An energy efficiency quiz!

The 2012 Ms. Green Energy Quiz – Do you know your energy efficiency facts?


Ms. Green feels like she’s always hammering you over the head with the same basic information about energy efficiency, and yet she is worried that while many of you nod your heads when reading her informed and charming responses to the many questions offered to her in this column, that you have not yet internalized the truth about how best to live lives of complete energy efficiency, saving yourself money whilst saving the world at the same time. Thus, she offers up this quiz that you can use to test your knowledge. If you get a 100% correct then Ms. Green has done her job.

1.  What single activity consumes the largest percentage of energy over the lifetime of the average American?

a) ground transportation

b) food production and transport

c) home heating and cooling

d) air transportation


2. If your home’s energy bills are high, to get the best return on your investment you should:

a) get new windows

b)install more insulation

c) seal air leaks

d)replace appliances


3. For the price of building one nuclear reactor, typically funded through increases in our utility bills, how many homes could be weatherized to save the same amount of money?

a) 10,000 – 20,000

b) 100,000 – 200,000

c) 1 million – 2 million

d) more than 2 million


4. How many more jobs would be created if we weatherized our homes and became more energy efficient instead of building a single nuclear power plant?

a)at least 5000 more

b)at least 10,000 more

c)at least 100,000 more

d)at least 400,000 more


5. The most cost effective way to become more energy efficient in this country is to:

a) put solar panels on top of every roof

b) increase vehicle fuel efficiency to double what it is now

d) build only highly energy efficient homes from this point forward

e) weatherize existing homes


6. By replacing single-pane windows with new, double-pane energy efficient windows, the average homeowner in central NC will see a complete payback of his or her investment in:

a) 3 years

b )5 years

c) 10 years

d) 20 years


7. By adding storm windows to existing single-pane windows, the average homeowner in central NC will see a complete payback of his or her investment in:

a) 3 years

b) 5 years

c) 10 years

d) 20 years


8. The most crucial purchase for making the average central NC home more energy efficient is:

a) a new refrigerator

b) an on-demand water heater

c) new windows

d) a case of caulk


9. In terms of energy efficiency, addressing “low hanging fruit” would mean:

a) installing crawl space insulation

b) sealing HVAC ductwork

c) changing out light bulbs, plugging TVs into power strips, and turning down the thermostat in winter

d) weatherstripping ground floor windows


10. What part of the average central NC home typically leaks 30% of conditioned air?

a) windows

b) ductwork

c) chimneys

d) electrical outlets



1. c. Home heating and cooling has the biggest effect on the average American’s carbon footprint over his or her lifetime. If you ask Ms. Green, becoming more energy efficient is the single most important thing we should do as a nation to become less dependent on foreign oil and more sustainable as a country.

2.  c. Air leaks are the primary reason for loss of conditioned air. Leaks in the attic and the crawl space, as well as leaks in the air ducts, have the biggest impact on heating and cooling bills. Windows can be leaky, but typically leaks from windows aren’t as big a deal as those in other parts of the house, plus, windows are very expensive to replace. Sealing air leaks in the attic, crawl, or air ducts is one of the least expensive and most effective energy efficiency changes you can make in your home.

3. d. Why are we even considering building new nuclear power (or coal, or whatever) plants when we can weatherize and get far more benefit? See for details.

4. d. If we need jobs in this country, we should weatherize. ‘Nuff said. See energy for details.

5. e. Ms. Green can’t say it enough: weatherizing existing housing stock is THE ANSWER to this country’s energy crisis, plus it creates jobs, plus it puts more money in everyone’s pocket.

6. d. Ms. Green told you that replacing your windows gives you poor return on your investment.

7. a or b, depending on your existing windows, how many windows you have, and whether or not you install the storms yourself.

8. d. Caulk seals air leaks. Air leaks = energy leaks. Energy leaks = wasting money. Therefore caulking air leaks = saving big money.

9. c. Fixing low hanging fruit is a great first step, but then you need to do a, b, and d to see true energy savings.

10. b. Ouch. Sealing your ductwork is a very important part of becoming more energy efficient.

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