Rock Lake Wilderness Area

Lifestyle Project

Karin B. Kirk and John J. Thomas

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Energy Facts and Figures

Karin B. Kirk

Assignment in addition to the basic Lifestyle Project


During the first week of the Lifestyle Project, find two tasks that you normally do. Determine the energy requirements of each task, and water use or garbage output, if applicable. Do these tasks require large inputs of energy or create a lot of waste? Or are you surprised by how little energy a given task requires? You may need to do a bit of background research to determine the energy needs of various appliances or tasks.

Hot shower

The shower uses up to 5 gallons of water per minute. It takes 440 Btu to heat one gallon of water, or 2200 Btu per minute. Thus, a 10 minute shower uses 50 gallons of water and 22,000 Btu of energy. A 20-minute shower uses a whopping 44,000 Btu!

How about a bath? It takes about 35 gallons to fill the bathtub. This would require 15,400 Btu, and is equivalent to a 7 minute shower. So if you want a long, hot soak, taking a bath uses less water and energy than a long shower.

Stereo

An average stereo uses 80 watts. To find out how much energy your stereo requires, look on the labels on the back. You should find a number followed by a "W." For instance 150W would mean 150 watts. Some appliances give the energy requirement in amps (for example 1.5 A). To convert amps to watts, multiply by 120 (1.5 amps x 120 volts = 180 watts).

Let's say you listened to your 80 watt stereo for 2 hours. This would be 160 watt-hours. If you divide watt-hours by 1000, you get kilowatt hours, and 3412 Btu is equivalent to one kilowatt hour.


80 watts x 2 hours = 160 watt-hours
160 watt-hours/1000 = 0.16 kilowatt-hours
0.16 kilowatt-hours x 3412 Btu/kilowatt-hour = 546 Btu

So you can see that a ten minute shower uses much more energy that 2 hours of stereo playing.

Laundry

It takes 40 gallons of water to do one load of laundry. The only thing you can do to minimize water use is to run only large, full loads of laundry. But you can reduce your energy use by choosing cooler water. Remember that it takes 440 Btu to heat one gallon of water. If you wash and rinse your laundry with hot water, this would require 17,600 Btu. If you use warm water, you could cut this number in half, or 8,800 Btu. If you use cold water, no energy is required to heat the water. The "bright colors" cycle on campus washing machines is the cold cycle.

Cars

Each gallon of gasoline is equivalent to 125,000 Btu. How much energy does it take to drive from Skidmore to Stratton Mt., Vermont for a day of skiing? This depends on the fuel efficiency of your car.
Here's a sampling of EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2003 model year

In Table I, you will see a sampling of EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2003 model year. The some of the information was gathered on the web by going to the manufacturer's web page. Interestingly, some manufacturer's web pages do not include EPA gas mileages. In some cases specific models, do not put the EPA gas mileages on their web pages. Guess why! The best resource is the EPA web page: http://www.fueleconomy.gov

So if it's 62 miles from here to Stratton and you're driving a Chevy Blazer, let's say you'll get 20 miles/gallon (the average between city and highway miles). The 124 mile round trip will use 6.2 gallons of gasoline and 775,800 Btu. The same trip in a Honda Civic will use 3.1 gallons of gasoline and 387,500 Btu. The gluttonous Chevy Suburban will need 7.75 gallons and nearly 1,000,000 Btu to make the journey.

Over the life of a car, the fuel economy makes a very large difference in the amount of gasoline used. Let's compare a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a Volvo station wagon over the life of the car. These cars are comparable in term of passenger and cargo space. Assume that both cars will last for 100,000 miles (which raises another issue over the longevity of some cars over others). The Volvo will require 4,081 gallons of gasoline. To drive the same 100,000 miles the Jeep will consume 6,250 gallons -- considerably more! You could save 2,169 gallons by buying a Volvo instead of a Jeep Cherokee. And you'd also be safer in the Volvo. Plus, they have heated seats.

Further information about fuel economy can be found at: http:www.fueleconomy.gov. From there you can find fuel economy figures for cars from 1985 to the present. There is also useful information how to maximize your fuel efficiency. Table I, below, contains generalized data from the EPA and is for cars and transmissions that we thought were the most likely for students (and some others for comparison). The size of the car is determined by the EPA based on interior passenger volume. You will find some surprises in the list.

Table I - E.P.A. Fuel Economy for Selected 2003 Vehicles.

Car, SUV, Truck
Size
MPG
City/Hwy
Car, SUV, Truck
Size
MPG
City/Hwy
BMW Z4 Roadster
TS
20/28
Nissan Maxima
M
20/26
Chevrolet Corvette
TS
19/28
SAAB 9-5
M
22/31
Ferrari Modena/Spyder
TS
11/16
Saturn L200
M
24/32
Honda Insight*
TS
61/68
Toyota Camry
M
23/32
Mazda MX-5 Miata
TS
23/28
Volkswagen Passat
M
22/31
Nissan 350Z
TS
20/26
Volvo S80
M
20/28
Audi TT Coupe
MC
21/29
BMW 745 I
L
18/26
BMW Mini Cooper*
MC
28/37
Buick LeSabre
L
20/29
Porsche Carrera 2 Coupe
MC
18/26
Buick Park Avenue
L
20/29
Ford Mustang
SC
20/29
Cadillac DeVille
L
18/27
Subaru Impreza
SC
20/27
Chevrolet Impala*
L
21/32
Volkswagen New Beetle
SC
24/31

Chrysler LHS
Dodge Intrepid

L
21/29
Audi A4
C
22/31

Ford Crown Victoria
Mercury Grand Marquis

L
18/26
Bentley Continental L
C
11/16
Ford Taurus
Mercury Sable
L
20/28
BMW 325 I
C
20/29
Lincoln Town Car
L
17/25
BMW 525 I
C
20/28
Pontiac Bonneville
L
20/29
Chevrolet Cavalier
Pontiac Sunfire
C
24/33
Toyota Avalon
L
21/29
Dodge Neon
C
25/32

Chevrolet S10
GMC Sonora

SPT
22/28
Ford Focus
C
27/33
Chevrolet C1500
GMC Sierra
ST
15/20
Honda Civic
C
29/38
Dodge Dakota
ST
18/19
Honda Civic Hybrid
C
46/51
Dodge Ram 1500
ST
15/20
Hyundai Elantra
C
25/33
Ford F150
ST
16/20
Mazda Protégé
C
25/30
Ford Ranger Pickup*
ST
24/29
Mercedes C240
C
19/25
Nissan Frontier
ST
22/25
Nissan Sentra
C
28/35
Toyota Tacoma
ST
22/27
Pontiac Grand Am
C
24/33
Ford Econoline E250
CV
14/17
SAAB 9-3
C
23/31
Chevrolet Venture
MV
19/26
Saturn Ion
C
24/32
Chrysler/Dodge Caravan
MV
18/25
Subaru Legacy/Outback
C
22/28
Ford Windstar
MV
17/23
Toyota Corolla
C
29/38
Honda Odyssey
MV
18/25
Toyota Echo
C
35/43
Mazda MPV
MV
18/25
Toyota Prius*
C
52/45
Toyota Sienna
MV
19/24
Volkswagen Golf Diesel
C
42/49
Volkswagen Eurovan
MV
17/20
Volkswagen Golf
C
24/31
BMW X5
SUV
16/21
Volkswagen Jetta Diesel
C
42/49
Chevrolet Suburban
SUV
13/17
Volkswagen Jetta
C
24/31
Chevrolet Tahoe
SUV
14/18
Volvo S40
C
22/30
Chevrolet Trailblazer
SUV
15/21
Volvo S60
C
20/28
Dodge Durango
SUV
14/18

Acura 3.2 TL

M
19/29
Ford Escape
SUV
18/23
Audi A6
M
20/27
Ford Expedition
SUV
14/18
Buick Century
M
20/29
Ford Explorer
SUV
14/19
Buick Regal
M
19/29
Honda CRV
SUV
22/26

Chrysler Sebring
Dodge Stratus

M
22/30
Jeep Grand Cherokee
SUV
16/21
Honda Accord*
M
24/33
Jeep Liberty
SUV
17/21
Hyundai Sonata
M
22/30
Nissan Pathfinder
SUV
15/19
Jaguar S-Type 3.0 Litre
M
18/26
Saturn Vue
SUV
21/26
Lexus ES 300
M
21/29
Subaru Forester
SUV
21/27
Mercedes-Benz E320
M
19/27
Toyota 4Runner
SUV
15/19
Nissan Altima
M
23/29
Toyota RAV 4
SUV
22/27

* - Best in class  TS – Two Seater  MC – Minicompact  SC – Subcompact  C - Compact  M – Midsize
L – Large  SPT – Small Pickup Truck 2WD  ST – Standard Pickup Truck 2WD  CV – Passenger/Cargo Van
MV – Minivan  SUV – Sport Utility Vehicle 4WD

An Adobe® Acrobat® PDF® of Energy Facts and Figures is available by clicking on the link.

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