Have you ever wondered how much energy you and your family use?
Well, it is becoming easier and easier to do so! The meter on the side of your house that collects this data is going digital. These new versions of electric meters are called Smart Meters and connect your meter to the electric grid, allowing you to directly see and manage how much energy you are using in your house.
Want to see how much energy is consumed in your zip code? Check out the following Carbon Footprint map and type in your zip code: http://hes.lbl.gov/consumer/carbon-map
- Using the Carbon Footprint map, click on the bubble identifying your zip code. What are the annual carbon dioxide emissions for your zip code? Does your zip code emit more or less carbon dioxide than your state as a whole? In relation to the all users in the United States, how do your zip code and state compare?
- What do the different colors of bubbles represent on the Carbon Footprint map? Develop a hypothesis for why certain areas are more likely to be classified as red bubbles.
- We have been referencing a map that shows the amount of carbon dioxide being emitted to make conclusions about energy usage in an area. Is this map showing us the whole story? If a family has solar panels on their roof, would all of their energy usage show up on the Carbon Footprint map? Why or why not? As we continue to develop alternative energy resources that do not pollute, how will this map change?
US Department of Energy http://energy.gov/articles/prepping-power-engineers-smart-grid
Environmental Energy Technologies Division.Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. http://hes.lbl.gov/consumer/carbon-map