Welcome to Lesson 5!
Welcome to the Appliances lesson! This is the most important one for most students--most important in the sense that it can make a difference in both energy consumption and environmental protection because we use a lot of appliances at home. We use a lot of energy for these appliances. In this chapter we are going to learn the basic operating principles of most of the residential big ticket items, for example refrigerators, or water heaters. Water heaters are one of the most energy-consuming appliances. And we will talk about clothes washers and dryers. We are not going to look at how to do the laundry, but we are going to look at the basic operating principles. In other words, how these things really operate. What are all the things that govern energy consumption and what are all the things we need to look for when we buy some of these appliances?
We'll also learn how to do a cost benefit analysis. To do that we will learn how to read energy guide labels. Energy guide labels are the yellow, ugly looking labels on appliances that give you the amount of energy that a model consumes. So when you go shopping (I'm sure you are all going to do that with your significant others in a few years) you're going to compare different options. You are going to look at a couple of models -- 3, 4 or 5 models, and say, "Okay, this is better than this; this is worse than this," and so on.
What are the factors that go into comparing several models and picking the right one, both with respect to energy consumption and environment protection? I will show you what kind of information you can get from these energy guides and how these can be used to compare model A vs. model B. For example, model A may cost $1000 and Model B may cost $1500. What you are basically deciding is, is it worth it to pay $500 extra to get the benefits that this model will give? In other words, the more expensive model obviously "should" give you more features that you want or it should give you energy savings in the long run -- for example, cutting your energy bill by $50 every month. So it's going to really take about 10 months to recover the $500 you are paying up front. This kind of analysis is basically called life cycle analysis--what it would cost to buy a piece of equipment and to operate that over its life time. And we do that calculation for two models and see, in the long run, that one model is going to be cheaper and environmentally friendlier than another model. So we are going to learn how to do that. That discussion will be very common for all the appliances, and this calculation of payback period is the key for most of this lesson as well as the lessons to come. We will also look at refrigerators and calculate the efficiency of these refrigerators and how to use the efficiency we need to calculate how much energy these things consume. We will do that with clothes washers and dryers.
From here on you will also encounter some acronyms and energy efficiency terms, so you will need to pay attention to those. And, as I told you, these calculations and the use of the energy guides are the most important concepts in this lesson.
Lesson 5 Objectives
Upon completing this lesson, you should be able to:
- Explain the operating principles of day-to-day residential appliances
- Read and use Energy Guide labels
- Calculate life-cycle analysis of appliances
- Recommend ways to save energy and money based on good operating practices
If you have any questions, please post them to the General Course Questions forum in located in the Discussions tab in Canvas. I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are visiting the discussion board, feel free to post your own responses to questions posted by others - this way, you might help a classmate!