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
20minute 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 watthours. If you divide watthours by 1000, you get kilowatt
hours, and 3412 Btu is equivalent to one kilowatt hour.
80 watts x 2 hours = 160 watthours
160 watthours/1000 = 0.16 kilowatthours
0.16 kilowatthours x 3412 Btu/kilowatthour = 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 95 
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 MX5 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 93 
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 SType 3.0 Litre 
M 
18/26 
Saturn Vue 
SUV 
21/26 
Lexus ES 300 
M 
21/29 
Subaru Forester 
SUV 
21/27 
MercedesBenz 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
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