Rock Lake Wilderness Area

Lifestyle Project

Karin B. Kirk and John J. Thomas

Supplemental Material


Lifestyle Article

Lifestyle Quiz

Baseline Data

Baseline Data

BTU Usage Charts

Energy Facts and

Part 2 - Baseline Data is designed for students at Skidmore College. It can be easily modified for your campus. Part 2 - Baseline Data is available as an Adobe® Acrobat® PDF® file. You can get a free copy of Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® by clicking on the link.

Excel Worksheets are available for calculating your energy use in this part of the Lifestyle Project. There are two worksheets: an example of a completed worksheet (energy_use_wksheet_ex.xls)and a blank worksheet in which you may enter your data (energy_use_wksheet_bl.xls). You may download these worksheet by clicking on the links. The Excel files will be downloaded to your desktop.


Part 2 - Baseline Data Calculations

Karin B. Kirk

Now that you have recorded your activities for two days, you can translate your actions into figures. Use the data, equations and examples below to quantify some of your environmental impacts.

1. Energy Consumption

1A. Transportation (mandatory)

               total miles driven
——————————————  =  gallons of gas used
gas mileage of your car (miles/gallon)

gallons of gas  x  125,000 BTU's/gallon  =  total BTU's

Example:           23 miles
                  ———————  =  0.8 gallons
                      28 miles/gallon

0.8 gal  x  125,000 BTU/gal = 102,678 BTU's

1B. Industrial Energy Consumption (mandatory)

This is not something that can be easily quantified, so just record the list of products that you purchased.

1C. Residential Energy Use (mandatory)

Hot Water-

Multiply each water usage by the appropriate flow rate (in gallons/minute) to determine the total gallons of water heated. Skidmore heats the water to approximately 140 degrees F, and the water enters the system at 55 degrees. To raise the temperature of one gallon of water by 85 degrees requires 440 BTU. To determine your total energy usage for hot water heating, multiply by 440.

Example: I took a ten minute shower

10 min. x  5 gal/min. = 50 gal

50 gal  x  440 BTU/gal = 22,000 BTU

hot shower _________ minutes  x  5 gallons/minute = _____________ gallons

sink _________ minutes  x  3 gallons/minute = ______________gallons

laundry (hot) _________ minutes  x  25 gallons/load = ______________gallons

laundry (warm) _________ minutes  x  10 gallons/load = ______________gallons

dishwasher _________ minutes  x  12 gallons/load = ______________gallons

other ____________________ gallons other ____________________ gallons

TOTAL _________________ Gallons  x  440 BTU/gal = _____________________ BTU


For each of the appliances you used, multiply the number of hours used by the number of watts. Then divide that number by 1000 to get kilowatt-hours (KWH). Each kilowatt-hour is equivalent to 3412 BTU, so multiply KWH by 3412 to find BTU.

Example: I watched TV for 1.5 hours

1.5 H x 300 W = 450 W

  450 W
————  =  0.45 KWH

0.45 KWH  x  3412 BTU/KWH  =  1535 BTU

If you want to find out what the wattage (W) is for something that is not given below (indicated by a blank instead of a number) then look on the back or bottom of the item, and it usually is written there. If it does not indicate the wattage, then look for the amperage (A). The number of amps multiplied by 120 (volts) is equal to the wattage.

Example: this computer uses 1 amp x 120 volts = 120 watts

Refrigerator (large)
Refrigerator (medium dorm size)
Stove (electric)
Refrigerator (small dorm size)
Washing machine
Dryer (electric)
Incandescent lights (wattage on bulb)
Hair dryer
Fluorescent lights
Electric razor
Radio (clock or other)
Portable CD/tape player (box)
Stereo (full size)
Inkjet printer
5 watts off
30 watts printing
Answering machine
Other ___________
Other ___________
Coffee maker
Other ___________

2. Food

It's hard to quantify how much energy and resources go into what we eat, so we're just going to make some general observations. Generally, the less processed a food is, the less energy goes into making it; so fruits and vegetables require the lowest energy input (and waste output) per calorie. A highly processed food (twinkies, for example) requires more energy input and waste output per calorie compared to a more simple food like an apple. The category of food with the highest environmental toll in terms of energy and water input and waste output is meat. For example, it take 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat. This is because energy and water must first go into the production of grain crops, which are then fed to the livestock. Most animals are about 10 percent efficient at converting the energy from eating plants into muscle. The other 90 percent is used in the daily activities of the animal or is dissipated as heat. So this means that it takes approximately ten times the resources to produce meat as it does to produce vegetables.

To record your food intake, break down all the foods you ate into four categories: unprocessed (fruits, vegetables, whole grains), minimally processed (pasta, bread), highly processed (twinkies, cheese doodles), and meats.

3. Water

Use the flow rates given below to find your total water usage

shower __________minutes  x  5 gal/min.  =  _______________ gallons

bath ____________ minutes the tap runs  x  5 gal/min.  =  _______________ gallons

sink ________ minutes x  3 gal/min.  =  _______________ gallons

toilet flushes __________  x  6 gallons each flush  =  _______________ gallons

dishwasher loads__________  x  12 gallons/load  =  _______________ gallons

washing machine loads ________  x  40 gallons/load  =  _______________ gallons

other _________ gallons

TOTAL ______________ gallons

4. Waste

This is something we don't really need to quantify, because we can keep track of it by listing the items individually. If you really wanted to quantify it, you could weigh the amount of stuff you throw out, but it's probably easier to just write it all down. So just record the list of garbage, recycling, and compost that you generated over the two day period.

An Adobe® Acrobat® PDF® file of Lifestyle Project- Part 2 Baseline Data Calculations is available by clicking the link.

If you do not have an Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® you can get one by clicking the link.

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