Energy Facts and Findings
What’s hot these days? Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and expanding our renewable energy sources. Read up on the following electrifying facts and findings about all things energy. Some of them may shock you.
- As reported in 2021, the lighting projects paid for by Moravian’s Greenhound Fund, established by a generous contribution from Jon Soden ’91 and his parents, have resulted in annual savings of 298,848,000 Watts of energy and $24,943 in energy costs. By making a gift to the Greenhound Fund, you’ll help the university pursue projects with even greater savings and benefits to the environment.
- Over their lifetime, on average, electric cars (EV) produce 52% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered cars, calculates the Union of Concerned Scientists.
- But what about an EV’s actual carbon footprint? While it is true that the manufacturing and disposal of electric cars (and hybrids) lands a greater footprint than gas-powered vehicles, once you start driving your EV, the miles you log begin to erase that footprint. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a 300-mile-range electric car will have wiped clean that print by 21,300 miles or 22 months. A study conducted by Michigan State University (funded by the Ford Motor Company) found more encouraging results: Based on the average miles driven in the United States, the emissions equation balances out between 1.4 and 1.5 years for sedans, 1.6 and 1.9 years for SUVs, and roughly 1.6 years for pickup trucks.
- Keep in mind that driving an EV is not a zero-sum emissions game. Electricity comes from sources that release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. As the electric grid moves to more renewable energy sources, your car becomes cleaner.
- Speaking of renewable energy, more than 4% of the electricity generated in the United States comes from solar, according to an April 19, 2023, article in Forbes. It’s not a lot, but it’s 80 times more than what was used 10 years ago. By 2030—a mere seven years from now—the solar energy industry hopes to cover 30% of energy use in the U.S.
- Also from Forbes, the solar industry has grown 200 times since the Solar Investment Tax Credit was introduced in 2006.
- 18.9 million U.S. homes can be powered by solar energy, according to that same Forbes article.
- Today, the average cost to install solar in a home is $10,878–$21,756.
- Want to live in a state with a high capacity for solar energy? Consider California, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona says Forbes.
- The United States’ number-one source of clean electricity comes from nuclear energy, reported the Department of Energy (DOE) in 2022. Nuclear power plants delivered 50% of our carbon-free electricity in 2021.
- Nuclear fuel is extraordinarily energy dense. One 1-inch uranium pellet is equivalent to 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas, 120 gallons of oil and 1 ton of coal. As a result, all of the spent nuclear fuel produced in the United States from 1961 to 2021 could fit on a football field at a depth of less than 10 yards reports the DOE.
- Ever wonder about the carbon footprint of a lit Christmas tree during the holidays? Probably not, but if you have, the Breakthrough Institute did some calculations using median estimates from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In December 22, 2022, they reported the following:
- A tree that is lit 12 hours a day for 15 days using electricity generated by coal, produces 7.2 pounds of carbon dioxide.
- Combined cycle natural gas (using a gas and steam turbine together) produces 4.3 pounds.
- Hydropower—2.1 pounds
- Solar—0.42 pounds
- Nuclear—0.11 pounds
- Onshore wind—0.10 grams
The takeaway? Megawatt Christmas light displays are best saved for homes near onshore wind turbines.