Smart Meters Pri. Int. Sec. Ele

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1 Smart Meters Students explore smart meter technology, investigate electricity consumption of electrical devices, and determine ways to reduce energy consumption at home Grade Levels: Pri Int Intermediate Ele Sec Subject Areas: Science Social Studies Language Arts Math Technology

2 NEED Mission Statement Teacher Advisory Board Shelly Baumann Rockford, MI Constance Beatty Kankakee, IL Amy Constant Raleigh, NC Nina Corley Galveston, TX Regina Donour Whitesburg, KY Linda Fonner New Martinsville, WV Samantha Forbes Vienna, VA Michelle Garlick Barbara Lazar Albuquerque, NM Robert Lazar Albuquerque, NM Leslie Lively Porters Falls, WV Mollie Mukhamedov Port St. Lucie, FL Don Pruett Jr. Sumner, WA Josh Rubin Palo Alto, CA Joanne Spaziano Cranston, RI Gina Spencer Virginia Beach, VA The mission of The NEED Project is to promote an energy conscious and educated society by creating effective networks of students, educators, business, government and community leaders to design and deliver objective, multisided energy education programs. Teacher Advisory Board Statement In support of NEED, the national Teacher Advisory Board (TAB) is dedicated to developing and promoting standardsbased energy curriculum and training. Permission to Copy NEED materials may be reproduced for non-commercial educational purposes. Energy Data Used in NEED Materials NEED believes in providing the most recently reported energy data available to our teachers and students. Most statistics and data are derived from the U.S. Energy Information Administration s Annual Energy Review that is published yearly. Working in partnership with EIA, NEED includes easy to understand data in our curriculum materials. To do further research, visit the EIA website at EIA s Energy Kids site has great lessons and activities for students at Robert Griegoliet Naperville, IL Viola Henry Thaxton, VA Bob Hodash DaNel Hogan Tucson, AZ Greg Holman Paradise, CA Linda Hutton Kitty Hawk, NC Matthew Inman Spokane, WA Tom Spencer Chesapeake, VA Jennifer Trochez MacLean Los Angeles, CA Joanne Trombley West Chester, PA Jen Varrella Fort Collins, CO Jennifer Winterbottom Pottstown, PA Carolyn Wuest Pensacola, FL Wayne Yonkelowitz Fayetteville, WV Printed on Recycled Paper 2 Smart Meters

3 Smart Meters Table of Contents Message to the Teacher 4 Standards Correlation Information 5 Teacher Guide 6 Home Energy Usage 12 Analyzing My Energy Usage 13 Analyzing the Cost of Using Electricity 14 Understanding Baseline and the Electric Tier System 15 Electric Nameplates Investigation 16 Cost of Using Machines Investigation 17 Cost of Using Machines at Home 18 Saving Energy Actions 19 Saving Energy Action Plan 20 Student Informational Text Introduction to Energy 21 Electricity 24 Home Energy Efficiency and Conservation 27 Evaluation Form The NEED Project 8408 Kao Circle, Manassas, VA

4 Message to the Teacher From Ezra Garrett, Vice President, Pacific Gas & Electric Company A message to our educators. Without question, PG&E is committed to investing in education. Our Bright Ideas Grants, our PG&E Solar Schools Program and our awardwinning New Energy Academies all demonstrate our belief that today s educators shape the future. And our ongoing partnership with The National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project enhances our commitment to you and the important work you do. As NEED works with teachers in California and around the country, many have asked to learn more about the emerging technologies related to the Smart Grid and the delivery of electricity and natural gas to homes and schools. Naturally, PG&E was pleased to work with educators and industry experts to respond to this request. From this collaboration, the new Smart Meters curriculum module was launched. Focusing on energy delivery, energy efficiency and conservation in our local communities, this module reinforces the need to conserve our natural resources. The recommended classroom activities encourage students to use and develop their math, science, and technology skills. Extensive backgrounders are available for students to read, explore, and share what they have learned with their peers and their families. The lessons and video, created by our partner ConnectEd, will provide students with a deeper understanding of the electricity grid of the future. Learning about these technologies at an early age will prepare your students to become informed consumers of energy in the future. All of us at PG&E commend you for your efforts in the classroom every day. We hope that these resources and teacher workshops will provide you with new ideas to inspire students to learn about energy in the classroom and at home. Sincerely, Ezra C. Garrett Vice President, Community Relations Chief Sustainability Officer The NEED Project P.O. Box Manassas, VA Smart Meters

5 Standards Correlation Information Next Generation Science Standards This guide effectively supports many Next Generation Science Standards. This material can satisfy performance expectations, science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and cross cutting concepts within your required curriculum. For more details on these correlations, please visit NEED s curriculum correlations website. Common Core State Standards This guide has been correlated to the Common Core State Standards in both language arts and mathematics. These correlations are broken down by grade level and guide title, and can be downloaded as a spreadsheet from the NEED curriculum correlations website. Individual State Science Standards This guide has been correlated to each state s individual science standards. These correlations are broken down by grade level and guide title, and can be downloaded as a spreadsheet from the NEED website The NEED Project 8408 Kao Circle, Manassas, VA

6 Teacher Guide Grade Level Intermediate, grades 6-8 : Web Resources PG&E PG&E Smart Meters Video education/smcurriculum The NEED Project : NEED Online Resources NEED has many curriculum pieces available to support and extend your Smart Meters unit. The following guides (and many more) can be downloaded for free from Energy Conservation Contract Energy Enigma Energy Games and Icebreakers Energy on Stage Great Energy Debate Learning and Conserving Monitoring and Mentoring Plug Loads Saving Energy Expo School Energy Survey Science of Energy Understanding Climate Change toverview Smart Meters introduces students to the concepts of energy, energy consumption, economics, conservation and efficiency, electricity generation, the smart grid, and smart meter technology using nonfiction text and a series of activities that involve hands-on learning, monitoring energy use, teaching others, and changing behaviors. This unit uses students homes and the local school as real-world laboratories. While this unit was originally designed for use in the PG&E service area, the activities translate well for any customer whose utility provider utilizes smart meters. Simply familiarize yourself with your utility s online customer account management site before selecting and assigning activities. Time The sequence of lessons was designed for a 50 minute class period. In this setting, the unit will take 2-3 Notebooks Throughout this module, it is recommended that students record their observations, data, and notes in science notebooks. Student worksheets have been included in this guide. You may choose to use these instead of science notebooks. Or, as appropriate, you may want to make copies of worksheets and have your students glue or tape the copies into their notebooks. Lesson 1: Analyzing Home Energy Usage & Background Students will observe and analyze their family s home energy usage over 24 hours. This lesson introduces students to smart meter technology and helps students recognize how much energy their family uses every day. Students will utilize PG&E s website, My Energy, to complete activities, or their local utility s customer account management site. Objectives Students will be able to describe how a smart meter works. Students will be able to quantitatively describe their home energy use. Time Introductory discussion and brainstorming, 30 minutes Students home observations, 24 hours Using Smart Meter Technology, 30 minutes Analyzing My Energy Usage, 60 minutes 2 Preparation Familiarize yourself with the My Energy website. Online tutorials can be found at myenergyhelp. If using a different utility provider s site, compare graphing activities and data provided to adjust directions as needed. Copy the Home Energy Usage and Analyzing My Energy Usage worksheets for each student, if necessary (pages 12-13). Also prepare copies of the student informational text for each student (pages 21-31). 6 Smart Meters

7 If necessary, work with students to generate a letter to their parents or to create a presentation that explains why the class is studying home energy use, smart meter technology, and the benefit of saving money by using less energy. In order for students to analyze their family s energy usage, they will need permission to access their family s customer account. Students should write down their family s log in information (username and password) to log in on PG&E s My Energy web page or their local utility s site. Families without an account can sign up online at or with their utility provider. To demonstrate the account management site to the class, set up a computer with internet access projected onto a screen. You will need your personal account username and password to log in. Secure computer access for students. 4 Procedure PART ONE INTRODUCTORY DISCUSSION 1. Take a quick class survey. Do you believe your family uses an appropriate amount of energy, an excessive amount, or much less than other families? Let students share examples to support their beliefs. 2. Ask students if they believe it is important for people to use less energy. What difference will it make in your home, community, or to the world? 3. Discuss quantitative ways to measure how much energy a home is consuming (an electricity bill shows how many kilowatt-hours used, a utility bill has a dollar amount on it, a natural gas bill shows number of therms used, counting the number of hours an appliance is running, etc.). 4. Discuss ways a home consumes energy (appliances use electricity, furnaces burn natural gas, fireplaces burn wood, barbecue grills burn propane, etc.). 5. Assign students to read the student informational text. 6. On a blank sheet of paper, ask students to brainstorm a list of energy consuming actions or energy consuming devices used daily at home. Suggestions include: air conditioner electrical heating system hot water heater pool heat pump dishwasher washing machine clothes dryer refrigerator freezer kitchen appliance microwave stove/oven toaster oven coffee maker incandescent light bulb compact fluorescent light bulb LED light porch light night light flood light desk lamp humidifier fan shower/bath taken bathroom appliance hair dryer curling iron/flat iron computer monitor printer video game console TV satellite/cable box DVR DVD player stereo telephone answering machine cell phone charger PART TWO HOME OBSERVATIONS 1. For homework, students will log everything going on in their home for a 24 hour period using the Home Energy Usage log. Students should note times appliances are used, number of showers, hours watching TV/computer or playing video games, sleeping, etc. Encourage students to get their families involved, too. Students should leave the log in a central location so family members can write down energy consuming devices they use when the student is not available. NOTE: Students should complete the log 2-3 calendar days prior to starting the analysis activities. This will allow time for the utility to upload hourly data to the account management website. For example, students can complete the log on a Friday to begin analysis on Monday. PART THREE USING SMART METER TECHNOLOGY 1. Ask students to complete a timed quick-writing activity prompting them with the following: What do you think a digital smart meter is? How might you use one at home? CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE 2015 The NEED Project 8408 Kao Circle, Manassas, VA

8 2. Have students review information about the electricity grid and smart meters by reading pages and Watch the short video on smart meters produced by PG&E at 4. Have students review their brainstorming activity from part one and discuss the following using a turn-and-talk, parking lot, or class discussion format: What is a digital smart meter? What does it do? Where is it located in your home? Have you looked at it? What is the advantage for the utility company in putting smart meters in homes? How can your family benefit from a smart meter? How can your family use the information the smart meter provides about your home energy use? PART FOUR ANALYZING MY ENERGY USAGE 1. Demonstrate how to access the PG&E My Energy website or local utility website. Log into your own account, and display your personal home energy usage for the same 24 hours students observed in their own homes. Demonstrate how to interpret the online graphs, display data by day or year, and discuss the information on the graphs displayed by clicking the usage and costs buttons, if applicable. 2. Display your energy usage by day. Ask students to see if they can determine the amount of kilowatt-hours consumed each hour. Scroll over each point on the line graph and show students how this represents the amount of kilowatt-hours of electricity consumed each hour. 3. If student computer access is limited, assign Analyzing My Energy Usage (page 13) to be completed at home, otherwise complete it in class. 4. Finally, have students answer the conclusion questions and discuss the following as a class: According to your log, when did your family use the most energy consuming devices? What activities were occurring during those times? According to the data collected by your home s smart meter, when did your family consume the most kilowatt-hours of electricity? Identify and make correlations about what was occurring in low energy use times (maybe sleeping) and during a spike in the afternoon (doing loads of laundry, cooking dinner in the oven, running the dishwasher, etc.). Compare the energy use of the whole class. What time span or hour of the day had the most and least energy usage? Why? What was happening in your homes during those hours? If every home in our city or town is using this much energy at a peak time, will there be enough electricity for everyone? How does a utility company handle this? Lesson 2: The Cost of Using Electricity & Background This activity uses generic, pre-prepared, computerized graphs of energy consumption. For a more appropriate local discussion, print your own graphs using your own account and ask students to analyze local information graphically. Objectives Students will list the factors that affect the cost of a kilowatt-hour of electricity. Students will determine how much energy appliances consume and the cost of running the appliances. Time Analyzing the Cost of Using Electricity and Understanding Baseline and the Electric Tier System, 45 minutes Electric Nameplates and the Cost of Using Machines, 60 minutes 2 Preparation Copy Analyzing the Cost of Using Electricity, Understanding Baseline and the Electric Tier System, Electric Nameplates Investigation, Cost of Using Machines Investigation, and Cost of Using Machines at Home activities for each student, if necessary (pages 14-18). Secure computer access for students. CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE 8 Smart Meters

9 4 Procedure PART ONE ANALYZING THE COST OF USING ELECTRICITY 1. Work through the Analyzing the Cost of Using Electricity worksheet with the class. Answer Key Month: August 724 kwh Utility bill amount $114 Give two probable reasons why this family used more energy during this month. For example, since it is summer, the weather may be hot and humid. The family might be using an air conditioning system. More family members could be home on summer vacation, using more appliances and more energy. The family could have a pool and are running a heat pump or filter. Day of the week: Sunday Date: November 6, kwh How much did they pay for electricity on this day? $2.80 PART TWO UNDERSTANDING BASELINE AND THE ELECTRIC TIER SYSTEM 1. Work through the Understanding Baseline and the Electric Tier System worksheet with the class. 2. If your state s utilities use baseline quantities and a tiered system to determine the rate of a kwh of electricity on your utility bill, you will want to review and discuss how the system works with your students. Check your utility s website to see if they have examples and explanations. PG&E explains their tiered system here: 3. Help students understand that when their home uses an excess amount of energy (above their baseline amount), their electricity costs more per kwh. Using less energy will save more money for their families. Answer Key What are some immediate actions the family could take to use less energy and save more money at the end of this billing cycle? Turn off the air conditioner in summer or turn up the temperature on the thermostat. Turn down the temperature on electric heaters in winter. Do not run the dishwasher, washing machine, or electric clothes dryer during peak hours. Turn off extra lights and appliances. Keep showers short. How could monitoring their energy usage using a smart meter benefit this family? The family would recognize they are using too much energy earlier in the month, and can make energy conserving choices sooner, saving more money. 4. Encourage students to log into their smart meter account and review their family s energy use over the past year. Discuss: How much did your family pay for electricity in the past 12 months? What is your family s baseline amount this season? Has your family paid for electricity above your baseline? Why do you think that happened? How will you be aware so it doesn t happen again? What action can you take to keep your family s use within your baseline this month? PART THREE ELECTRIC NAMEPLATES AND THE COST OF USING MACHINES 1. Guide students through the instructions for the Electric Nameplates Investigation (page 16) and the Cost of Using Machines Investigation (page 17). Let students work in small groups to complete. 2. For homework, have students complete Cost of Using Machines at Home (page 18). Brainstorm a list of possible machines, appliances, and electronic gadgets for students to investigate. Encourage students to investigate their most used, favorite, electronic devices. Some suggestions: cell phone charger, video game console, laptop power supply, hair dryer, set-top cable box or DVR, microwave, refrigerator. Remind students that some electronics, like a clothes dryer, may not be safely accessible, and therefore, not a good choice. 3. Discuss the conclusion questions with students. Extension Go beyond the Cost of Using Machines Investigation to teach students about carbon dioxide emissions and environmental impacts. Understanding Climate Change, available at encourages students to think about the impacts of energy use. Students create action plans to make changes in their lives that will reduce their carbon footprints The NEED Project 8408 Kao Circle, Manassas, VA

10 Lesson 3: Saving Energy Saves Money Objectives Students will be able to develop a saving energy action plan for their homes. Students will be able to educate their families about smart meter technology and ways to save energy and money on the family electric bill. Time Student research and discussion, 45 minutes Saving Energy Action Plan, 60 minutes Creating a Saving Energy Action Plan presentation, several days depending on complexity of presentations Wrap it up discussion, 45 minutes 2 Preparation Copy Saving Energy Actions and Saving Energy Action Plan (pages 19-20) for each student, if needed. Secure computer access for students. 4 Procedure 1. Give students time to research energy saving tips and suggestions either in class or as homework. Suggested websites for student research include: Your utility s website may have a section on energy saving ideas. 2. Students should record their research and ideas on the Saving Energy Actions worksheet. Remind students to write down tips and suggestions that they can actually accomplish with the cooperation of their family members. For example, if a home does not have an air conditioning system in it, writing down We will set our air conditioner to 78 degrees during the summer is not an action that will change the family s energy usage. 3. Let students share their energy saving tips with each other, and discuss those that will have the greatest impact for most families. Are there challenges or obstacles to implementing any of the energy saving action ideas? For example, purchasing a new ENERGY STAR rated appliance would save a lot of energy, but may be out of the family s immediate budget. 4. Have students choose a favorite saving energy action and expand upon it in the Saving Energy Action Plan. 5. Brainstorm with students ways to share their knowledge about electricity usage, smart meter technology, energy saving tips, and their Saving Energy Action Plan with their families. Students could create a podcast, video, website, PowerPoint presentation, design a brochure, or write a letter. Give students time to prepare their presentations and practice with each other. 6. Have students present their Saving Energy Action Plans to their families and work together to save energy at home. Encourage students to tackle as many saving energy measures as possible, perhaps focusing on a new saving energy idea each month until actions become automatic habits. 7. After several months, have students log into their smart meter accounts and review their home energy usage. Compare monthly data to the same month of the previous years. Look at total kilowatt-hour usage and the costs per month. 8. Discuss as a class: How successful was your saving energy action plan? If your utility bill decreased compared to last year, explain your success. If your home s energy use stayed the same or increased, why do you think this happened? Is your family using smart meter technology to manage your home s energy use? Why or why not? 10 Smart Meters

11 Extensions Encourage students to make a contract with their parents. If energy savings goals are met, suggest that parents share the profits of their savings with their child. NEED s Saving Energy Expo, available in the Energy Expo guide at is a week-long project that will challenge students to research, prepare a presentation, and teach each other about topics such as: Energy Consumption in the U.S., Why Saving Energy is Important, Heating, Cooling, Lighting, Water Heating, Electrical Devices and Appliances, and Taking Care of Trash. Using NEED s Energy Conservation Contract, students work with their family members to rate their energy usage behaviors, and commit to making positive changes that will save energy The NEED Project 8408 Kao Circle, Manassas, VA

12 e Home Energy Usage? Question How much energy does your family use on an average day? In order to analyze how much energy your family uses, you need to be aware of all the energy consuming activities going on in your home. Each hour, record the energy consuming devices in use in your home. Encourage family members to write down their activities on the log, too. Use additional paper as needed. Don t forget to include devices that run automatically, such as a refrigerator or air conditioner. 24 Hour Log Sheet Home Energy Usage Date: 12:00am 12:00pm 1:00am 1:00pm 2:00am 2:00pm 3:00am 3:00pm 4:00am 4:00pm 5:00am 5:00pm 6:00am 6:00pm 7:00am 7:00pm 8:00am 8:00pm 9:00am 9:00pm 10:00am 10:00pm 11:00am 11:00pm 12 Smart Meters

13 e Analyzing My Energy Usage? Question How does your family use energy? 4 Procedure 1. Log into your family s smart meter account, and review the different graphs of your family s energy use. 2. Display energy usage by day. Calculate and record the number of kwh used each hour next to the corresponding time on the Home Energy Usage log. 3. Draw the energy usage by day line graph in the space below. Remember to label your graph and insert the date. 4. On your graph, identify and label any areas of high energy use, extremely high energy use, or very low energy use. 5. Refer to your notes on the 24 hour log to identify what was happening in your home during these times. Which appliances were running? What activities were taking place? On the graph, write in brief notes about what was happening during these time periods. Graph Conclusions 1. Explain how the smart meter data and the information on your log correlate to create a picture of your family s home energy usage. 2. Did the weather have any effect on the amount of energy your family used during the 24 hours? How? 3. What did you learn about your family s energy use habits during your observation and evaluation? 2015 The NEED Project 8408 Kao Circle, Manassas, VA

14 Analyzing the Cost of Using Electricity Graph Data Use the graphs below to answer the questions that follow.? Questions Look at the graphs for the past 12 months. In which month did this family use the most kwhs of electricity? Month: kwh Utility bill amount $ Give two probable reasons why this family used more energy during this month ? Questions During this billing cycle, on which day did the family consume the most kwhs of electricity? Day of the week: Date: kwh How much did they pay for electricity on this day? $ 14 Smart Meters

15 Understanding Baseline and the Electric Tier System & Background As your family uses more energy each billing cycle, the cost of a kwh of electricity increases. Electric tiers work like many mobile phone plans you get a low rate when your use stays within certain limits. If you go over your allotted kwh, you will be charged a higher rate, just as if you went over the allotted minutes or data in your mobile phone plan. PG&E has a tier rate structure where each additional increment, or tier, of use beyond the baseline level is charged at a higher price. In this graph, Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 are different shades. As the family used more energy during the billing cycle, they used more than their baseline allotment, and moved into Tier 2 and then Tier 3. This family could have received a text message from their utility company alerting them they were moving into a more expensive tier.? Questions 1. What are some immediate actions the family could take to use less energy and save more money at the end of this billing cycle? A. B. C. 2. How could monitoring their energy usage using a smart meter benefit this family? 3. Log into your account and review your family s energy use over the past year. What is your family s baseline amount this season? Has your family paid for electricity above your baseline? Why do you think that happened? How will you be aware so it doesn t happen again? Conclusion 1. What action can you take to keep your family s use within your baseline this month? 2015 The NEED Project 8408 Kao Circle, Manassas, VA

16 Electric Nameplates Electric Nameplates Investigation Some appliances use more energy than others to accomplish the same task. Appliances that are very energy efficient are approved by the government s ENERGY STAR program and have the ENERGY STAR label on them. This means they have met high standards set Some appliances use more by the energy government than others to for accomplish energy efficiency. the same task. Appliances that are very energy efficient are approved by the government s ENERGY STAR program and have the ENERGY STAR label on them. This means they have met high standards set by the government for energy efficiency. Every machine that runs on electricity has an electric nameplate on it. The nameplate is usually a silver sticker that looks like the picture below. The nameplate has information about the amount of electricity the machine uses. Sometimes, the current is listed. The current is measured in amperes (A). Sometimes, the voltage the machine needs is listed. The voltage is listed in volts (V). Sometimes, the wattage is listed. The wattage is measured in watts (W). If the wattage isn t listed, then the current and voltage are both listed. If the wattage is not listed, you can calculate the wattage using the following formula: wattage = current x voltage Every machine that runs on electricity has an electric nameplate on it. The nameplate is usually a silver sticker that looks like the picture below. The nameplate has information about the amount of electricity the machine uses. Sometimes, the current is listed. The current is measured in amperes (A). Sometimes, the voltage the machine needs is listed. The voltage is listed in volts (V). Sometimes, the wattage is listed. The wattage is measured in watts (W). If the wattage isn t listed, then the current and voltage are both listed. If the wattage isn t listed, you can calculate the wattage using the following formula, like this: W = A x V wattage = current x voltage W W = = 1.0A A x x 5V V W W = = 5W1.0A x 5V W = 5W Often, the letters UL are on the nameplate. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., which conducts tests on thousands of machines and appliances. The UL mark means that samples of the machines and appliances have been tested to make sure they are safe. You can find out how much it costs to operate any appliance or machine if you know the wattage. Let s take a look at some of the machines in your school. The nameplate is usually located on the bottom or back. See if you can find the nameplates on the computers, printers, monitors, televisions, and other machines in your classroom. Put the information in the chart below and figure out the wattage for each one. Often, the letters UL are on the nameplate. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., which conducts tests on thousands of machines and appliances. The UL mark means that samples of the machines and appliances have been tested to make sure they are safe. You can find out how much it costs to operate any appliance or machine if you know the wattage. Take a look at some of the machines in your school. The nameplate is usually located on the bottom or back. See if you can find the nameplates on the computers, printers, monitors, televisions, and other machines in your classroom. Put the information in the chart below and figure out the wattage for each one. MACHINE CURRENT VOLTAGE WATTAGE UL TESTED Machine Current Voltage Wattage UL tested Copier 11A 115V 1,265W yes Copier 11 A 115 V 1,265 W yes 16 Smart Meters

17 Cost of Using Machines Investigation Calculate how much it costs to operate the machines in your classroom that you looked at before. You need to know the wattage, the cost of electricity, and the number of hours a week each machine is used. You can estimate the number of hours the machine is used each week, then multiply by 40 to get the yearly use. We are using 40 weeks for schools, because school buildings aren t used every week of the year. Using the copier as an example, if it is used for ten hours each week, we can find the yearly use like this: Yearly use = 10 hours/week x 40 weeks/year = 400 hours/year Remember that electricity is measured in kilowatt-hours. You will need to change the watts to kilowatts. One kilowatt is equal to 1,000 watts. To get kilowatts, you must divide the watts by 1,000. Using the copier as an example, divide like this: kw = W/1,000 kw = 1,265/1,000 = The average cost of electricity for schools in the U.S. is about ten cents ($0.10) a kilowatt-hour. You can use this rate or find out the actual rate from your school s electric bill. Using the average cost of electricity, we can figure out how much it costs to run the copier for a year by using this formula: Yearly cost = Hours used x Kilowatts x Cost of electricity (kwh) Yearly cost = 400 hours/year x kw x $0.10/kWh Yearly cost = 400 x x 0.10 = $50.60 MACHINE OR APPLIANCE HOURS PER WEEK HOURS PER YEAR WATTS (W) KILOWATTS (kw) RATE ($/kwh) ANNUAL COST Copier hours 1,265 W kw $0.10 $ The NEED Project 8408 Kao Circle, Manassas, VA

18 Cost of Using Machines at Home Calculate the cost of using your favorite electronic chargers, gadgets, and appliances. Use the electric nameplates of each device to complete the calculations in the first table. Then, calculate the annual cost of each device in the second table. The formulas below can help in your calculations. Table 1: Power Consumption wattage = current x voltage W = A x V kw = W/1,000 MACHINE OR APPLIANCE CURRENT VOLTAGE WATTAGE UL TESTED Table 2: Annual Cost The average cost of electricity in the U.S. for homes is about twelve cents ($0.12) a kilowatt-hour. You can use this rate or find out the actual rate for your home from your family s electric bill, or from your smart meter account. Yearly cost = Hours used x Kilowatts x Rate MACHINE OR APPLIANCE WATTS KILOWATTS HOURS PER WEEK HOURS PER YEAR RATE ($/KWH) ANNUAL COST Conclusions 1. Name some electrical devices or appliances in your home that use a lot more energy than others. Why do these items use more energy to operate? 2. Were you surprised by the annual cost of any electrical device or appliance? 3. What actions can your family take so that these electrical devices and appliances consume less energy and cost less money to operate? 18 Smart Meters

19 OFF Saving Energy Actions Some energy saving actions have no, or very little, cost and are relatively easy to implement. These actions often involve changing how you use energy. Some actions require moderate costs, while others are more expensive and might be actions to take in the future. Brainstorm as many different saving energy actions as you can for each of these categories. NO/LOW COST ENERGY SAVINGS IDEAS These ideas can be implemented right away. MODERATE COST ENERGY SAVINGS IDEAS These ideas may need some planning to implement. EXPENSIVE ENERGY SAVINGS IDEAS These ideas require planning ahead and may take place further in the future The NEED Project 8408 Kao Circle, Manassas, VA

20 OFF Saving Energy Action Plan Choose one saving energy action from page 19 that offers an opportunity for your family to reduce the amount of electricity used in your home. Use this guide to create a Saving Energy Action Plan. Use a separate piece of paper as needed. What is your saving energy goal? What saving energy action will you take to meet your goal? How will this action help you meet your goal? Who can help you make this action successful? Steps to implement this action in your home: Are there challenges or obstacles to implementing this in your home? What will determine success for your action and when will success be met? How can your smart meter help you monitor your progress toward meeting your goal? How will you teach your family the benefits of smart meter technology and monitoring? Develop a timeline for each step you plan to take. Take notes and document your progress in your science notebook. 20 Smart Meters

21 e STUDENT INFORMATIONAL TEXT Introduction to Energy Introduction to Energy The United States uses a lot of energy. With less than five percent of the world s population, we consume just under 20 percent of the world s energy resources. All of us use energy every day for getting from one place to another, cooking, heating and cooling rooms, making products, lighting, heating water, using and charging electronics, and entertainment. We use a lot of energy to make our lives comfortable, productive, and enjoyable. Most of that energy is from nonrenewable energy sources. It is important that we use our energy resources wisely. Forms of Energy Energy is found in different forms, such as light, heat, sound, and motion. There are many forms of energy, but they can all be put into two categories: potential and kinetic. POTENTIAL ENERGY Potential energy is stored energy and the energy of position, or gravitational potential energy. There are several forms of potential energy. Chemical Energy is energy stored in the bonds of molecules. It is the energy that holds these particles together. Biomass, petroleum, natural gas, and propane are examples of stored chemical energy. Elastic Energy is energy stored in objects by the application of a force. Compressed springs and stretched rubber bands are examples of elastic energy. Nuclear Energy is energy stored in the nucleus of an atom; it is the energy that holds the nucleus together. The energy can be released when the nuclei are combined or split apart. Nuclear power plants split the nuclei of uranium atoms in a process called fission. The sun combines the nuclei of small atoms, mostly hydrogen, in a process called fusion. Gravitational Potential Energy is the energy of position or place. A rock resting at the top of a hill contains gravitational potential energy. Hydropower, such as water in a reservoir behind a dam, is an example of gravitational potential energy. KINETIC ENERGY Kinetic energy is the energy of motion; it is the motion of waves, electrons, atoms, molecules, substances, and objects. Electrical Energy is the movement of electrons. Everything is made of tiny particles called atoms. Atoms are made of even smaller particles called electrons, protons, and neutrons. Electrons are always moving. Applying a force can make some of the electrons move faster or in a desired direction. Electrons moving through a wire are called electricity. Lightning is another example of electrical energy. Population Versus Energy Consumption, 2013 UNITED STATES 4.45% Hydropower Plant RESERVOIR STORED POTENTIAL ENERGY GATE WORLD POPULATION DAM KINETIC ENERGY UNITED STATES 18.49% WORLD ENERGY CONSUMPTION REST OF THE WORLD 95.55% REST OF THE WORLD 81.51% Data: Energy Information Administration RIVER KINETIC ENERGY Radiant Energy is electromagnetic energy that travels in transverse waves. Radiant energy includes visible light, x-rays, gamma rays, and radio waves. Light is one type of radiant energy. Solar energy is an example of radiant energy. Thermal Energy, or heat, is the internal energy in substances; it is the vibration and movement of the atoms and molecules within substances. The more thermal energy in a substance, the faster the atoms and molecules vibrate and move. Geothermal energy is an example of thermal energy. Motion Energy is the movement of objects and substances from one place to another. Objects and substances move when a force is applied according to Newton s Laws of Motion. Wind is an example of motion energy. Sound Energy is the movement of energy through substances in longitudinal (compression/rarefaction) waves. Sound is produced when a force causes an object or substance to vibrate; the energy is transferred through the substance in a longitudinal wave The NEED Project 8408 Kao Circle, Manassas, VA

22 Sources of Energy We use many different sources to meet our energy needs, all of which have advantages and disadvantages. Some are cheap; others are expensive. Some contribute to global warming; others are pollutionfree. Some are limited in their supplies; others are abundant. Some are always available; others are only available part of the time. Energy sources are classified into two groups renewable and nonrenewable. In the United States, most of our energy comes from nonrenewable energy sources. Coal, petroleum, natural gas, propane, and uranium are nonrenewable energy sources. They are used to make electricity, heat our homes, move our cars, and manufacture all kinds of products. They are called nonrenewable because the reserves of the fuels are limited. Petroleum, for example, was formed hundreds of millions of years ago from the remains of ancient sea plants and animals. We cannot make more petroleum in a short time. Renewable energy sources include biomass, geothermal energy, hydropower, solar energy, and wind energy. They are called renewable because they are replenished by nature in a short time. Day after day, the sun shines, the wind blows, the rivers flow, and plants grow. Heat from inside the Earth geothermal energy is continuously made by the radioactive decay of elements in the Earth s core. We can harness this renewable energy to do work for us. We use renewable energy sources mainly to make electricity. Is electricity a renewable or nonrenewable source of energy? The answer is neither. Electricity is different from the other sources because it is a secondary source of energy. That means we have to use another source of energy to make it. In the United States, coal is the number one fuel for generating electricity. Energy Efficiency and Conservation The choices we make about using energy have environmental and economic impacts. There are many things we can do to use less energy and use it wisely. These actions include both energy conservation and energy efficiency. Energy conservation is any action that results in using less energy. Energy efficiency focuses on technologies that use less energy to perform the same tasks. Buying a dryer that uses less energy is an example of energy efficiency. Drying clothes outside on sunny days is an example of energy conservation. Law of Conservation of Energy The Law of Conservation of Energy is not about saving energy. The law states that energy is neither created nor destroyed. When we use energy, it does not disappear; we change it from one form into another. A car engine, for example, burns gasoline, converting the chemical energy in the gasoline into useful motion; some of the energy is also converted into light, sound, and heat. Solar cells convert radiant energy into electrical energy. Energy changes form, but the total amount of energy in the universe remains the same. U.S. Energy Consumption by Source, 2013 NONRENEWABLE, 90.47% Petroleum 35.20% Uses: transportation, manufacturing Natural Gas 26.59% Uses: electricity, heating, manufacturing Coal 18.52% Uses: electricity, manufacturing Uranium 8.47% Uses: electricity Propane 1.69% Uses: heating, manufacturing Data: Energy Information Administration *Total does not equal 100% due to independent rounding. Energy Transformations Chemical Radiant Motion Growth RENEWABLE, 9.52% Biomass 4.73% Uses: electricity, heating, transportation Hydropower 2.62% Uses: electricity Wind 1.63% Uses: electricity Solar 0.31% Uses: electricity, heating Geothermal 0.23% Uses: electricity, heating Chemical Electrical Motion Heat 22 Smart Meters

23 Energy Efficiency Energy efficiency is the amount of useful energy produced by a system compared to the energy input. A perfect energy-efficient machine would convert all of the input energy into useful work, which currently does not exist. Converting one form of energy into another form always involves a loss of usable energy. This is called a conversion loss and is usually in the form of heat. This waste heat spreads out quickly into the surroundings and is very difficult to recapture. A typical coal-fired plant converts about 35 percent of the energy in the coal into electricity. The rest of the energy is lost as heat. A hydropower plant, on the other hand, converts about 95 percent of the energy in the water flowing through the system into electricity. Most energy transformations are not very efficient. The human body is a good example. Your body is like a machine, and the fuel for your machine is food. The typical body is less than five percent efficient at converting food into useful work such as moving, thinking, and controlling body processes. The rest is converted to heat. The efficiency of a typical gasoline powered car is about 15 percent. Energy Sustainability Efficiency and conservation are key components of energy sustainability the concept that every generation should meet its energy needs without compromising the needs of future generations. Sustainability focuses on long-term actions that make sure there is enough energy to meet today s needs as well as tomorrow s. Sustainability also includes the development of new clean technologies for using fossil fuels, promoting the use of renewable energy sources, and encouraging policies that protect the environment. Sectors of the Economy The U.S. Department of Energy classifies energy users into categories: residential/commercial, industrial, and transportation. These categories are called the sectors of the economy. Residences are people s homes. Commercial buildings include office buildings, hospitals, stores, restaurants, and schools. Residential and commercial energy use are lumped together because homes and businesses use energy in the same ways for heating, air conditioning, water heating, lighting, and operating appliances. The residential/commercial sector of the economy consumed about 40 percent of the total energy supply in 2013, more energy than either of the other sectors, with a total of quads of energy. The two sources providing the most energy to residences and commercial buildings are natural gas and electricity. Together they provide more than 80 percent of the energy consumed by the residential/commercial sector. We use other sources like coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydropower, and wind to produce electricity. However, when we track the electricity consumed by the different sectors, the individual source of the electricity is not tracked. Efficiency of a Thermal Power Plant Most thermal power plants are about 35 percent efficient. Of the 100 units of energy that go into a plant, 65 units are lost as one form of energy is converted to other forms. The remaining 35 units of energy leave the plant to do usable work. ELECTRICITY THERMAL ENERGY TRANSMISSION FUEL SUPPLY 100 units of energy go in CHEMICAL ENERGY 1 FUEL BURNING Fuel Sources For Boilers 3 STEAM LINE BOILER 2 FEED WATER ELECTRICITY GENERATION GENERATOR TURBINE 5 4 CONDENSER MOTION ENERGY Petroleum Coal Natural Gas Biomass ELECTRICAL ENERGY SWITCHYARD 6 35 units of energy come out How a Thermal Power Plant Works 1. Fuel is fed into a boiler, where it is burned (except for uranium which is fissioned) to release thermal energy. 2. Water is piped into the boiler and heated, turning it into steam. 3. The steam travels at high pressure through a steam line. 4. The high pressure steam turns a turbine, which spins a shaft. 5. Inside the generator, the shaft spins a ring of magnets inside coils of copper wire. This creates an electric field, producing electricity. 6. Electricity is sent to a switchyard, where a transformer increases the voltage, allowing it to travel through the electric grid. U.S. Energy Consumption by Sector, 2013 INDUSTRIAL 31.90% Top Industrial Sources: Petroleum Natural Gas Biomass COMMERCIAL 18.45% Top Commercial Sources: Natural Gas Petroleum Biomass TRANSPORTATION 27.89% Top Transportation Sources: Petroleum Biomass Natural Gas RESIDENTIAL 21.76% Top Residential Sources: Natural Gas Petroleum Biomass Data: Energy Information Administration Note: Electricity generation is included within the sector data The NEED Project 8408 Kao Circle, Manassas, VA

24 Electricity Electricity Electricity is the flow of electric power or charge. Electricity is naturally occurring in nature, but we also generate a lot of electricity to meet our everyday needs. Power plants use huge turbine generators to generate the electricity that we use in our homes and businesses. Power plants use many fuels to spin the turbines. They can burn coal, oil, or natural gas to make steam to spin turbines. They can split atoms of uranium to heat water into steam. They can also use the power of rushing water from a dam or the wind to spin the turbine. Fuels Used to Generate Electricity Three basic types of power plants generate most of the electricity in the United States fossil fuel, nuclear, and hydropower. There are also wind, geothermal, waste-to-energy, and solar power plants, but they only generate about six percent of the electricity produced in the United States. Fossil Fuel Power Plants: Fossil fuel plants burn coal, natural gas, or oil. These plants use the chemical energy in fossil fuels to superheat water into steam, which drives a turbine generator. Fossil fuel plants are sometimes called thermal power plants because they use heat to generate electricity. Coal is the fossil fuel of choice for most electric companies, producing percent of total U.S. electricity. Natural gas plants produce percent. Petroleum produces less than one percent of the electricity in the U.S. Nuclear Power Plants: Nuclear plants generate electricity much as fossil fuel plants do except that the furnace is called a reactor and the fuel is uranium. In a nuclear plant, a reactor splits uranium atoms into smaller elements, producing heat in the process. The heat is used to superheat water into high-pressure steam, which drives a turbine generator. Nuclear power plants are called thermal plants because they use heat to generate electricity. Nuclear energy produces percent of the electricity in the U.S. Hydropower Plants: Hydropower plants use the gravitational force of falling water to generate electricity. Hydropower is the least expensive way to produce electricity in this country, but there are few places where new dams can be built. There are some existing dams that could be retrofitted with turbines and generators. Hydropower is called a renewable energy source because it is renewed continuously during the natural water cycle. Hydropower produces five to ten percent of the electricity in the U.S., depending upon the amount of precipitation. Comparing U.S. and California In-State Electricity Portfolios, % 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 39.08% Coal 7.82% 27.44% 44.31% Natural Gas 19.44% 8.84% Uranium 0.66% Petroleum 0.01% 6.52% 9.05% Hydropower 1.48% 2.67% Biomass 4.13% 8.55% Wind 0.41% 4.45% Geothermal 0.23% Solar 1.82% 0.60% 12.49% Unspecified/ Other California emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other state except Texas. In an effort to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, California has implemented policies that will help them reduce emissions to their 1990 levels. California s electricity generation mix reflects their air quality standards, and their goal to generate 33 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by U.S. CA Data: U.S. Energy Information Administration and California Energy Almanac 24 Smart Meters

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