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Riot- August report

September 2, 2007


Sunshine in the garden. Some say it’s spring – we tend to wait until the Spring equinox to declare it so. The warmer weather has meant no heating – YAY! This has given me some idea of how much gas we use for cooking – not much!

Water – Average daily use per person 84 litres. 52% reduction from our starting point and 76% less than our state average.

Electricity – 9 kWh per day. 52% reduction from our starting point and 57% less than our state average.

But let me give you some details….we use about 2 kWh from 6.30 am to 10.30 pm – this is the peak load. 7kWh is the off peak load that is used to heat our hot water. Our water use has reduced significantly and yet the off peak power use hasn’t dropped by much say 30%. The reason is that we have an electric storage tank and this method of heating is inefficient unless you use a lot of hot water. Based on our water use, it is heating 50- 60% more water than we use on a daily basis. It has been problematic for a while and has started slowly leaking again. We have had it repaired several times and yet the same problems persist. So finally we have decided to have it replaced.

Solar water heating is not possible due to our site. Solar heat pumps are expensive ( even after the rebate) and also really noisy. The fan on them is rated at 58-60dBs…that is loud. The manufacturers tell you not to locate it outside a bedroom window…..the only place it could fit! They are good if you can isolate the noise. Ah…so it’s gas hot water. An unsatisfactory compromise. A fossil fuel that is not as bad as electricity – the government even gives you a rebate to prove it!

Gas – we are using 50% less than July. On days without heat we use about 15mjs, otherwise our average use is 195mjs, twice the daily average. I’m hoping that our warmer months use will be so excruciating low, that our daily/yearly average will be respectable. We will insulate the floor before next winter, so this should help things.

Petrol – 45 litres. 65% less than when we started and 77% less than the state average.

Garbage – same.

Consumer – Hot water heater + my tuition fees. Seeds and some seedling trays. Money spent- so it is consumption, but not truly discretionary like say lipstick or Prada shoes or a copper preserving pan from France.

To be quite honest, I find this category problematic. For example, is paying to go and see theatre part of consumer spending? I would say yes, others say no. Is it confined to goods? Why not services? Is education consumption? Insulating the house?  Should there be allowances/percentages for things like energy efficiency improvements, garden stuff that feeds you and adds to making these changes durable and long-lasting? Probably but it’s all so relative.

In any case, we spend less than the average by between 60-70% and it may take several years before we reach the reduction target which is okay…….my tuition fees at full cost equate to the 10% allowance and I’m only in the second year of a four year course.

Food. Not enough local 25%, 45% bulk/dry, 30% dairy/non-local.

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