Unit 3 Discussion: Unplugged
Please note before you participate in this discussion, please read the following article titled “Going Off The Grid: Why More People Are Choosing To Live Life Unplugged” at http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/responsible-living/stories/going-off-the-grid-why-more-people-are-choosing-to-live-life-un.
Important Note: If this article is not available, please research the key phrase "off the grid."
Living “off the grid” is becoming increasingly attractive, both for economic and environmental reasons. You may not be interested or ready to go off the grid, but imagine if we (you and I and every American adult) converted just one common household appliance that we use regularly to an alternative energy source, such as battery or solar power.
For this discussion, let's conduct a short experiment. Select a common household appliance or power tool that you use on a regular basis. Download instructions and complete the Microsoft Excel table using the concepts you have learned in this unit. Click to download Excel spreadsheet for this activity.
Note: Be sure not to choose the same appliance or power tool that one of your classmates has already discussed.
Please copy and paste your Excel table into your discussion post and respond to the following questions:
- What is the appliance or power tool that you chose?
- Thinking about the appliance in your scenario, would you choose to power that device by solar rather than conventional energy if you could do it for the stated cost? Why or why not? Take into consideration how many hours you use it in a day and how long it would take you to see a return on your investment.
- Are there any factors that this exercise has not addressed?
- Would your decision change if you could power additional devices with the same equipment?
Explain how you arrived at each of your answers and provide links or references to any sources you have used.
This illustration is quite simplified and does not take into account installation, system inefficiencies, wiring, and other equipment that may be needed to convert DC power to AC power. Here are some additional resources that can provide you with more accurate calculations of some of the energy needs of such a system or give you an idea of what wattage system would be needed to cover your current power usage. You may want to take them into consideration in your discussion of the final questions, or for further investigation of the topic.