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Watt's in the News - Volume 30

BTU Crew Newsletter Volume #21: Kilowatts Cost What?

Electricity plays an important role in our lives. We depend on it every day to light and cool our homes, play our music, cook our food, dry our clothes, and stream our favorite shows on TV. Yet many of us never think about the electricity that makes our lives simpler until the power goes off. We have become so used to having electric power whenever we need it that we often take our electric grid for granted.

Our electricity is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). A kilowatt is equal to 1,000 watts. We are charged by our electric utility for the number of hours we use a kilowatt of electricity.  The device below is a kilowatt hour light strip. We use this device to demonstrate a kilowatt hour of electricity to students. 10 light bulbs, each one being a 100-watt incandescent bulb, represents 1,000 watts or one kilowatt of electricity.  If the light strip is turned on for one hour, that represents one kilowatt hour of electricity.  This light strip provides a visual representation of one kilowatt hour of electricity.

Kilowatt hour light strip

Most students have no idea what a kilowatt hour of electricity costs in your home.  Would you like to take a guess? Most of you would guess way too high. The average cost of one kilowatt hour of electricity in the United States currently is 16.19 cents per kilowatt hour (  Electricity is one of the most economical energy sources we have available to us.

Ask your parents to see your monthly electric bill and see if you can identify how many kWh’s of electricity your family used last month. What are some ways you can reduce your electricity usage in your home? Just because electricity is a low cost form of energy for us, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be looking for ways to use it more efficiently. 

Tate Honaker

Meet Dan WhislerTrane Educator in Residence

Tate Honaker

Meet Bill NelsonTrane Educator in Residence

Learn more about Trane's STEM Education Programs