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NEWS | July 28, 2010

Time to test your energy I.Q.

By Bruce Miller Resource Efficiency Manager

Everyone uses energy every day, but how many people think twice when flipping a light switch or turning a key to start a car? Does anyone ever think where that energy comes from and how everyday activities became so intertwined with fossil fuels?

Man first harvested natural energy sources though burning wood and inventing devices to tap into the power of wind and water. The Industrialization Age of the 19th century began to shift the use of natural energy to the newly discovered resources of fossil fuels and the 20th century created technologies to harness these new fuel sources at an unprecedented speed. The world now moves on coal, natural gas, petroleum, hydroelectric and nuclear power without a thought about how it all came about.

In this modern world, we have become reliant on the technologies these discoveries provided, and now conservation of these fuel sources is at the forefront. Billions of dollars and valuable natural resources are wasted each year through simply not thinking or not knowing how much energy is used during everyday activities.

Test your energy awareness savvy by answering the following true or false questions. Compare your answers with those at the bottom. Then, think about making some of these conservation ideas a part of your daily routine.

Energy quiz: True or False

1. Buildings cool down faster by setting the thermostat lower than the desired temperature.
2. Freezers are more efficient when filled to capacity.
3. Fluorescent and incandescent bulbs of the same wattage produce the same amount of light.
4. Always use cold water when running a garbage disposal.
5. Driving faster uses less fuel since the car is running for a shorter period of time.
6. Always preheat the oven for broiling or roasting.
7. Never turn on the oven and open the door for a quick warm-up of a cold kitchen.
8. Leave computers and monitors on continually since it takes more energy to power up than to leave on.
9. Opening the refrigerator door costs money and energy.
10. The federal government is the largest consumer of energy in the world.

1. False: Setting the thermostat lower than the desired temperature does not cool the house down quicker. The inside temperature will cool down just as quickly with the desired thermostat setting.
2. True: Freezers operate better when filled.
3. False: Fluorescent lights produce 3.5 times more light than incandescent bulbs of the same wattage.
4. True: Garbage disposals are designed to operate with cold water. Letting the water run until it gets hot wastes both the water and the energy it takes to heat the water.
5. False: The higher the speed, the more fuel is burned regardless of how long the trip takes.
6. False: Broiling and roasting do not require preheating.
7. True: Using the oven is a costly way to heat the kitchen.
8. False: When on, computers and monitors use energy constantly. Turning off and powering down is much more energy efficient.
9. True: Every time the refrigerator door is opened, cold air escapes and the compressor has to work to keep the temperature constant.
10. True: Up until recent reports that China has now surpassed us, the United States has been the largest user of energy in the world, accounting for about 35 percent of the world's total energy consumption. The federal government is far and away the largest consumer of American energy, and the Department of Defense is the largest user within the federal government.