This project by Martin Power & Evan Byrne on Electricity Consumption Awareness looks at how and where electricity is generated, and gives a list of ways to reduce electricity consumption. Along with this, Martin & Evan’s project offers some fantastic ways for their school to reduce electrcity usage in the long term and into the future. This is one of many Sustainable Living projects taking place in St. Mary’s Academy CBS in Carlow.
You can see a project on Gastropods and Biodiversity by Cathal Heaton & Eoin Kirwan, and also a project on the Carbon Footprint by Colm Hulton.
Electricity Consumption Awareness
My name is Martin Power and my partners name is Evan Byrne and the title we are doing our project on is “Further steps towards environmental sustainability in St. Marys Academy”. The steps we are going to try create for our school is to reduce electricity, and to try reducing the electricity bills the easy ways but also the more costly ways that will be good for the future of the school.
The environmental impact of electricity generation is huge in modern times because most people today use lots of it. The power is usually created at power plants or it is generated. Power plants convert another source of energy into electricity. Each system has advantages and disadvantages but both pose environmental concerns.
Most electricity today is generated by the use of oil. When it is burned it makes steam and that drives a steam turbine that drives an electrical current.
The concern lies in the way electricity is made, when the fossil fuels are burned they give off emissions. Fossil fuels constitute a significant repository of carbon buried deep underground. When this is burned it is turned into carbon dioxide, which is then released into the atmosphere.
The estimated CO2 emissions from the worlds electrical power industry is roughly 10 billion tonnes per annum.
Depending on the particular fossil fuel and the method of burning are also produced. Sulfur Dioxide and NO2 and other gases are often released, particulate matter can also be released. Sulfur and nitrogen oxides contribute to smog and acid rain. In the past plant owners had the problem addressed by building extremely tall flue gas stacks, this helps reduce local contamination by diluting the pollutants in the atmosphere but it does not help global issues.
Fossil fuels, particularly coal contain traces of very toxic elements such as arsenic, mercury and others. When mercury is vaporized in a plants boiler the mercury vapour can stay suspended in the atmosphere for vast amounts of time and circulate around the world.
Power plant emissions of mercury were about 50 tonnes in the year 2003 and several hundred in China, this means that now a days there is obviously a lot more because of the bigger demand for electricity around the world.
This shows us that the main way we produce electricity is not sustainable, but there are other ways in which it is made such as hydro electricity, wave power, wind power and solar energy which are increasing in use
The way we use electricity is not sustainable and is why we should try save electricity in our school.
There are some simple ways to reduce the amount of electricity that is used up day to day at school and that will also save money on our energy bills. There are a few obvious ways that would reduce the bills for our school such as:
- At the end of the day check that PC’S, printers, photocopiers and other stand by appliances are turned off the wall. Some ICT electronics are excused as they must remain on at all times such as Vic Smart routers etc.
- Keep your classroom doors closed whenever possible. This will prevent cool/warm air from escaping, which will save you from keeping the heater/cooler on constantly.
- Make sure to turn off the lights when the room is not in use or when it is the bright enough to not need the use of the classroom lights.
- Reduce the heating to 1 degree less! This will change your bill by 5-10%.
There are also much bigger ways that can help our school use less electricity. All these methods would cost some money but in the future it will show why it is a good idea to try it out.
In my school we have a lot of classrooms so the bills would be fairly high, but I’ve thought of a way to help this. I’m not exactly sure if this could happen in our school, but you see many houses with solar panels on their roofs.
So why can’t we have them on our school roofs! One solar panel could help a lot, so I’d say three or four could make a massive difference in the electricity bill!
Another idea I thought of was maybe having a mini wind turbine either at the back of our school or on our school, because we all know that Ireland is a great country for strong winds so I’d be fairly confident that the turbine would be a great investment!