Nonfiction in response to Affordable and Clean Energy
Affordable and Clean Energy-Kids Version
By Grace Muresan
CC Image Courtesy of Randi Rø
What is Energy?
Energy is defined as the ability to do work, to make things happen, and to cause changes (www.eia.gov and www.teachengineering.org). There is energy in everything, and we need energy to do everything (www.education.com).
Forms of Energy
To simplify, you can think of energy forms as MELTS. I drew a diagram below to help show the form of energy, which we use daily (http://www.alliantenergykids.com/).
Since we use electricity to power many household objects in our daily life, in this article, I will focus on this type of energy. I will discuss where electrical energy is generated, what clean ways to make energy are, how we can help make it affordable, and most importantly, how to make our sources sustainable through simple daily actions.
Electrical energy is energy that comes from an electric current. It is different from the other types of energy because it can be harnessed and used, for example, to turn on your computer, TV, microwave, washing machine, or blender to make your smoothies.
Electrical energy is considered a secondary type of energy because it is made by converting other sources of energy (www.sciencing.com). There are two general ways to generate electricity, as depicted in picture #2.
On the left side of the picture is a list of the sources of renewable energy. Renewable energy is energy that has a replaceable source, for example, in solar energy, the sun shines every day. In biomass energy, various plants keep growing and living waste keeps adding up. In wind energy, the wind doesn’t stop blowing. In geothermal energy, the core of the earth stays warm. In hydropower energy, water continues its flow. Renewable energy is very important because it can be sustained. That means, you can continuously harvest energy from a renewable source because it will never run out.
On the right side of the picture is a list of nonrenewable energy sources. Coal, oil, and gas are fossil fuels, and because it takes fossil fuels millions of years to form, they are classified as nonrenewable. Nuclear energy is also non-renewable because the energy nuclear power cannot constantly be replenished.
Energy has another classification, whether it is “clean” or not. Fossil fuel energy types are not clean, because burning them gives off Carbon dioxide emissions.
Solar energy, Biomass energy, Wind energy, Geothermal energy, Hydropower energy, and Nuclear energy are clean because they leave no trace as the energy is harvested.
However, electricity also has to be paid for.
Saving Energy in Daily Lives
Since you were little, your parents have probably been reminding you to save energy and water. But why? First of all, getting energy isn’t free. It has to be generated, stored, and wired to your house.
Secondly, the house’s utility bill is for water, electricity, and gas (gas makes the fire on the stove and for some, provide central heating for the whole house), and when you save water and energy the utility bill which your parents have to pay is lower.
So, here are a few tips on saving energy.
Turn off lights, computers, and all electronics off when you leave a room.
Don’t leave the refrigerator door open; it wastes energy.
When you are cold, don’t ask to turn up the thermostat. Instead, put on a sweater.
Take short showers instead of baths and turn off faucets while you brush teeth.
You can also ask your parents about when to flush toilets. In public you should always flush the toilet, but at home you can save water by not flushing when someone is going to the bathroom right after you.
Don’t forget to turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth because you don’t need running water when you are still doing your teeth-brushing.
Remind your parents to fill up your dishwasher and washer-dryer before using them.
Energy is very important for our lifestyle. MELTS (see Picture 1) helps us build things, power things, see, keep warm, and hear, and electrical energy is a basic household necessity. The ways to generate electricity are very important too, because choosing between running on solar energy or coal energy, for example, can decide if earth will spontaneously combust in the future due to excessive global warming and carbon emissions. Saving energy is possibly the most important of all, because it shows that everyone can do little things to help the earth.