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Week 18 - Different Sources and Energy Consumption

Tab: Exercise 4.1

Lesson 4.1: Looking at Different Sources of Heat

ACTIVITY A: What if your heat was turned off tomorrow?

Required Readings

Science in Action 7
pages 238 to 244

Science Focus 7

pages 238 to 245

What if you woke up one day in the middle of winter to find your house cold and dark. When you go to adjust the thermostat you find that nothing happens. When you hit the light switch, it stays dark. You are now living in a modern house without the modern conveniences of electricity and natural gas heating that are so common to Alberta. What do you do?

Naturally, we would assume that the power and gas company must just have a short term problem. But what if you decided to go out to your car to warm up by the heat of the engine and listen the radio, only to find out that Alberta no longer has an adequate supply of fossil fuels to heat all the homes in Alberta and power all the thermoelectric plants.

What would you do now?

In Alberta, 90% of our home, industry, and transportation needs for thermal and electrical energy are largely met through the use of non-renewable fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. When non-renewable resources are depleted they are gone forever. What makes it even worse, is the negative effects that burning fossil fuels has on the environment.

It does not matter what type of energy technology is used all have advantages and disadvantages which must be considered. Some consequences may be environmental, societal, or economic in form.

Consider, for examples the creation of a new hydroelectric dam on the Bow River near Canmore. In the short term, the economy will do well, many jobs will be created while the dam and transmission lines are being constructed. The dam will not create an air pollutants and will be fairly inexpensive to operate over the long run. It will provide enough energy to provide a large city with continuous power year round. However, the dam will flood out many ecosystems and prime building sites upstream from the dam.

Exercise 4.1: Alternate Thermal Energy Sources

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