Monday, May 21, 2007

90% Reduction: My Stats

Here is my baseline for the 90% reduction campaign, starting on June 1st.

Baseline

1. Gasoline
U.S. Average: 500 gallons per person per year
Goal: 50 gallons per person per year
Me: About 336 gallons per year, or about 2/3 of the average. I think that I have significant opportunities to cut in this area.

2. Electricity
U.S. Average: 11,000 kWh per year, or 900 kWh per month
Goal: 1100 kWh per year, or 90 kWh per month
Me: A few months ago I began an electricity diet. My average over the past year is 619 kWh per month. However, over the last several months my usage has been slightly above 300 kWh. The latest bill, which came in Friday, was the lowest yet -309 kWh. The bottom line is that I am currently using about 2/3 the electricity of the average American household. Also, I am also on the waiting list for Green Power Switch, a TVA program which sails renewable energy to consumers. When I get onto the program, the first 300 kWh of my electricity will be from a combination of solar and wind power. I do not see this a cop-out or a final solution, but merely as a stopgap until I can cut my usage still more. This program may not always be available after all, I may not always be able to afford it, and the less I use the more is available for someone else.

3. Heating and Cooking Energy –currently not applicable, as my house is all electric.

4. Garbage
U.S. Average: 4.5 lbs per person per day, or 1642.5 lbs per year
Goal: .45 lbs per person per day
Me: Here’s another area where I was surprised at how much I consume. For my personal trash production, I produce about 3.5pounds per week (as a conservative estimate), or 11.1% of the U.S. average. However, when you factor in cat litter and its, um, accompaniments, I produce about 40.3% of the U.S. average. This obviously will have to go down. I’m not sure how I produce this much –I throw away almost nothing; mostly packaging that can’t be reused or recycled.

5. Water
U.S. Average: 100 gallons per person, per day
Goal: 10 gallons per person per day
Me: Somehow I use about 67 gallons a day, or again, 2/3 of the U.S. average. How this could be is beyond me. I need to look at all of my systems again.
Problems: My brother will be living with me over the summer while he works at a nearby factory to save money for school. This will complicate my calculations for the next few months.
Deviation: I am NOT going to be able to get down to 10 gallons a day (except under emergency conditions). This is because of myself, my pets, and my garden. So I am changing the goal just a bit. My goal is going to be 10 gallons a day for myself, 5 for my animals (counting them in total as half a person –my Siamese will not be happy with this distinctions), and 20 gallons for my garden. That give me a goal of 35 gallons a day, about half what I use now. (Plus 10 more per gallon over the summer while my brother is here.) I am also looking at greywater systems and rainwater catchment systems.

6. Consumer Goods
U.S. Average: $10,000 per household per year
Goal: $1,000 per household per year
Me: Without counting my tuition and books (which I can do nothing about until December of 2008) I am about there. Being a compactor really helps with this. My tuition and books are currently about $5300 per year.
Without tuition and books, I’m about at goal.
With tuition and books, I’m at 63% of average.

7. Food
U.S. Average: ?
Goal: Local -70%, Bulk -25%, and non-local/Processed 5%
Me: This one was hard for me to estimate. Local -15% (and growing); this is all of my fresh fruits and vegetables, and my free-range eggs.
Bulk- probably about 50%; this includes dried beans, pasta, rice, various flours, powdered milk, oats and (I think) raisins and nuts.
Wet/processed -35%; this includes organic dairy, ice cream, canned and frozen veggies and fruit, juice concentrate, pasta sauce, salad dressing and other condiments, and the occasional box of Annie’s mac and cheese or can of Amy’s chili.
Minor Deviation: I’m not counting free food in this, as I have no idea where it comes from, and as broke as I am, I’ll take it anyway. Its less than 1% of my diet, at any rate.
EDITED TO ADD: I made a mistake with the garbage calculations. I forgot to take into account the fact that my brother has been living with me the past week, so the garbage calculation should have been for 2 people, rather than one. This changes my garbage production to 11.1% without the cat litter, and 40.3% with it, so its not as bad as I thought.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous deliberately said...

Thanks for the posts. We'll be watching and I also appreciate the graphs you put up over at Simple Living. I used one on my blog to illustrate the reason of your steps toward a lighter footprint.

5/26/2007 7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to point out that, according to the "Rules and Regs" for the 90% Reduction work, you're doing better than you think you are, as I understand things.

Two items:
1. You needn't count your garden irrigation water in your total. (And if you're growing food, so much the better!)
2. Tuition doesn't count as a consumer good. The books do, of course, but maybe there are lower-impact ways to get them (used?).

Way to go!

Judith

5/26/2007 10:25 AM  
Blogger RAS said...

Deliberately, thanks. I'll be sure to check out your blog.

Judith -I posted this before they'd revised the rules and regs with the water and tuition exemption.

Thanks for reading!
-Rebecca

5/26/2007 6:44 PM  

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