PAPER, AND ELECTRICITY USE:
Inventory and Implications
to estimate how much water, paper, and electricity an individual uses,
and what that means in terms of environmental impact and management costs,
keep a daily inventory of your water, paper, and electricity use.
Make a table
of your different types of water use in a typical day, and estimate the
number of gallons in each use. Note briefly in your report how you estimated
the amount of water.
Make a table,
noting the following quantities of paper in units of 8.5” X 11” (note
book) sheets you discard, per day (or week) under the following categories:
of recyclable paper that you actually discard in a recycling bin
paper (excluding newspaper)
here that all the other paper you have or get will be stored by you somehow
and will not reach the waste stream. Note in your report what errors this
assumption introduces in your accounting.
Make a list
of appliances and other electricity use, estimation of their wattage and
the duration (in number of hours) of use, and the total kilowatt-hours
used per week.
in ampere (A or amp) X voltage in volts = power in watts
1 watt over one hour, you use 1 watt-hour.
- 1 kilowatt-hour
= 1000 watts X 1 hour
= (power) X (time)
of Pittsburgh = 1.4 million
by Duquesne Light Company = 8% nuclear, all the rest coal. (Note: this
was written when Duquesne Light supplied the electricity for all of
Pittsburgh. This is no longer true. But, make this assumption any way.)
fraction of paper in solid waste = 37%
1 ream = 5 lbs (14 - 17 trees used per ton of paper)
- For coal-generated
BTU/kWhe 1Kwhe requires 3 kWh th
lb C / 100 lb fuel 1 lb fuel / 1200 BTU
lb CO2 / 12 lb Carbon
a report that contains the following data and summarizes your findings,
along with all assumptions made and sources of inaccuracies. This is still
a good measure of a part of the direct impact each of us has on the environment.
Introduction: Methods you used, any other introductory observations
tables: Provide clear tables of your daily use inventory.
in Summary Tables of your use -- don't hand in rough work, and make
clear the sources of your numbers. Design the tables and keep them
in an accessible place so it is easy for you to fill them in regularly.
Set up calculations.
1: Usage in Pittsburgh and Impacts
the paper, electricity, and water usage for Pittsburgh, assuming that
you are a typical resident. What are the main sources of error in this
assumption? Does each answer you get over-estimate or under-estimate the
for Section 1:
Paper, Electricity, and Water Usage in Pittsburgh
per person per day
for one year
Waste (deduced from paper)
1: Paper for Pittsburgh
(Note this ends up as part of the solid waste stream)
2: Tree use for paper for Pittsburgh
3: Water use for Pittsburgh
(tons per year)
4: Electricity use and carbon dioxide release for Pittsburgh
2: Environmental Burdens Posed by a "Student Life Cycle"
your inventory, answer the following questions. You may do the following
in groups of no more than three people, by combining results after you
keep individual logs:
I. For a four-year stay at the University:
how many trees are used to generate the paper to support the education
of one student?
how many tons of CO2 is released into the atmosphere by the student’s
- How many
gallons of water had to be handled by the sewage system?
II. A. What
are the sources of inaccuracies in your data? (For example, note that
these data were kept only for a limited time; was your use during this
time typical (truly representative) of your long-term use? You made several
approximations and assumptions. Note these and say what type of inaccuracies
this would introduce. )
you say your numbers are an overestimate or underestimate? Explain your
did this exercise clarify for you? (Think in terms of behavior, resource
consumption, waste production, impacts, and possibilities for change.)