Energy Use Adds Up
Adapted from AVR - Teachers' Resource Guide, by Association for Vermont Recyclers
Back to Trash Goes To School

SUBJECT AREAS: math, economics, social studies
CONCEPT: Producing energy costs us money, affects our environment, and produces waste products.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the amount of power used in your home and what appliances use the most.
- handout: Energy Consumption of Appliances
- home, school, or apartment to assess
KEYWORDS: kilowatt hour, wattage
BACKGROUND: As you will see upon completion of this activity, we use a lot of energy in our lives. Something as simple as leaving the television on for 8 hours can cost us 2656 watts. We tend to flip a switch without thinking about the source of the energy or the waste products produced as a result of our use. What are the environmental effects of power produced by water, burning, wind, sun, or nuclear reactions?
Using the attached list, check off the appliances you and your family use. List any others not included. (Check for wattage printed on the UNPLUGGED appliance.)
Estimate your hours of usage and find the total consumption per day. Find out the cost and source (oil, coal, gas, hydroelectric, nuclear) of energy from your local utility company, and add up your average daily energy cost. Then check off the appliances you think you could do without or use less, such as turning off the T.V. when no one is watching it. Compare the new list with the original:
1. What are the environmental costs per kilowatt hour consumed?
2. What are the sources of energy? (i.e. solar, nuclear, coal)
3. Where does the waste from energy generation go? (i.e. ash, nuclear waste)
Explore the waste products produced by the use of power from water, wind, nuclear, burning of waste or other fuel source, batteries, sun or others.

Energy Consumption of Appliances

Back to top