Given Molly's post on Peak oil? Peak Food? .....and now peak water?, I'd thought I'd do a little comparison on our energy and water consumption with where we were at this time last year. We've been trying to reduce our consumption over the past year and we've just received our end of financial year bills, so it is a good time to compare.
Water - over the past 12 months we have used 58% of what we used the previous year. Most of this saving came from over summer, when our water consumption fell to less than half of what we used the year before. Given I've got more food growing, I'm rather surprised at the result, but very, very pleased.
Electricity - comparing this quarter to the same one last year, we are using 59% of what we used the previous year. A lot of this saving is probably due to installing a solar hot water system and replacing our old electric oven and cooktop with a gas burner, electric oven stove (which is also lovely to cook on!).
Natural Gas - we are using about the same amount of gas as we did in the comparable quarter a year ago. However, since we are now using gas for cooking, this means our heating usage has definitely gone down.
Petrol - I don't have any accurate figures on this, but judging from our budget spreadsheet, we were filling up two to three times each fortnight and now we are filling up mostly only once and sometimes twice. We have been making a concerted effort to use the bus, so obviously our strategy is working.
Food - this is pretty hard to judge, as the children are getting older and are therefore eating more. However, I have more weeks where I don't need to buy any supplemental veges and so we must be heading in the right direction. Also, there are definitely less processed foods entering the house - we are pretty much cooking from scratch these days and snacks tend to be raw nuts and dried fruits or homemade treats, rather than stuff that comes in packets. Which reminds me - we often shop at the co-op where you supply your own containers, so we've reduced our packaging that way, too.
I know we still have a long way to go in terms of saving energy and water and growing our own food, but I'm feeling pretty pleased with what we have achieved this year. It will be interesting to see what our consumption is this time next year.
So here's the challenge - get out your energy and water bills and, if they record the information for you, see if your consumption has decreased. I think we will be trying to set ourselves some goals each quarter.
love and light