Energy is everywhere. We use energy to move the mouse for a computer, to jump and shout and walk and run. It takes energy to power a light bulb, and the light that the bulb gives off is also a form of energy called radiant energy. Radiant energy from the sun enables vegetables, plants, trees and us to live and grow! Other forms of energy include heat, chemical energy, kinetic (motion) energy, gravitational energy and nuclear power.
Electricity is a form of energy and this is what powers the TV, the kettle, dishwasher, hairdryer, toaster, remote control, mobile phone, fridge, stereo, electric toothbrush, mp3 player and more!
Detectives - Can you guess how many things need electricity in your house? Take a guess, then go on a detective mission and write down all the things you find. Set up a competition in your family and see who's guess is the closest!
Do you want to know how much electricity the world's human population uses? See our Energy factsheet in the Related Resources below,
Our growing need for energy is one of the problems facing the world today, because producing electricity also produces our next topic - pollution.
When you’re next using electricity think about where it comes from and how you can use less to take the strain off of the environment - here are some simple ways to make a big difference:
- On or Off? Leaving televisions, stereos and computers on standby with the little red light showing still uses up electricity, even though they might look like they're turned off. To stop this you can turn them off at the wall. Simple!
- Lights out! Turning lights off when you're not in the room (make sure no-one else is too!) can save a lot of energy.
- Putting the kettle on Britons drink an amazing 60.2 billion cups of tea a day according to The Tea Council. That's a lot of tea, and a lot of electricity too! That's why it's important to only boil as much water as you need in your kettle. It's best to boil enough water for one cup, not three or five - plus you won't have to wait as long, which is a bonus!
- Brrrr The fridge is an important part of the kitchen, it keeps food fresh, cool and healthy! But it takes a lot of energy to keep cool, so help it by not leaving the fridge door open or putting hot things inside.
- Shopping Many products are now helping you to reduce your energy use and your parents’ energy bills! Check new products for their efficiency grade and rating and keep an eye out for the Energy Efficiency Recommended logo.
- Harness the sun’s energy - An increasing number of people are fitting solar panels to their houses. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels create electricity from sunlight, which can then be used to power their homes. Solar heating panels make hot water, reducing the need for electricity or gas to heat water or run the central heating system.