Link to Ontario Technology Curriculum:
- Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
1.1 Evaluate the importance for individuals, society, the economy, and the environment of factors that should be considered in designing and building structures and devices to meet specific needs.
- Understanding Earth and Space Systems
1.1 Assess the social and environmental benefits of technologies that reduce heat loss
Brief Overview of the Lesson:
Students will simulate a limited home energy audit to see where costs can be lowered as a way of learning about the costs of owning a house.
Estimated Time Required for Implementation:
One class period
Computers, Internet access
Suggested Implementation Strategy:
- Begin the lesson by asking the students if they know what the term “retrofit” means.
- If they do not, explain that it refers to the addition of new technology or features to older systems.
- Explain to them that while there is increased emphasis on making new buildings more energy efficient there also is a need to increase the efficiency of older buildings.
- Explain to them that this is done by doing an energy audit of the building, looking at the results and making changes—benefitting not only the environment but also the owner due to decreased costs.
- Ask the students to outline some of the monthly costs of owning a house.
- Once they have compiled a list indicate to them that the focus of the lesson will be on how to reduce some of those costs and also help the environment by reducing the consumption of energy and thereby lowering the amount of pollutants.
- Divide the class into 5 groups and assign each of the groups one of the following topics:
1. Home energy audits—How are they done? What results do they give? What are the benefits of doing one on your home?
2. Heating and cooling a house—What can be done to lower costs?
3. Water Heaters—What can be done to lower costs?
4. Home Appliances—What can be done to lower costs?
5. Lighting in the home—What can be done to lower costs?
- Direct the first group to go to the website http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/en/homeenergy-audit/
- Direct the other groups to go to the website http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/en/saving-energy-for-home/ and select the hot link appropriate to their task.
- Allow them a few minutes to complete their tasks and then have each group report its findings to the class.
- Once this has been done, ask them to indicate if they think these measures will save much money.
- Complete the lesson by asking them what they think would be a wise thing to do with the money that was saved.
Options for Consideration:
- The groups could explore what types of things people do to increase the energy efficiency of their homes rather than examining the strategies suggested above.
Possible Links to the Home Program:
- Age 11–13: Lesson 6—Craft—Tracking expenses
Extended Learning Opportunities:
- The students could select one appliance from their home and examine the energy efficiency rating of that appliance. They could then be asked to decide if it was energy efficient and, if not, how much could be saved by getting a more efficient appliance.