I posted about the Riot for Austerity several weeks ago. I joined a group of people who are trying to decrease their consumption of resources by 90% of that of the average American. I have decided that I will start posting my numbers for the Riot on my blog once a month. For the full set of rules and guidelines, visit the Riot site by clicking the link. My numbers will lag behind because my meters are head halfway through the month and the other bills come around that time as well. So today I have my numbers ready for January.
Gasoline: 16.75% of average. Our family of four gets a monthly allotment of 16.6 gal per month if we want to be at an exact 90% reduction. We purchased 27.8 gal in January. Our running total since June 1st is 178.14 gal or 13.4% of US avg. This however does not include air travel which it actually should. Since starting the project I have flown one long haul flight and the rest of my family has flown a total of 3 long haul and 4 short haul round trip flights. I will see if I can figure up these numbers for next month.
Electricity: 21% of average. We used 188 kwh from mid Jan to mid Feb. We pay $15 a month extra for “green” energy. If we could get wind or hydro power we would get a 75% reduction. If it were solar it would be a 50% reduction. Our utility’s green energy is 95% landfill gas and 5% solar and wind. So I don’t even know if I get a reduction.
Heating/cooking: 15.6% of average. We use natural gas for water heating and cooking. We have a natural gas central heater and a natural gas fireplace. We used the fireplace once at Christmas and ran the heater once for two hours just for maintenance. Our gas usage was 13 therms for the month. We have a wood stove if it is really cold inside, lower than 60F. We also have a makeshift solar water heater that does work this time of year if it is really sunny and not too cold.
Garbage: 7% of average. For the month of January our family of four made 13.5lbs of trash and 28.5 lbs of recyclables. Recyclables are counted at 80% since they both decrease resource needs and create pollution from collection and processing. We compost all food waste.
Water: 16% of average. Our water is only measured in kilo-gallons. Mostly we are using 2kgal, but occasionally only one. Our old toilets need replacing and I would love to use rainwater for laundry. We will be working on both of those in the coming months.
Consumer goods: Not sure. I just started tracking this category begining Jan 1st. I spent $120.80 on seeds, goodness what was I thinking? I also spent $79.61 on other stuff. If I don’t count the seeds as consumer goods then we are at 9.5% of avg. If the seeds count 50% because they are homestead expenses, then we are at 16.8%. If they count as consumer goods, well then, we are at 24% of average.
Food: I have never really tracked food. I find it really tedious and would rather guesstimate. The rules recommend that your diet be 70% local, 25% bulk and 5% wet, luxury goods. We are not doing so well in this area. It is a big change from a year ago though, when we bought about 70% wet, luxury, frozen, processed food, 25% bulk and 5% local. I think right now we are doing about 20% local, 50% bulk and 30% wet, luxury.
Overall I feel like we are doing pretty well. I am working on increasing local food, but since grains are not grown in Florida we are doing a lot of bulk buying. With all the seeds I bought, hopefully we will be eating mostly from the garden. I just need to have a good kick in the pants to get the planting done.
Any advice, suggestions, comments?