Parents have been telling their kids to “turn it off when you’re done using it” for generations, but in the Medich household in Statesville, those words could have just as easily come from high school freshman Payton, who just completed a six-week course designed to promote a better understanding of the relationship between weather and electricity use at home.
The course is part of the eTracker program, which is co-sponsored by ElectriCities and the city. Students in the Statesville High School’s AP Earth Science classes tracked temperatures and electricity usage, logging in temperatures every day.
Phil Bisesi, supervisor of residential energy services at ElectriCities, met with the students initially and provided them with logs to record data of both daily electricity use and temperatures. A kilowatt meter was also given to each student so they could measure the electricity use of at least five 120-volt electric appliances in their home. The students analyzed the data to detect trends in usage as temperatures dropped and rose again.
Students then created graphs of the data to help them visualize the relationship. The data also helped them see how much appliances like hair dryers and phone chargers could add to their monthly baseline electric use and, in turn, their parents’ monthly electric bills.
“This was a great opportunity for the students,” said earth science teacher Carabet Bolhouse. “It went really well, and we are very appreciative of the support from ElectriCities and the city.”
During the program’s wrapup meeting the week of Nov. 1, the top three students – Payton Medich, Noah Perdue and Emily Childress – were recognized for their outstanding work during the course. Payton, 14, said the course definitely showed her the importance of conserving electricity.
“When I’m done using it, I need to turn it off,” she said.
Statesville Electric Utilities Director Kent Houpe was impressed by the students’ work during the project.
“They understood that weather has the largest impact to energy consumption in the home due to heating and cooling,” he said.
Houpe added that he thought the students had fun with the project and learned a lot about energy consumption in general.
Statesville purchases its wholesale power from ElectriCities, which offers the eTracker program at high schools in their service area. The program is funded, in part, through a research grant from the American Public Power Association.