The Lifestyle Project at the University of Redlands
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection
This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: Sep 15, 2009
This three-week project begins with a measurement of "baseline" consumptive behavior followed by two weeks of working to reduce the use of water, energy, high-impact foods, and other materials. The assignment uses an Excel spreadsheet that calculates direct energy and water use as well as indirect CO2 and water use associated with food consumption.
- Students will recognize the environmental impacts of their lifestyle habits
- Students will learn what they can do to reduce their environmental impact
- Students will learn how to quantify their impacts in terms of energy use and pollution emissions
Context for Use
Energy Calculator (Excel 141kB Sep15 09) - The Excel file allows students to record baseline energy use and modified energy use. Graphs of energy savings are automatically generated.
Teaching Notes and Tips
At first glance, the Excel spreadsheet can seem overwhelming for students that are not familiar with Excel. The instructor should first show the file on an overhead projector and walk the students through the spreadsheet elements. It may also help to have a follow up help session after the first week for students that may be having difficulty.
It has been difficult to assess energy from heating/cooling because most students live in dorms and have no control over the thermostat of the building.
References and Resources
The carbon dioxide emission associated with food choices comes from Bon Appetit's Eat Low Carbon Diet Calculator.
The indirect water use associated with food comes from The Water Footprint Network.