Saturday, June 07, 2008

Riot 4 Austerity

Since I have been using the riot calculator so much I decided that I may as well officially join. To mark my progress as a rioter I'm comparing baseline of when I moved in to this apartment to now. From now on I'll also post every time I calculate.

August/First Available:
R4A Calculator summary:
| Transport: 41% | Elec: 17% | H&C: 9% | Water: 45% | Goods: 49% |

17 gallons gas per month
152 kwh electricity per month (conventional)
7 therms natural gas per month
1347 gallons water per month
$400 new consumer goods per month

Most Recent:
R4A Calculator summary:
| Transport: 54% | Elec: 10% | H&C: 10% | Water: 34% | Goods: 8% |

22 gallons gasoline per month
92 kwh electricity per month (all renewable, mainly hydro)
8 therms natural gas per month
1014 gallons water per month
$65 new consumer goods per month ($45 for compost bin supplies)

Transport is the biggest thing I have to work on. It went up since I wasn't working in August. I drive 10 minutes to work, 10 minutes home, 5 days a week. My car is not terribly efficient (I've worked my way up to 26 mpg), but my driving is. I run errands on the way home so I don't have to make extra trips and I don't really drive many places anyway. Now that allergy season has ended I'll be biking more. I rode to the farm store today, cars aren't nearly as scary as I expected! But, this summer I'll be commuting to Boston every day. It will be a bike + train commute, but 80 miles of public transport a day still comes out to a lot.

I'm proud of my electricity and natural gas numbers, I don't intend to make any more changes in those areas. I just hope that summer heat won't change them (I'll require limited AC so I don't kill my pets).

Water is the area that I'm stuck on. I can't fathom where all that water is going! I shower 3 times a week (and only have the water on to get wet and rinse off), do 1 load of laundry a week, run the dishwasher maybe 2 times a week, cook, flush 2-3 times a day and water 22 pots of plants. I guess all that adds up. I use grey water for plants when I can. Next step is to figure out how hard it is to set up a collection system from the faucet(s).

I was shocked to see how low my purchases are compared to average. I was fully aware that I don't buy much, but in August I set up my entire apartment. I moved here from college, so all I had was my parent's old basement furniture to use in the living room and my grandmother's old kitchen supplies. I bought a dining room table set, bed, dresser, tv, tv stand and those million little things that you forget you need until its not there. That month I spent $400 on new stuff, which doesn't amount to half of what the average person spends! I also had a $200 gift certificate to target, even if I spent the entire thing in August (which I didn't) I would have spent 73% of what the average American buys in a month. What on earth is everyone buying??? I hope this category includes car payments or something that I'm not thinking of. Otherwise this planet is doomed.

Overall, I'm happy with my numbers. I look forward to biking a lot this summer, hopefully so much that I'll want to continue when I return to work in the fall. Any suggestions on how to help the water situation would be greatly appreciated!

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