Riot for Austerity – Month 12

Riot for Austerity fist with Thermometer

We finished our 12th month, we made it around the year! I’ll list this month’s consumption first and then I’ll discuss the yearly average.


7.4 gallons pp =18 % of the US National Average

Yearly average: 24.8%

I just saw that I never calculated DH’s miles on public transportation (shuttle). I’ll start adding those in the next year.

Electricity. The only change we made this month was the firing up of the small chest freezer, and it doesn’t seem to have made much of a dent in our electricity consumption.

313 KWH (all wind) = 9% of the US National Average

Yearly average: 18.2%

Our present consumption is so much lower from the yearly average because we switched from conventional to wind in the fourth month of our Riot, which practically cut our percentage in half.

Heating Oil and Warm Water.

13.6 gallons = 22% of the US National Average

Most of this was for hot water this month, but it did fire up several times to heat the house, either at night or when I wasn’t on top of the thermostat (which is set at 59 F during the day and 55 F at night). This is good news, because it’s the same as our usage in September. That means the extra insulation and the wrapping of the hot water tank helped.

As for our wood usage, we haven’t used the kind of amount that would allow us to calculate how many cords we’re going through, yet. Once we reach one cord I’ll enter it all in that month.

But wow, the weather has been taking us for a ride this month! Today for instance started off coldish, around 57 F inside the house, so I was preparing to light the fire when I noticed on the outside thermometer that it was 60. I opened all the windows instead and within an hour it was over 70 outside and a nice 62 inside (our house seems to be well insulated, then). The same thing happened over a week ago, when all the windows of the house started steaming up, on the outside. We’ll have an almost tropical Halloween (with rain, though), then the temperatures will plummet again.

Yearly average: 77%

What can I say: it gets cold here in the winter months. We’re Freezing Our Buns as it is and the house is as insulated as it can get. We did make several improvements to that insulation, and we got a wood stove installed (renewable energy used responsibly), so let’s see what next winter brings.

Trash. Our weigh-in of our trash for the 3 of us for 1 month:

6lbs = 1% of the US National Average

Yearly average: 7.3% OR 31.5%

The second percentage refers to our construction/capital improvement waste, which according to the powers that be at the Riot count for half their weight.  So with that we still didn’t do too bad, and we’ll do better because I don’t see any major waste producing capital improvements coming up in the next year. Without that we did even better than the 7.3% suggests, because I usually eyeball the trash and this month’s actual weigh-in suggests that I’ve been overestimating. Our trash is mostly soft plastic and foil food wrappers and the occasional hard plastic casing of some electronic device, toy or pencil. Everything else goes in the compost or the recycling.

Water. The new grass is established, and there’s not so much canning anymore, so we’re back to normal at:

429 gallons of water pp = 14% of the US National Average

This will probably go up a bit as we put the rain barrels out of commission (they’ll burst if we let the water in them freeze) and need to start flushing tap water again.

Yearly average: 16.5%

I’m at a loss here as to how to get it down more. We already take less and short showers, don’t run the taps when brushing or washing, and use rain water to flush our toilets. Honestly I don’t understand how we’re still at 16.5% of the US national average…

Consumer Goods. Yesterday Amie and I went to Pearl, the huge arts and crafts store in Cambridge, and we went wild: we got new pencils, new drawing pads, a watercoloring set, sharpeners (one in the shape of a globe: Amie’s favorite) and an ellipse template, which keeps her happy for an hour. I also bought two books of poem by Jim Harrison and The Peterson Guide to Animal Tracks for Amie. And DH bought a battery charger. All that makes for

$112 = 14% of the US National Average

Yearly average: 27.2%

Food. Our food consumption is slowly shifting from local to bulk, but I’m succeeding more and more in keeping the “wet” foods, like dairy and meats, in the local category.

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