Teacher ideas: modifying energy consumption in the home

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What you need

Internet access and the Australian Greenhouse Calculator (AGC)

Teaching focus

Use the AGC to explore ways to reduce energy consumption.

What to do

Ask students to work in pairs to explore one aspect of their greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions. Some ideas for exploring particular modules are provided for you.

Heating and cooling

  • In quick mode, change the features of house construction in the Building section. Explore the heating and cooling systems and their effect on ghgs by adjusting the percentage of the house heated or cooled.
  • In detailed mode, change the temperature settings or star rating of appliances. In the Building section, adjust the external shading on windows.


  • In quick mode, calculate the effect on ghgs using all ordinary lamps. Describe the effect of changing half the lamps switched to compact fluorescent globes, and using the remaining half as ordinary globes. What is the greenhouse contribution?
  • In quick mode, compare ghgs produced in lighting using the same number of hours and same amount of lamps and only change the type. Use evidence to describe differences in ghgs produced.
  • A person is renovating their home and considering using downlights for the kitchen, bedrooms and living rooms. What is your advice?

Hot water

  • In the detailed mode, find out the benefit of using a solar boosting regulator connected to the hot water service.
  • How does reducing hot water consumption impact on your ghgs?


  • In detailed mode, find out the amount of ghgs produced as a result of travelling to work or school in the Personal transport section.
  • What alternatives can be chosen to reduce your impact? How would car pooling impact on your ghg emissions?
  • If you were considering replacing the family car, what advice would you give in order to reduce your ghgs?

Other appliances

  • What is the effect on ghgs if you buy energy efficient appliances? Provide evidence.
  • What is the difference if you turn off the appliances at the power point? Discuss stand-by power.
  • Have students prepare a presentation that describes ways to reduce their ghg emissions without sacrificing a suitable level of service and comfort. Students should include evidence of ghgs obtained by using the AGC.

Have students share presentations and ask them to decide on at least one action they can implement to reduce their ghg emissions.