Using Real-Time Energy Data to Promote Climate Literacy

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014: 11:15 AM
Room C109 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Eugene Cordero, San Jose State Univ., San Jose, CA; and E. Metzger

The installation of residential smart meters throughout many US states offers educational opportunities for student interaction with real-time energy data. During the 2012/2013 academic year, over 250 students (Grades 6, 9, and University) participated in the Green Ninja Smart Energy Contest (www.greenninja.org), a pilot program where students monitor and track their household energy use using online data from their energy provider. One of the project objectives was to improve student energy literacy, and a series of hands-on classroom activities using tools such as a Kill-a-Watt energy meter were developed around the theme of energy. The primary goal of the project was to give students experience attempting to reduce their household energy use through a combination of one-time actions (e.g., replacing a light bulb) and home behavior changes (e.g., encouraging family members to turn off lights when not in use). Although many variables affect daily household energy use, student-initiated changes resulted in lower overall energy use in 75% of participating homes, based on a two-week reporting period. During this pilot project, a number of lessons were learned about the effective use of data within a formal learning environment. A summary of how these lessons will be applied to a future version of this educational tool will be given.