People are concerned about energy use, not just because of its economic costs, but because of its impact on our environment. We get most of our energy from coal, oil, and natural gas, which are fossil fuels, and burning them causes pollutants to be released into the environment both during production and during their use. Some of our energy comes from hydropower, solar, biofuels, and wind, which are renewable options. All energy sources have benefits and drawbacks, and it is important to start a dialogue about these issues so that we can make informed and reasonable choices now and in the future. We wanted to find out how much energy we use in our schools, and what produces our energy. Rhinebeck students wanted to know which appliances in their buildings use a lot of energy, and where energy is wasted in their schools. Students have started tackling energy issues by making every Friday a “Power Down Day”, unplugging unnecessary appliances, and becoming more energy-aware. If you’re tempted to waste energy in the elementary school, be careful, because the fourth graders might issue you a citation!
Energy Links for students
Energy Information Administration: Energy Kids http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/
Touchstone Energy http://www.touchstoneenergykids.com/
Energy Star Kids: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=kids.kids_index
EekoWorld (PBS; interactive) http://pbskids.org/eekoworld/
The Green Squad (interactive) http://www.nrdc.org/greensquad/intro/intro_1.asp
Roofus’ Solar House http://www1.eere.energy.gov/kids/roofus/