Sources of thermal energy at home
The Sun, chemical reactions and friction are all sources of thermal energy at home.
- The Sun is a great source of energy that warms Earth enough for plants and animals to live, and can also be used for warming your house or electricity.
- Chemical reactions can generate thermal energy. You can burn wood in a wood stove to warm a room. Burning natural gas creates thermal energy and is used at home to heat water for showers/baths and wash dishes, clothes and hands. It is also used in a natural gas stove to cook food or in a furnace to warm your home. Natural gas can also be burned in a natural gas fireplace to heat a room.
- Friction can generate heat as well. At home, electricity is used in many ways for heat. When electricity is passed through a heating element or metal conductor, some of the electrical energy is converted to heat energy from the resistance of the electrons travelling through the metal. This can be used to heat water for showers/baths and wash dishes, clothes and hands. In an electrical stove, it’s also used for cooking food. The clothes dryer uses electricity to generate heat and dry our clothes. Electricity is also used for baseboard heaters to heat some homes as well.
Energy conservation is about using less energy. Once students recognize how they are using thermal energy at home, they can come up with ways to use less energy such as taking shorter showers or having smaller baths, hanging clothes to dry, using cold water to wash clothes or putting on a sweater instead of turning up the heat. Every little action they can do will make a difference and help care for the environment.
- Turn off lights when you leave the room.
- Decide what you want before you open the fridge door.
- Use natural light.
- Unplug electronics when they aren’t being used.
- Wash clothes only when they’re dirty.
- Only run the dishwasher when it’s full.
- Read, play a board game or go outside instead of using electronics.
- Put on a sweater instead of turning up the heat.
- Turn down the heat at night.
- Keep windows and doors closed if the heat is on.
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
- Take shorter showers.
- Walk or bike instead of driving short distances.