Last month I told you about the Riot for Austerity challenge to reduce our emissions to 1/10th of that which the average American uses. At the time I didn’t have the figures for my electric usage. Today I want to update you on how I am doing and how far I have to go to reach my goal.
Once I had my figures I needed something to compare them to. I borrowed the following image from Shrink That Footprint, the article is well worth a read but if you are short on time this graph may open your eyes to the electric consumption in your country.
It is truly shocking to see how much more electricity the US and Canada uses than the rest of the world.
In the Riot for Austerity Challenge, we are attempting to reduce our electricity usage to 90 KWH per month. This would result in 1080 KWH per year. This would fall between Mexico and Brazil. Looking at the graph, that’s a huge reduction from the average US household.
So where did my figures fall? My energy usage varies from 6 to 8 KWH per day. Using the average of 7 my totals are 212.92 per month or 2555 for the year, which puts me squarely between Russia and Italy. I still need to cut my usage just over half to meet the challenge.
Pinch that Penny back in 2007 stated that energy-efficient homes could have electric usages as low as 14 KWH per day. I am torn between feeling frustrated knowing I have to find cuts equal to half what I currently use and cheering because my numbers are half that expected in an energy-efficient home.
Reducing my usage to 3 KWH per day is going to be tough.
Items I don’t have or use myself:
- Television, DVD player, stereo, or satellite dish (which does use electricity)
- toaster oven
- electric can opener
- coffee pot (one is used infrequently when guests are here)
- hair dryer or other hair tools
- clothes dryer
- air conditioner
- space heaters
All light bulbs have already been converted to LED
There are things here I can’t see eliminating which are:
- My two sump pumps which keep my basement from flooding. Without the second pump I’ve had flooding so bad my furnace was immersed in water. This only runs when water is present but it’s still needed.
- The dehumidifier in the basement. Again this is to keep mold problems from developing. It’s the one thing my son insists I keep in the house as my “landlord”. I agree with him as it’s better to prevent mold than try to eliminate it later.
- The clothes washer.
- The electric stove, although I could see about using the slow cooker more often.
- The chest freezer: unless the cost of using the stove top for canning saves enough electricity to eliminate freezing foods.
- The electricity to run my grass mower, I figure electric is still better than gas-powered with the fumes alone they give off.
- Finally, the electricity to charge my wheelchair.
Where I might be able to cut back
- The dishwasher. I only use this maybe twice a week but I could do more hand washing.
- Watching the amount of time I use my laptop.
There you have it. I use 4.5 times less electricity than the average US household and just shy of half the average UK home. I may fall short of the ultimate goal and I might have to be okay with that in the end. Looking back at the graph, it’s feels good to see where I fall compared to the average US household.
If you want to see how much average appliances and tools cost to operate you might want to look at this chart.
So where am I on the challenge?
- I use zero gas for cars
- Natural gas for heat and hot water is non-negotiable at this time
- Electricity needs cut in half still
- Water usage is below the figures set for the challenge
- Finally food. I have a ways to go but having just bought more plants for the garden I will be closer to this figure soon. Within two years I expect my fruit needs to be satisfied completely from my own land. My property now has: One almond tree, two peach trees, three apple trees, one apricot tree, one plum tree, rhubarb plants, 6 raspberry plants, 4 blueberry bushes, and 50+ strawberry plants. That’s in addition to the annuals which include zucchini, lettuces, onions, leeks, peas, cantaloupes, two types of squash, watermelon, quinoa, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and to experiment with marshmallow plants.