Assignment 3

For assignment three I chose to track my energy consumption for a four hour period from 8pm to 12am during the winter when I am at home in New Jersey.

Energy consumption for a typical night would include:

  • heating a house
  • lighting a room
  • driving a car
  • eating a late night meal
  • taking a shower
  • watching T.V.
  • using a cell phone
  • using a laptop

Each of these functions utilize energy in one or more forms/uses:

  • agriculture (food)
  • electricity
  • building heating (oil)
  • transportation (gasoline)

I found the particular forms of energy used in New Jersey from (http://consumerenergyalliance.org/state-energy-profiles/new-jersey).  In New Jersey the primary energy form for heating buildings is through fuel oil.  Cars run on traditional gasoline, and the primary source for electricity is nuclear power.

I modeled my diagram after a sankey diagram I found online of U.S. Energy Use.  It can be viewed at (http://8020vision.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/LLNL_Energy_Use.jpg).  I really liked how it shows multiple energy types combining to produce a form of energy that we directly utilize.  For example, it shows electricity generation is produced by solar, nuclear, hydro, wind, geothermal, natural gas, coal, biomass, and petroleum.

One way I would impact the energy web would be to minimize the amount the energy loss from the use of fossil fuels heating buildings and driving cars.  Improving building insulation via technologies such as triple glazed windows or material choice such as using wood instead of concrete would decrease the amount of energy loss through conduction.

A second way in which I would impact the energy web would be to reduce the amount of electricity generated via natural gas/coal and increase the amount of electricity generated via nuclear energy or other non-fossil fuel sources.

The third way in which I would impact the energy web would be to reduce the amount of energy used transporting agricultural products and fuel oil needed for heating buildings.  This could be done by restructuring the agricultural infrastructure to emphasis locally supplied produce and changing the energy form we use to heat our buildings.

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