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Talking About Energy Efficiency with Youth at Indian Point Young Naturalist Club

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I have been waiting all summer with such anticipation to finally visit the Indian Point Young Naturalist Club site in Glen Haven, Nova Scotia. Scott Pelton, leader of the camp, invited me to present about energy efficiency during the summer camps after he had attended a presentation in the area. He thought the children at his camp would be curious to receive a similar presentation from Green Schools Nova Scotia.

My three initial visits to the camp were virtual, meaning I used technology to reach the group by video call. Technology as Skype or Google Hangouts make us feel close at any time, and it allows us to be efficient with the use of fossil fuel to travel. After my initial visits I was looking forward to seeing the place with my own eyes, and meet my friends in person. At noon on Tuesday I hit the road and Google Maps directed me through picturesque roads where I was surrounded by trees, water, and with a good imagination, fairies were there too.

Upon my arrival, I discovered a camp surrounded by nature, a place to spark curiosity about science, sports, botany, animals, and fresh air. I found a place to wonder, inspire, and dream, and then Scott, like a good host, welcomed me with fresh lemonade.

After initial introductions with the children, I set up my energy meters and we had a discussion about why energy efficiency is important and together we found ways to be efficient with the use of energy. That led to the fun part of measuring energy. It was at that moment that their eyes began to widen in astonishment as they discovered that some of the things that they use daily consume a lot of energy, such as the hairdryer that uses 1500 watts or 1.5 kilowatts per hour. To learn how to use energy better, we began to calculate the cost of using these items daily.  

Some of the questions I heard were about how many watts a washer or a dryer uses, and how much money it would cost for daily use. For the dryer, how much money and energy would be saved if we use the clothesline instead of the dryer, and let the sun dry our clothes? We also compared incandescent light bulbs with the modern LED lights, and we noticed that the incandescent light bulbs were inefficient because they produce heat in addition to light. Surprisingly, the smoothie maker was a perfect example of phantom power usage. It used seven watts, just by being plugged into the wall! It uses 61.32 kW a year just by being plugged into the electricity. That is what you call having a phantom in your home! 

We also talked about options for renewable sources of energy such as utilizing solar energy. That’s a fantastic idea, but to be ready for solar energy, you need to make sure your home is efficient so you aren’t wasting energy. To be efficient with the use of energy, it does not matter where the energy is coming from, contact Efficiency Nova Scotia to start saving energy.

~Olga Lucía Torres
Green Schools Nova Scotia Program Manager

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