This interactive allows you to learn about how we use different energy sources and how it affects not only our environment but also our budget. You will look around a typical New England house and click on the various items. You'll see what is draining energy and learn how to make your home more energy efficient. This simulation is not meant to be a definitive guide to energy consumption but rather a general look at how common sense can result in the saving of energy and money.
It is important to note that the factor for converting electricity to carbon emissions varies from region to region. In this example, New England's carbon emission factors were used.
Students can navigate through the activity using their mouse and will need to click on every item that uses energy to complete the activity. As they click on each item, its name and suggestions on how to make the item more efficient will appear on the right side. After reading about each item, students can click on the optimize icon (which adopts all suggestions to make the item more efficient) to see how much this reduces the total amount of energy the item consumes (listed on the very top in kWh, gal of oil/yr, and lbs. of CO2).
Once students finish the activity, information will pop up on the right side as to how much energy they saved by optimizing the sample household of products. Hopefully, each student will realize that using energy responsibly can quickly result in a decrease of CO2 pollution and a decrease in utility bills.
This site is a great resource to teach students that they can help their environment by using their household items wisely and at the same time save money. Information on this site can be related to technology with a focus on energy consumption. Have students select a few items that they can check on at home to see if they are working efficiently. Depending on the item, you may want to make it mandatory that they do this with a parent. Then, during a predetermined class, have students tell the class what they did (if possible and if it was safe) to improve the efficiency on those items. If it was not safe for them to do something by themselves, have them tell the class what could be done.