The POWERless energy competition is designed to encourage energy conservation and awareness. Production of electrical energy contributes to a broad range of environmental and health problems, including climate change (CO2 mainly), acid rain (S02 & NOx), lung ailments and high levels of mercury in some fish species. A kilowatt-hour (1,000 watts of electricity for one hour) is generated in our area through several sources, including 46 percent coal, 48 percent nuclear and the remainder through hydro-electric, natural gas and other small purchases. The electrical usage of residential and commercial buildings in the United States accounts for 36 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases (mainly CO2), which are a byproduct of burning fossil fuels and contribute to climate change.
We can all make changes to reduce how much electricity we consume, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency says an Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) can reduce the production of more than 600 pounds of CO2 and save 450 kWh over its lifetime. Every kilowatt-hour saved by Elon students prevents the release of 1.5 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere!