My family consists of my wife Krista, and our three children, Emma, Jacob, and Zachary. We live in South Minneapolis. We are always concerned with our footprint and what we leave behind for our kids. To that extent, we’ve tried to cut down consumption of everything!
Take water, for instance. The average family of 4 can use between 300-400 gallons of water per day, depending on which studies you look at. That turns out to be around a staggering number of 110,000 gallons per year!! Just to be sure that is a ballpark number to go by, I looked up usage for a few of my neighbors. One family of 4 used 95,000 gallons last year. Another family used 138,000 gallons. A couple of other neighbors used: 44,000 and 58,000. Our usage was 37,500 last year. That is about 35% of the national average.
On electricity, the average family uses 10,656 kwh of electricity per year. We used 5,363 kwh last year. That’s about 50% of the national average. We also installed a solar PV system on our house a little more than a year ago (it was dec 2010 when it was completed). That generates 50-60% of our usage. Last year (2011), it generated 2664 kwh. That brings our grid consumption down to 2699 kwh, which is 25% of national average.
Natural gas usage varies so much around the country depending on climate. Here in Minnesota, we have a longer heating season and use more natural gas. So I’ll look at local data, state averages. Here in MN, the average consumption for a family of 4 is 1,020 Million BTU or about 1 Billion BTU. Our usage last year was 1,422 Million BTU’s, or about 50% higher than the state average. We’ll need to work on this one. We have spray-in-foam insulation in our upstairs walls and ceiling along with newer windows. That was all done when we added on to our house. But our main floor has an older boiler. But it does have newer windows and doors as part of the MAC Part 150 insulation program.