Energy Sparks charts are a great way to practise looking at real data.
Before you start you need to know what a kW and a kWh is as lots of Energy Sparks charts have the option to show the energy data in kW or kWh.
kW stands for kilowatt. A kilowatt is simply 1,000 watts, which is a measure of power. So, for example, a 10,000 watt electric shower could also be called a 10 kilowatt shower.
A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a measure of how much energy you’re using. It doesn’t mean the number of kilowatts you’re using per hour. It is simply a unit of measurement that equals the amount of energy you would use if you kept a 1,000 watt appliance running for an hour. So if you switched on a 100 watt light bulb, it would take 10 hours to use up 1 kWh of energy. A 1,000 watt drill needs 1,000 watts (1 kW) of power to make it work, and uses 1 kWh of energy in an hour of continuous use.
Now, here are some questions you could try while looking at the data:
Using line charts
Explore the daily electricity charts for your school
- Find the electricity data for your school for last Wednesday. How many kW of electricity were you using, when your electricity use was highest? What time of day was this? What do you think was happening in the school at this time?
- Can you find how many kW of electricity your school was using at 1am last Wednesday? How much electricity would you expect to use at 1am when no one was in the school? Were you surprised at how much you were using?
Explore the daily gas charts for your school
- Are there times of day when no gas is used?
- Read off the chart to find out when the gas is first turned on in the morning. Is this earlier than you expected?
Using bar charts
Explore the weekly electricity charts for your school
- Find out on which day your school spent the most electricity last week. How much was this in £?
- Find out on which day your school spent the least electricity last week. How much was this in £?
Explore the weekly gas charts for your school
Choose a week in May and a week in January to compare.
- Which day used the most gas in January? How much gas in kWh was used on this day?
- Which day used the most gas in May? How much gas in kWh was used on this day?
- What is the difference between the amount of gas used during the week in January and the week in May?