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# Lesson:Household Energy Conservation and Efficiency

### Quick Look

Time Required: 2 hours

(three 40-minute class periods)

Lesson Dependency:

Subject Areas: Data Analysis and Probability, Physical Science, Physics

### Summary

Students complete three different activities to evaluate the energy consumption in a household and explore potential ways to reduce that consumption. The focus is on conservation and energy efficient electrical devices and appliances. The lesson reinforces the relationship between power and energy and associated measurements and calculations required to evaluate energy consumption. The lesson provides students with more concrete information for completing their culminating unit assignment.
This engineering curriculum aligns to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

### Engineering Connection

Evaluating energy consumption is the first step engineers must take when trying to reduce energy consumption. This step is part of the "understand the problem" and "gather information" steps in the problem solving spiral.

### Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students should be able to:

• Calculate energy use and analyze how changing behaviors and appliances affects energy use.
• Conduct an experiment and make comparisons based on experimental evidence.

### Educational Standards Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards. All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org). In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.

###### NGSS: Next Generation Science Standards - Science
NGSS Performance Expectation

MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment. (Grades 6 - 8)

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This lesson focuses on the following Three Dimensional Learning aspects of NGSS:
Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Apply scientific principles to design an object, tool, process or system.

Alignment agreement:

Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth's environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things.

Alignment agreement:

Relationships can be classified as causal or correlational, and correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

Alignment agreement:

The uses of technologies and any limitations on their use are driven by individual or societal needs, desires, and values; by the findings of scientific research; and by differences in such factors as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions. Thus technology use varies from region to region and over time.

Alignment agreement:

###### Common Core State Standards - Math
• Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots. (Grade 6) More Details

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• Use ratio reasoning to convert measurement units; manipulate and transform units appropriately when multiplying or dividing quantities. (Grade 6) More Details

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• Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation. (Grade 6) More Details

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• Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context, such as by: (Grade 6) More Details

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• Reporting the number of observations. (Grade 6) More Details

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###### International Technology and Engineering Educators Association - Technology
• Energy can be used to do work, using many processes. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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• Much of the energy used in our environment is not used efficiently. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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###### National Council of Teachers of Mathematics - Math
• recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics (Grades Pre-K - 12) More Details

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• work flexibly with fractions, decimals, and percents to solve problems (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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• understand and use ratios and proportions to represent quantitative relationships (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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• use the associative and commutative properties of addition and multiplication and the distributive property of multiplication over addition to simplify computations with integers, fractions, and decimals (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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• select appropriate methods and tools for computing with fractions and decimals from among mental computation, estimation, calculators, or computers, and paper and pencil, depending on the situation, and apply the selected methods (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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• model and solve contextual problems using various representations, such as graphs, tables, and equations (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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• understand both metric and customary systems of measurement (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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• understand relationships among units and convert from one unit to another within the same system (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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• select and apply techniques and tools to accurately find length, area, volume, and angle measures to appropriate levels of precision (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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• use observations about differences between two or more samples to make conjectures about the populations from which the samples were taken (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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###### National Science Education Standards - Science
• Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence. Students should base their explanation on what they observed, and as they develop cognitive skills, they should be able to differentiate explanation from description--providing causes for effects and establishing relationships based on evidence and logical argument. This standard requires a subject matter knowledge base so the students can effectively conduct investigations, because developing explanations establishes connections between the content of science and the contexts within which students develop new knowledge. (Grades 5 - 8) More Details

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• Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations. Thinking critically about evidence includes deciding what evidence should be used and accounting for anomalous data. Specifically, students should be able to review data from a simple experiment, summarize the data, and form a logical argument about the cause-and-effect relationships in the experiment. Students should begin to state some explanations in terms of the relationship between two or more variables. (Grades 5 - 8) More Details

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• Communicate scientific procedures and explanations. With practice, students should become competent at communicating experimental methods, following instructions, describing observations, summarizing the results of other groups, and telling other students about investigations and explanations. (Grades 5 - 8) More Details

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• Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry. Mathematics is essential to asking and answering questions about the natural world. Mathematics can be used to ask questions; to gather, organize, and present data; and to structure convincing explanations. (Grades 5 - 8) More Details

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• Mathematics is important in all aspects of scientific inquiry. (Grades 5 - 8) More Details

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• Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, nuclei, and the nature of a chemical. Energy is transferred in many ways. (Grades 5 - 8) More Details

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• Electrical circuits provide a means of transferring electrical energy when heat, light, sound, and chemical changes are produced. (Grades 5 - 8) More Details

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• Science influences society through its knowledge and world view. Scientific knowledge and the procedures used by scientists influence the way many individuals in society think about themselves, others, and the environment. The effect of science on society is neither entirely beneficial nor entirely detrimental. (Grades 5 - 8) More Details

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• Technology influences society through its products and processes. Technology influences the quality of life and the ways people act and interact. Technological changes are often accompanied by social, political, and economic changes that can be beneficial or detrimental to individuals and to society. Social needs, attitudes, and values influence the direction of technological development. (Grades 5 - 8) More Details

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###### New York - Math
• Use ratio reasoning to convert measurement units; manipulate and transform units appropriately when multiplying or dividing quantities. (Grade 6) More Details

Do you agree with this alignment?

• Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation. (Grade 6) More Details

Do you agree with this alignment?

• Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots. (Grade 6) More Details

Do you agree with this alignment?

• Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context, such as by: (Grade 6) More Details

Do you agree with this alignment?

###### New York - Science
• Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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Suggest an alignment not listed above

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### Introduction/Motivation

How are your unit projects going? Have you come up with some good ideas about how you might reduce your energy consumption? In this lesson, we will explore more closely how we use energy in our homes and identify some ideas for conserving energy or using it more efficiently. Recall these terms:

• Conservation – not using consumer energy products (for example, turning lights off, walking instead of driving)
• Efficiency – benefiting from the value of using energy (for example, still being mobile), but consuming much less energy to meet same goal (for example, using an automobile with high miles per gallon)

We use energy in our lives everyday. Our homes use energy in many ways. Home heating/cooling systems are the largest consumer of energy in most U.S. households. Heating water is also a large energy consumer. Refer to the three associated activities: Watt Meters to Measure Energy Consumption, Household Energy Audit, and Light vs. Heat Bulbs to illustrate the energy used from various electrical devices and household appliances using various approaches over a 3 day lesson plan.

Another large energy consumer category is electric lighting and appliances. (Refer to data in the Excel graphing activity, lesson 1, for specific information.) Our homes are filled with appliances that use electrical energy to work for us. Toasters, microwave ovens, televisions and computers are examples of the appliances we use everyday. We compare electrical energy use in units called watt-hours or kilowatt-hours. Lighting accounts for 20-25% of all the electricity used in the U.S. On average, a household uses 5-10% of its energy for lighting. A commercial industry on the other hand consumes 20-30% of its energy in lighting alone; 50% or more of the energy used is wasted by obsolete equipment, inadequate maintenance, or inefficient use.

Consumer demand for appliances that turn on quickly and LED lights that stay on all the time creates a constant "stand by" power requirement that can be very substantial. This power is sometimes called "leaking electricity." Unplugging these appliances is the only way to reduce the stand by power load. (Show some examples on computer, TV, other appliances that might be in the classroom.)

Energy savings for lighting will require either reduction in use or more efficient usage. New technologies have provided significant reductions in the power needed for lighting.

### Lesson Background and Concepts for Teachers

The use of electricity in the home was addressed in the graphing activity of lesson 1. Many of the concepts covered here were introduced (superficially) in that lesson. The general concepts of this lesson include:

1. Energy conservation can be defined as the protection, preservation, management, or restoration of our energy resources.
2. Conservation is one of the ways we can reduce energy use, thus reducing the amount of pollutants put into our atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels and reducing the negative effects resulting from the combustion of these fuels.
3. Conservation methods include modifications to our daily behaviors to reduce energy consumption (for example, turning off lights).
4. Efficiency can be achieved by choosing energy-efficient products. These products still provide work, light or heat, but do so with less energy consumption than less-efficient products.
• The U.S. EPA and U.S. Doe have a rating system to label energy efficient products and appliances. See EnergyStar at https://www.energystar.gov/
• Changing light bulbs to CFLs is one way to increase the efficiency of light bulb use. As shown in the light bulb options information provided below, many engineering advances in lighting systems have occurred recently. Learn about Energy Star light bulb ratings at https://www.energystar.gov/products/lighting_fans/light_bulbs

Light Bulb Options

75W incandescent equivalent bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)

See photo and product description at EarthEasy's website: http://eartheasy.com/live_energyeff_lighting.htm

• Wattage: 18 W (76% energy savings)
• Lasts: 8,000 hours
• Cost: \$22 per pack
• Requires special bulb recycling to collect and contain mercury

Cold cathode fluorescents (CCFLs)

18 watts = 75 watt incandescent equivalent

See photo and product description at: https://www.jacksonelectricsupply.com/BF40U20205_19B_p/bf40u20205-19b.htm

• Wattage: 18 W (76% energy savings)
• Lasts: 25,000 hours
• Low energy costs; less mercury then CFLs

Light Emitting Diode (LED)

The 5 Watt LED light:

• is efficient and cost effective
• is the most powerful direct replacement bulb
• fits standard sockets

See photo and product description at EarthTechProducts at: http://www.earthtechproducts.com/energy-saving-led-light-bulbs.html

• Wattage: 5 W (93% energy savings)
• Cost: \$60
• No mercury; expensive

### Associated Activities

• Watt Meters to Measure Energy Consumption - (Day 1) Students use watt meters to measure the power required and calculate energy used from various electrical devices and household appliances.
• Household Energy Audit - (Assign Day 1, Day2) Students review the electrical appliances used at home and estimate the energy used for each. The results can help to show the energy hogs that could benefit from conservation or improved efficiency. Combination in-class and homework activity.
• Light vs. Heat Bulbs - (Day 3) Students measure the light output and temperature (as a measure of heat output) for three types of light bulbs to identify why some light bulbs are more efficient (more light with less energy) than others.

### Vocabulary/Definitions

compact fluorescent lamp : (CFL) A modern light bulb that converts electricity into light through the excitation of

energy audit: A study of energy use and losses in a home, business or other system.

incandescent bulb: Traditional light bulb that converts electricity to light by heating a thin wire until it glows.

LED: A light emitting diode is a solid-state semiconductor device that converts electrical energy directly into light. The process of an electron moving in the semi-conductor releases energy and produces photons with visible wavelengths.

life cycle cost analysis: Analysis of the total capital and operating cost of a product.

### Assessment

Worksheet & Homework: Assign students the Light Bulbs Activity Worksheet and Homework. The homework may be redundant if a thorough home energy audit is also done.

Homework & Activity Sheets: Assign students the home energy audit homework/activity sheets.

### References

Energy Star. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs, U.S. EPA and U.S. Department of Energy. Accessed December 30, 2008. https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls

### Other Related Information

This lesson was originally published by the Clarkson University K-12 Project Based Learning Partnership Program and may be accessed at http://internal.clarkson.edu/highschool/k12/project/energysystems.html.

### Contributors

Jan DeWaters; Susan Powers; and a number of Clarkson and St. Lawrence University students in the K-12 Project Based Learning Partnership Program

### Supporting Program

Office of Educational Partnerships, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY

### Acknowledgements

This lesson was developed under National Science Foundation grant nos. DUE 0428127 and DGE 0338216. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.