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TheLaboratory

EnergyAuditActivity
TeachersGuide

Topic:

ElectricCircuits

Thefollowinginformationisprovidedtothestudent:

Question:
Howmuchelectricalenergyisusedonamonthlybasisinyourhomeandwhatarethemainsourcesof
energyconsumption?

Purpose:
Toconductananalysisofhouseholdenergyuseinyourhomeinordertoestimatetheaverage
monthlyelectricalenergyuseandtodeterminethemainsourcesofenergyconsumption.

AcompletelabwriteupincludesaTitle,aPurpose,aDatasection,andaConclusion/Discussionof
Results.TheDatasectionshouldincludetheprovidedsheetcompletedandtapedin.Allappliances
fromthemostfrequentlyusedtotheleastfrequentlyused,fromthelargesttothesmallestshouldbe
includedintheaudit.Theweeklylogshouldbeusedtoestimateamonthlycost.The
Conclusion/Discussionshouldanswerthequestionposedinthelabandidentifythemainsourcesof
energyconsumptioninyourhome.

MaterialsRequired:
Calculator.

DescriptionofProcedure:
Studentsusetheprovidedtabletoorganizeinformationabouttheaveragemonthlytimeusageand
energyconsumptionforallelectricalappliancesintheirhome.Uponcollectingdataandcalculating
costs,theydrawconclusionsregardingthetypesofapplianceswhicharethebiggestconsumersof
electricalenergy.

AlternativeMaterialsandProcedure:
Someteachersmayfindittobeausefulexercisetocomparethecomputedmonthlycostwiththeactual
costlistedonarecentutilitybill.Itmayalsobeinstructivetoposeavarietyofwhatif?questionsasa
followupactivity.Forinstance,whattypeofannualsavingswouldbepossibleifthe
refrigerator/freezerwas20%moreefficient?orwhatstrategywouldyouusetocutyourmonthlycosts
ofelectricalusageifyouneededtosaveanextra$30permonth?

SafetyConcern:
Thereisalwaysahigherthanusuallevelofriskassociatedwithworkinginasciencelab.Teachers
shouldbeawareofthisandtakethenecessaryprecautionstoinsurethattheworkingenvironmentisas
safeaspossible.Studenthorseplayandofftaskbehaviorsshouldnotbetolerated.

Suggestions,Precautions,Notes:

ThePhysicsClassroom,2009

TheLaboratory
1.
2.

3.
4.

Thisactivitydoesnotinvolveanyequipmentormanipulationofmeasuringtools.Nonetheless,
thereisaconsiderableamountofdatawhichmustbecollectedandprocessed.
Studentsmayneedsomeguidanceinordertodeterminethepowerorthecurrentofsomedevices.
InstructthemtosearchfortheUnderwritersLaboratories(UL)labelwhichisfoundonmostall
electricalappliances.Discusshowtofindthepowerfromthecurrent;anddiscusshowtofindthe
powerifonlytheresistanceisgiven.
Somedeviceswillnothaveanypowerrelatedinformation(oritwillbeatalocationthatisnot
easilyassessable).Manyonlinesitescanbeofgreatusefulnessinprovidingtypicalpoweroutputs
foravarietyofelectricaldevices.
ThecostofakiloWatthour(belowtheprovideddatatable)isleftblank.Findareasonableratefor
yourlocalarea.

AuxiliaryMaterials:
ThefollowingpageisprovidedtothestudentforcompletionandinclusionintheDatasectionoftheir
labnotebook.

Electrical Device
Time*
Power or Current
Energy
Cost**
(h)
(W)
(A)
(kWh)
($)

ThePhysicsClassroom,2009

TheLaboratory

* Estimatedweeklytimefortheentirehousehold
** Calculatedbasedonthecostof$________/kWh

ScoringRubric:
C12. EnergyAuditActivity
Included,labeledandorganizedallpartsofthelabreport.
Datasectionincludedprovidedsheetscompletedandtapedin.Allrooms
andappliancesinhousewereincluded;nomajoromissions.Datais
reasonable.Calculationsarecorrect.
Conclusion/Discussionstatesanestimateofthetotalmonthlycostof
electricity.Mainsourcesofelectricalenergyconsumptionareidentified.

ConnectionstoThePhysicsClassroomTutorial:
Thefollowingreadingisasuitableaccompanimenttothislab:
http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/circuits/u9l2d.cfm
http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/circuits/u9l3d.cfm

ConnectionstoMindsonPhysicsInternetModules:
Sublevel6oftheElectricCircuitsmoduleisasuitableaccompanimenttothislab:
http://www.physicsclassroom.com/mop/module.cfm

ThePhysicsClassroom,2009

Score

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