Question Sheet: Cold House, Hot House, Green House

SCIENCE

Before reading:

  1. Name three things that you use or do that waste energy. 
  2. What do you think “sustainable” means? What might “sustainable architecture” involve?

During reading:

  1. How does the energy used in the United States for heating and cooling affect the environment? 
  2. Define in your own words “green building.” 
  3. In what ways might the generation of electricity at power plants be bad for the environment? 
  4. How have windows changed and improved over the years? 
  5. How can roofing materials help make homes more energy efficient? 
  6. What is a “net-zero-energy” house?

After reading:

  1. Do an energy survey of your home. For a form you can fill out, go to www.eia.doe.gov/kids/classactivities/HomeSurveyPrimary.pdf (National Energy Education Development). Look for places where energy might be going to waste. For additional information about what to look for in your home, see www.ase.org/uploaded_files/educatorlessonplans/audit.pdf(Alliance to Save Energy). What recommendations would you have for improving the energy efficiency of your home? 
  2. Pick a building that you often go into. It can be your school or home, a friend’s house, a local library, or some other building. How would you test this building’s energy efficiency. What sort of data would you collect? 
  3. Why do you think more buildings don’t get updated to be made “greener”? 
  4. What are the energy or environmental concerns in the area where you live? Design a house that you think might best serve the region in which you live. 
  5. Although lots of technologies exist to make homes more environmentally friendly, the U.S. government and local governments generally don’t require suc

    improvements. Why do you think there are very few such requirements? How would life be different if the government did require people to update their homes to improve energy efficiency? 

  6. Besides changing the architecture or materials of a home, what are some other ways to have a household use less energy?

SOCIAL STUDIES

How does the climate in Phoenix, Ariz., differ from that in Houston, Minneapolis, or Seattle? If you were building an energy-efficient home in one of these cities, how would it differ from an energy-efficient home in the others? What special features might it have?


LANGUAGE ARTS

  1. Pick one way to improve energy efficiency in homes and write a letter to your local government about why this is an important thing to do in the community. Do the same for your school. 
  2. Design a game or puzzle that would teach kids about saving energy. For examples, see www.energyhog.org/ (Energy Hog, Ad Council).

MATHEMATICS

You’re in the market for a new refrigerator. After shopping around, you find two possible buys. The first refrigerator has a price of $798 and costs $18 per month to operate. The second refrigerator has a price of $658 and costs $21 per month to operate. Which refrigerator is the best deal if you plan to use it for 10 years?

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