By Tiffany Kelly,2014-06-17 19:25
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    Filmmaker Jeff Barrie presents a challenge to the viewers at the end of “Kilowatt Ours” to

    reduce their electricity use by 25% to reach the national average. In this activity students will

    create and implement a plan to reach that goal in their homes. They can also create and

    initiate a plan for the school.


    1. To develop an awareness of energy-using behaviors and ways to reduce energy use.

    2. To develop and implement a plan to reduce electricity use in the home by 25%.

    3. To calculate energy and dollar savings after implementing their plan.


    Critical Thinking




    Preparation: 1 hour (including viewing of 38-minute version of “Kilowatt Ours)

    Procedure: 1 hour


    “Kilowatt Ours” DVD

    Electric bill or billing usage history

    After You Watch “Kilowatt Ours” Activity 3 Student Pages (2 pages)


    ? Have students complete Before You Watch “Kilowatt Ours” Activity 1 if they have

    not already done so.

? Show “Kilowatt Ours: A Plan to Re-Energize America” to your students.

? Ask students to call the customer service number for their electricity provider and request

    a free billing history usage for their residence. Students will need the account information

    from their electric bill to make the request. The usage history will be mailed to their home

    address within a few days, or perhaps can be faxed to the school. Alternatively students

    may bring in an electric bill from home. The students will use the average monthly

    kilowatt-hours used in their home to calculate the 25% reduction.

? If students are unable to bring their billing history usage or electric bill from home, you

    may provide example bills from your residence, and develop a class plan. Your personal

    information may be blacked out to protect privacy.





    1. Ask the students how hard they think it will be to reduce their electricity use by 25%.

    How do they think they can do it?

2. Brainstorm a list of actions to take at home to save energy, using the Kilowatt Ours

    “Top-Ten Steps to Save $600” and ideas included in this activity as a guide.

3. Each student calculates 25% of their household’s electricity use for one month,

    based on their average kilowatt-hour use according to their usage history or monthly


     25% Reduction Goal = average kWh used in one month X .25

4. Each student meets with their family members and chooses 5 actions from the list

    based on what they and their families think they can realistically do. They write these

    actions on their Action Pledge, which is their plan.

5. After each chosen action, they specify when the action will be carried out. For

    example, they may begin the action immediately, in two weeks, or in one month.

6. Students and their families sign the pledge, committing to carry out the actions to

    reach the 25 % goal.

7. Over a period of one month, students and their families begin to implement their

    energy-saving action plan, according to the pledge they signed.

8. After one month, students will review the next electric bill they receive at home and

    compare it to the previous month to determine how many kilowatt-hours they saved,

    and if they reached their goal.

9. If they did not reach their goal of a 25% reduction, they can review and adjust their

    plan and try again the following month. A meeting with the members of the

    household to review the plan and make necessary changes may help.

10. Each student will report their actions and results to the Kilowatt Ours energy savings

    calculator, called the “Kilowatt Counter”. Their savings are calculated in dollars,

    kilowatt hours, pounds of coal, carbon dioxide reductions, sulfur dioxide and

    nitrogen oxide reductions. Cumulative savings will be reported to students each

    month in automated emails, and may also sign up to receive monthly energy-saving

    tips to continue saving more energy.

11. Students may also keep a weekly journal to write about their observations,

    experiences, and ideas while their household is working towards their goal. A journal

    may help determine what adjustments to make to reach the goal. Reading the

    electric meter for the household each week could also help to see a reduction in

    consumption on a weekly basis (See Your Electric Meter Activity).

    Note: If parents or families are not willing to participate in the activity at home, students

    can do the challenge at school as an alternative.




    Easy Energy-Saving Actions


    ? In the summer keep your thermostat set at 78 degrees or higher in the daytime and 85 degrees

    when no one is in the room.

    ? In the winter keep the thermostat set at 68 degrees or lower in the daytime, and lower it to 60

    degrees when no one is in the room, and at night.

    ? Stuff rags, paper or a rug in the crack under outside doors. ? Wear a sweater or warm cap to stay warm instead of turning up the heat.

    ? In the summer, spend more time in the cool parts of your home, like the lower floor, and in the

    winter, spend more time in the warmer areas, like upstairs.

    ? When you are heating or cooling, keep windows closed and close outside doors quickly.

    ? Close the curtains in rooms you are cooling during the summer, and open the curtains to let in

    sun and heat during the winter.

    ? Reverse the direction of ceiling fans during the winter to pull heat down from the ceiling.

    ? Close heating and cooling vents in empty rooms.

    ? Regularly clean or change the filters on the air conditioner and furnace. ? Close the damper in the fireplace when it is not in use.

    ? Turn off unnecessary gas pilot lights during the summer. ? Turn off lights when no one is in the room, and turn off appliances when not in use. Use

    power strips that can be switched off.

    ? Put your computer in hibernation or standby mode, or turn it off when you are not using it.

    ? Limit your use of luxury appliances, such as electric hand lotion warmers. ? Keep your refrigerator full so that it operates more efficiently. You can put empty containers

    and bottles in it if necessary.

    ? Adjust your hot water heater temperature so that your water is a comfortable temperature and

    not too hot. (120 degrees is great)

    ? Hang your clothes outside to dry when possible rather than using the clothes dryer. ? If you use your clothes dryer, dry full loads and clean the filter after every load. ? Wash your clothes in cold or warm water rather than hot water, and only wash full loads.

    ? Only run your dishwasher when it is full, and hand wash dishes more often. ? Cook many items in the oven at once, and keep the oven door closed. ? Put a lid on a pan when cooking in the stove to keep heat in and use the smaller burners if


    ? Take shorter showers more often, instead of baths.

    ? Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth and wash your hands! ? Fix leaking faucets.

    ? Open and close the refrigerator door quickly.

    ? Adjust the temperature of your refrigerator to no less than 37 degrees. ? Set your freezer temperature to no less than 5 degrees.

    ? Use only one refrigerator.

    ? Defrost the freezer when the ice is no more than ?-inch thick.




    Easy Energy-Saving Actions


    ? Use floor and ceiling fans to stay cool instead of lowering or raising the temperature of the


    ? Seal cracks around doors and windows, and other gaps in the walls and foundation with

    caulking and weather stripping.

    ? Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. ? If possible, replace old appliances with Energy Star rated ones. ? Install low-flow shower heads and sink aerators to reduce hot water use.

    ? Insulate the hot water tank with an insulation wrap and insulate the exposed hot water pipes

    coming out of the tank with pre-cut insulation. ? Use mastic (a gooey substance applied with a paintbrush) instead of duct tape to seal all

    exposed ductwork joints in the attic, basement, and crawlspaces.

    ? Insulate heating and cooling ducts.

    ? Install storm windows or sheets of plastic to single-paned windows during the winter to

    decrease heat loss through the windows. ? Add insulation in the attic.

    ? Install a programmable thermostat.

? Can you think of more energy-saving actions?

Kilowatt Ours Action Pledge

    Talk with your family and check the box by at least five actions from either the no-cost or the

    low-cost list that you and your family agree to take at home to save energy. Write the actions on

    the Kilowatt Ours Pledge page. The pledge is your household’s plan to save 25% in energy use.

    Next to each action write when you and your family will do the actions. For example, you may

    decide to do them right away, in two weeks, in one month, or in two months. Ask everyone in

    your household to sign the pledge. Post the pledge on the refrigerator or another visible place as

    a reminder for everyone to do the actions. Remember that your goal is to reduce your

    household’s energy use by 25%. Choose actions that you and your family can all do and that will

    help you reach your goal!

Finally, report your energy-saving actions and savings to the Kilowatt Counter. Just go to:

Ultimate Kilowatt Ours Challenge: Become a Net-Zero Home!

    Those students and families who are super motivated and are already meeting the Kilowatt Ours

    25% reduction goal, can try the Ultimate Challenge! The challenge is to reduce energy

    consumption as much as possible in the home. Then with the resulting dollars saved, buy

    blocks of green power through your local electricity distributor. Aim to have all of your

    household’s electricity consumption originating from green power sources and you and your

    family can work towards the goal of becoming a Net-Zero Home!

    How would you build a net-zero energy community?


    We understand that consuming energy in buildings impacts finances, human health, the environment and our community. Therefore, we pledge to take the following steps in an effort to reduce our energy consumption at home.

    Our goal is to save ________ kilowatt-hours by _____________, 2007.

We will:













    ***************************************************************************************** Name printed Signature Date

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