How Energy Savvy Are You?

May 3, 2011 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

It’s far from a mystery that we should lower our energy consumption. Use less appliances, wait to turn on air conditioning, dry clothes outside when we can, etc. Many people have a strong grasp on tricks of the trade and ideas on how to go about conserving. Results of a recent survey are finding out that there is a large gap of understanding revolving around how much energy appliances and items use, however.

I found out just how little I knew about energy consumption after taking Slate’s Energy Quiz. The quiz is simple and fast and asks you to estimate energy usage for various household appliances and then compare transportation and material energy use. Afterward, you go over your results and they are compared to other quiz takers. Although I had a good grasp on which items use more or less comparatively, my results showed a large gap in my understanding of how much energy items consume. This seems to be the trend according to the quiz too.

Take the quiz here:

**I suggest taking the quiz before reading on or your answers may be biased**

One interesting aspect is that they found results changed dramatically based on which item they gave as an example. The lightbulb is used in this case and most people overestimate the energy use. When a larger item that uses much more energy is given as a base, people tend to underestimate energy use. The “anchor affect” is seen here and gives an interesting perspective into how we make comparisons.

I was very surprised by how much energy the larger appliances consume. I knew they used a lot, but the actual amount was much larger than I guessed. It makes me think twice about using some of them so frequently. Knowing which appliances use the most energy can help you save more. If you prevent using the dryer one time, it will cut down energy much faster than turning off the computer while out on an errand.

Let us know how you do and what surprised you about the results!


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