I naturally thought of denim.
Just a few small rolls were all we needed, for a total cost of USD 27.52 for all 11 windows in our home.
We measured and cut them to fit inside the window well, as you see in the photo at the top of this post. You don't need to glue or tape them into place; just set them into the well. We cut them a little bit larger for a snug fit.
The window slides down onto the denim strip, which blocks airflow seepage through the space between the bottom of the window and the well. As an added bonus, in an old house like ours, the windows often rattle, and the soft pad cuts down on some of this noise.
Our cat, Chaco, thinks these cushy denim strips are da bomb, too. Instead of hunkering down into an uncomfortable window well, with the windows open on a nice day, he now has a soft place to sit and look out at the world.
Since dust from outside can often gather in the well, the denim helps keep that contained, too, and we can always wash the strips later if needed.
So where do you get denim insulation? I wish I could link you to an indie retailer on Etsy*, but there aren't any offering insulation, though you can find plenty of crafty items made from recycled denim, including this gorgeous upcycled denim rug.
In full disclosure, I purchased our insulation rolls from the world's most popular online retailer, but only because unlike back when I lived in Tacoma, I don't have a ready local source for the stuff... and, what can I say? It is very hard to curb this particular habit. Let me know in the comments below if you find a better option.
If you're in a part of the world where the chilly temperatures will continue for a while yet this year, I highly recommend outfitting your window wells with denim. But even if your next big quandary will be just how late you can wait to turn on the A/C, the denim strips work to keep the cool in and the heat out as well.
I wish you highly efficient energy, and a happy spring!
* More full disclosure: There's a controversy brewing right now re: Etsy's seller fee hike. It's disappointing to hear this news, especially after my own experience with Etsy has been so positive. I outfitted our entire wedding via Etsy back in 2014, and I've enjoyed promoting indie makers here at Brunette Gardens. For the other side, see this article. For now, we're continuing to support the sellers still on Etsy, but we're looking for alternatives... again, feel free to recommend other sites in the comments below.