Energy & Environment

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Simple Earth Climate Model

Keywords: albedo, black body radiation, climate, conservation of energy, energy balance, heat transfer, Stefan-Boltzmann law, surface temperature

Which planetary characteristics contribute to producing a mean surface temperature that makes Earth habitable?

Developing a simple model of Earth's atmosphere to infer what physical processes are important in maintaining a mean global temperature of about 14.5°C. Further, the model can also be used to show how this temperature can change.

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7 years 26 weeks ago

Home Heating

Keywords: conduction, cooling, heat exchange, heat loss, heating

Where are these houses losing the most heat to the environment? The picture on the left is taken with visible light, that on the right is taken with infrared light with a wavelength of about 10 μm.

An example of how to model the heating and cooling of thermal systems, including a look at some of the issues surrounding the heating and cooling of buildings.

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7 years 26 weeks ago

Turn the Heat Off!

Keywords: energy loss, heat loss, power

Do you save more energy by leaving the heat on at night or by turning it down and reheating the house the next day?

We examine the benefit of turning off the heat when you go out.

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7 years 26 weeks ago

Cycling and Showering

Keywords: cycling, energy use, heat capacity, showering

Are cycle commuters, who take an extra shower, doing more damage to the environment than those who commute by car?

A recent letter to the Vancouver Sun claimed that commuting by bicycle was worse for the environment than commuting by car. The reason given was that if a cycle-commuter takes an extra shower at work (because cycling makes you sweaty), that burns the energy equivalent of a litre of gasoline, which is more than a car would burn on an average commute. Fact or rubbish?

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7 years 26 weeks ago

Hydro-Electric Dams

Keywords: dams, greenhouse gases, hydro-electricity, power

Why is this beautiful valley in north-eastern BC about to be flooded?

A look at the generation of power by a hydro-electric dam.

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7 years 27 weeks ago

Wind Turbines

Keywords: kinetic energy, power, wind energy, wind turbines

Can wind turbines actually be used to harness a substantial amount of power?

The total energy available in wind and the power that can feasibly be extracted from it will be determined using the fundamentals of kinematics. Following, the limitations of location and machinery of wind turbines that restrict the amount of power that can be harnessed will be examined, before comparing the impact of wind energy with various other common sources of energy.

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7 years 27 weeks ago

Energy and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Calculations

Keywords: carbohydrates, energy, GHG production

How much Chemistry and Biology do you need to understand to estimate energy and greenhouse gas production? Very little.

Gain a basic understanding of energy and GHG production calculations.

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7 years 27 weeks ago
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