Energy Conservation

Lagos Teachers Get Energized with Energy4me

Earlier this spring, the Lagos section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers trained local teachers on Energy4me curriculum who then taught energy programs at their schools. Hear about their experience below, and see the energy education happening in the photos!

In a move first of its kind in Nigeria, the Society of Petroleum Engineers has collaborated with the Lagos Power Kids Program to bring Energy4me to 50 secondary schools in Lagos state.  The Lagos Power Kids Program is an initiative of the Lagos state government as part of the power sector development plan to help improve energy efficiency and conservation practice among its citizens. The Power kids program is an interactive, extra-curricular club activity specifically aimed at students of the junior secondary school sector and currently runs as a reward for the top schools which won the Governor’s award for Public schools. One thousand students participated in the program.

SPE prepared the oil and gas module and distributed the Energy4me packs and posters for the students and lecturers.  On March 4th 2014, SPE Lagos section held a teach the trainers workshop where the 50 teachers and 10 supervisors were taken through the module and the experiment.  The Lagos section volunteers had an interactive session with the teachers answering various questions posed by them. The pictures below complete the story.




Teacher Questions for Volunteers


Getting the Oil Out


Getting the Oil Out


Group with SPE Volunteers


These pictures and more can be found in our Lagos Teachers Facebook album. Know of other Energy4me activities happening in your region? Share with us!

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Cheers to the New Year!


from the Energy4me team!

As another year comes to a close, it’s time to think about what we can improve upon in 2014.  Most people make resolutions about eating healthier or saving money, but why not make a resolution to stay educated in energy!  Stay up to date with us on where our energy comes from, new developments in energy technology, your energy use, and how to be smart about saving energy. So in the spirit of the New Year, consider the following resolutions:

  • Change out those old light bulbs to new LED bulbs.  Yes they are more money upfront, but LED’s last 50 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and they can reduce your yearly lighting costs by 75%.  Who wouldn’t love only having to change light bulbs once every 50 years?
  • Turn off electronics when they aren’t in use, and better yet, unplug them.  Many electronic devices like TVs, cell phone chargers, and computers use power even when they are turned off.  According to the Energy Star statistics, the average US household spends $100 dollars a year to power devices that are turned off.  On a national basis, standby power accounts for more than 100 billion kilowatt hours of annual U.S. electricity consumption and more than $10 billion in annual energy costs.
  • Keep the tires on your vehicles properly inflated.  You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the optimum pressure.  Not only that, properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
  • Teachers – stay connected with 2014 workshop training opportunities and classroom resources.
  • Subscribe to the Energy4me newsletter to receive information year-round and share energy education with your family, friends, students, colleagues, and community! Sign Up Here>>

What are your plans for the new year? Share with us in the comments!

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‘Tis the Season to Save Some Energy!


The holidays seem to be in full swing with decorative light displays all around us.  If you are still hanging old incandescent lights on your house or tree, it might be time to trade them in for more efficient LED lights.  Even better, turn this seasons decorations into a teachable moment!  Did you know that the old large bulbs (C7 and C9) use 175 Watts of electricity per string compared to the new large bulb LEDs which use only 2 Watts per string?  The average monthly cost to power 10 strings of the old lights for 6 hours a day is $56.70 compared to $1.36 for 10 stings of LED’s!  Not to mention LEDs are:

  • Safer: LEDs stay much cooler than incandescent lights, reducing the risk of burnt fingers, or worse combustion. Incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as wasted heat.
  • Sturdier: LEDs are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, which are much more resistant to breaking.
  • Longer lasting: The same LED string you buy this year could still be on your tree 40 years from now!
  • Easier to install:  Up to 25 strings can be connected end-to-end without overloading a standard wall socket.

Check out this great comparison of different holiday displays, and how much energy and money LED’s could save your family.

There are lots of great resources out there about energy efficiency you can use in your classroom.  Check out the NEED projects unit called Energy Conservation Contract.  This unit is great because not only do your students learn about saving energy, but they also take their knowledge home to help their families conserve as well.  Also the Franklin Institute, in partnership with Penn State MRSEC (Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers), put together this question and answer fact sheet about light bulb efficiency.  What are you going to do to conserve energy this year?   

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US Energy Use – Rise in Natural Gas, Solar and Wind

The 2012 data is in! The Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, operated with the Department of Energy, collects data to share unique graphics about American energy consumption. In their latest flowchart, energy sources of production are detailed with how the energy is used and how much waste exists. In 2012, an increase in natural gas, solar panels, and wind turbines were used to generate electricity.

Because of sustained low prices and technology advances, natural gas has become a strong substitute for coal as an energy source. The rise in the renewables, solar and wind, also has to do with decreasing costs of electricity-producing panels and turbines. Overall, U.S. energy use fell by 2 percent from 2011.

Check out the Laboratory’s flowchart, and see how the sources are represented!


For the full article linked to the Laboratory’s flowchart and more facts about the data, VISIT HERE. 

Energy4me provides in-depth detail about each energy source in a comparison chart. See the pros and cons, challenges, and conservation efforts of each one HERE. 


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SPE Dallas Section Hosts Science Teacher Barnett Shale Field Trip!

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Dallas section took local science teachers on a Barnett Shale field trip Thursday, November 18, 2011.

The tour started off at the Ellison Miles Geotechnology Institute (EMGI) where Dallas section members Toni Lott, Brad Robinson, Deborah Hempel-Medina, Brian Chacka, and Patrick Crawford made a presentation covering the history of Oil and Natural Gas, Geology and the History of Barnett Shale, Drilling a well, and Hydraulic Fracturing. Teachers were engaged in the presentations and asked the presenters a lot of questions to get a better understanding of the industry and how they could relay the information to their students in the classroom.

After the overview, everyone was styling in their safety gear as they prepared to go out into the field. Each participant wore steeled toed boots, fire retardant overalls, safety glasses, ear plugs, and hard hats. The teachers were able to visit three sites where they learned firsthand about safety, advance technologies, and rules and regulations all involved in operating each site. The sites teachers visited are listed as follows.

  • Williams Company Drilling Site
  • Devon Energy Hydraulic Fracturing Site
  • Chesapeake Learning Center

After a full day of touring, teachers headed back to the Dallas Convention Center full of knowledge about the industry, their hard hat as a souvenir, and information to take back to their classrooms that included an “Oil and Natural Gas” book.

This workshop was made possible by the Ellison Miles Geotechnology Institute, Society of Petroleum Engineers-Dallas Section, Halliburton Energy Services, Williams Company, Devon Energy Company, Baker-Hughes Oilfield Services and Chesapeake Energy.

Energy4me and the Society of Petroleum Engineers want to thank everyone involved.

Learn more about careers in the industry.

Vampire Energy – Ah, Ah, Ah

Beware! Vampire energy could be lurking behind every corner in your house. You might ask yourself “What is vampire energy and how can I protect myself?”

Vampire energy is electrical power used by appliances and equipment while switched off or not performing their primary function, often waiting to be activated. This loss of energy is known as standby or vampire energy, it’s fairly small but increasing in households across the globe.

Modern appliances and electronic devices that have lights or digital displays receive signals continuously and act like vampires sucking energy even when they are turned off!

Listed are a few simple things you can do at home to cut down on vampire energy.

  • unplug your appliances and portable chargers when not in use
  • use a power strip for things like your computer, fax machine and printer and then turn the power strip off.
  • Purchase appliances that use less energy, look for the Energy Star labels

Some of the biggest culprits that waste energy in our homes are the adapters that come with rechargeable or battery-powered devices such as cordless phones, cell phones, digital cameras, music players, and power tools. They can draw power when plugged in whether the device is fully charged or connected.

By doing these simple tasks at home, you can save energy, save money, and take a bite out of vampire energy!

Learn more ways to save energy!

Participate in America’s Home Energy Education Challenge!

Guest Author – Matthew Maguire Inman, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, United States Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

It’s that time again: Back to school season is officially here! Time for students to prepare for the new experiences and challenges that they will encounter throughout the upcoming school year.

One such challenge—from the Department of Energy in partnership with the National Science Teachers Association—aims to tap into the creativity and enthusiasm of students across the country.

America’s Home Energy Education Challenge is designed to educate students in grades 3-8 about the benefits of energy efficiency, and motivate them to encourage their families and communities to put energy and money-saving ideas learned in the classroom into action at home.

“This exciting competition is designed to inspire the next generation of energy leaders to take simple and affordable steps today that will save money and get them thinking about energy issues at an early age,” said Energy Secretary Chu.

There are two ways for teachers, students and families to participate: The first is through the Home Energy Challenge and the second is through the Energy Fitness Award. Each is designed to encourage learning about science and energy with the added benefit of saving money by saving energy. The Home Energy Challenge encourages students to work with their families to reduce home energy use—monitoring energy savings over a three-month period. Schools with the highest number of points earned for reducing household energy usage, student participation, creativity and overall quality of their local energy savings program qualify for awards.

The Energy Fitness Award is a separate individualized educational challenge scheduled to begin September 20, 2011. Modeled after the President’s Physical Fitness Test, the Energy Fitness Award encourages students to complete specific tasks, such as interpreting a home energy bill and learning how to conduct a home energy assessment, and then demonstrate their learning and proficiency. The Energy Fitness Award will challenge students to become smart energy users. Each student who successfully completes the components of the Energy Fitness Award will receive an Energy Fitness Badge.

Participating schools and classrooms, as well as Home School networks, will compete within 11 regions for more than $200,000 in prizes distributed at the regional and national levels. Official registration for the Home Energy Education Challenge began August 15, and ends on October 7, 2011. Students are encouraged to register with their teachers by September 30, 2011 to take advantage of the full energy savings period.

For more information, visit the Home Energy Education Challenge website. And for more on how saving energy saves you money, visit the Energy Savers and Kids Saving Energy pages. Also, visit for tips on how you can save more energy at home!

The Ambassadors for Pakistan have done it again!

For the second year in a row, the “Ambassadors for Pakistan” have made several visits in their community presenting energy awareness and making an impact! The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) NED University Student Chapter in Karachi, Pakistan, conducted five Energy4me presentations this year in secondary schools, colleges and universities in Pakistan.

The student-run program promotes SPE and educates the surrounding schools about the oil and gas industry and the challenges facing it today.

The schools they visited

  1. Abdullah Government College
  2. The Fahim’s A-Levels School System
  3. CharterHouse Public School
  4. A.M.S.B Al-Madrast-us-Saifyat-ul-Burhaniya
  5. Jinnah University For Women

Energy4me and SPE would like to express our thanks to the commitment and continued efforts of this student chapter!

Ambassadors for Pakistan Team (2009-present)

  • Hernan Buijs- SPE Student Development Committee Officer (mentor, motivator, and visit sponsor)
  • M Turab Mehdi – Ambassadors for Pakistan – Team Executive Head & Planner
  • Tabinda Saeed – HR Manager
  • Syeda Hasan- Team Manager

New presenters added this year.

  • Sidra Chughtai – Presenter
  • Omer Ashan – Presenter
  • Shahzeb Barber – Presenter
  • Eijaz Danish – Presenter
  • Mufaddal Murtaza – Presenter

Energy4me encourages young industry leaders to get involved in their community by giving classroom presentations or holding educational outreach programs like the SPE NED student chapter. These presentations make a huge impact and inspire future generations!

Share with us your contributions and outreach efforts in your community that you are already making with Energy4me and email us at or read more on how you can get involved in your community!

Again, thank you to the SPE NED University Student Chapter on your continued education outreach efforts in Pakistan!

Energy Education Materials are a Hit!

Guest Author – Mary Spruill, Executive Director, National Energy Education Development Project (NEED)

Energy4Me materials developed in partnership with NEED are a huge hit and will be used by NEED’s trainers throughout the 2011-2012 school year.

Throughout the year, The NEED Project ( and Energy4me, the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) energy education program, work together on many energy education activities including the Teacher and Student Workshop at the Offshore Technology Conference and the Teacher and Student Workshop at SPE’s ATCE.  Each summer though, NEED’s energy programs get bigger and faster paced with so many kids and teachers to reach in only a few short weeks.  This June and July were no exception with over 550 kids and teachers in Washington, D.C. to participate in the 31st Annual NEED Youth Awards for Energy Achievement.  This event recognizes school groups who commit to learning about energy and to sharing their knowledge with their peers, their teachers and their communities.  Students submit portfolios of  their energy programming in April for review at the state and national level, and the winning schools come spend 4 days in the Nation’s Capital sharing their energy work, touring our monuments and museums, and meeting with elected and appointed officials.

On a sleepy Sunday morning during the conference – the kids are up early and working on hands-on activities featuring the lessons provided by Energy4Me and some lessons that NEED and Energy4Me created together.  The students are learning about porosity and permeability, and the work needed to bring oil and natural gas to market.  They learn about transportation efficiency too and consider ways to make the vehicles of tomorrow and their own driving habits more efficient too.  The activities from Energy4Me are engaging, fun, and provide students with the background they need to really understand the oil and natural gas resources we use each day.  They leave with big smiles, new friends, and new activities to take home to their communities and share.

As soon as the Youth Awards wraps up, NEED’s training team heads out to the NEED National Energy Conference for Educators.  This year’s conference in Denver, Colorado hosted 150 educators from across the country and from Thailand and the Saipan.  For a week, the educators were like students at summer camp – learning about each other and about energy so they could return to their classrooms and teach energy with excitement and fun.  The Energy4Me activities and the presentation resources allow students and teachers alike to look more deeply into oil and natural gas development and use.  This year’s opening speaker was Don McClure, Vice President for Community Relations, Legal and Finance at EnCana, one of America’s largest natural gas producers.  Don’s extensive background in energy provided teachers with a look at how diverse the industry is, the number of jobs available for all types of students, and the challenges and opportunities that abound in developing natural gas in America.  In the days that followed, teachers learned about density, drilling technologies, properties of oil and natural gas and are prepared to take the lessons home and open up the oil and natural gas world to their students.

But that’s not all.  After Denver, the team packed up and traveled to La Quinta, California for NEED’s Facilitator Training Conference.  This conference is hosted every few years and brings together teachers, NEED’s training staff, and energy professionals from many companies and  agencies to sharpen their facilitation skills, to train on new content and new materials, and to learn how to deliver energy curriculum and training to teachers in NEED’s 600+ energy trainings each year.  This year’s group of 40 trainers rolled up their sleeves and researched and presented about America’s leading energy sources, they debated the advantages and disadvantages of the energy sources we use today, and they developed methods to share energy information with teachers and students nationwide. The It is a busy (but fun!) summer and together with SPE, NEED is reaching thousands of teachers and students each year.  As America’s teachers head back to school this month, let’s take a minute to thank them and to encourage them to teach about energy as often as possible in class!

For the 2011-2012 NEED curriculum guides or to register for a NEED workshop near you visit!


Is there really such a thing as a clean energy source?

Guest Author – Mary Spruill, Executive Director, National Energy Education Development Project (NEED)

In my work, I am often asked if there is really any such thing as clean energy.  Every day there is a news story, a press release from a company or government agency talking about clean energy.  Even President Obama talked about clean energy in the 2011 State of the Union Speech.  In the 600 or so workshops the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) provides for teachers each year, we field constant questions about what clean energy is and how can we define it. 

Truthfully, energy is complex.  Energy is complicated.  But there are some things about energy that are simple.  Energy cannot be created nor destroyed.  It can be transformed.  It is in that transformation that we harness the energy we use to heat and cool our homes, to generate electricity to power our houses, apartment buildings, office buildings, and factories, and to fuel our vehicles to move products and ourselves from place to place.  All of the energy we use requires that transformation to make it do work.  That’s what energy is – the ability to do work. 

The use of energy requires us to make some pretty complicated decisions.  For over 20 years, my experience with NEED and the people with whom we work has shown me that although some energy decisions may seem to be simple, they can be very complex.  Each decision must take into account economic, environmental, public perception and, often, available technologies and capabilities.  With all of this as background, is it really possible to say that there is a perfectly clean energy source?  Perhaps it is possible to say that an energy source is CLEANER than another, but saying that any energy source is clean really doesn’t tell the full story.  All energy sources have advantages and disadvantages.  That is why energy decisions require a deep understanding of energy. 

Development of oil and natural gas requires drilling into the earth on land, or below our oceans, refining and processing the oil and gas, and moving the resulting products to markets to use them. (pipeline, tanker truck, tanker ship, barge and more)  When we use oil and natural gas we burn it releasing carbon dioxide and other emissions.  Developing wind requires decisions on land use, the mining and development of materials to build wind turbines, the trucking and shipping of the components (the tower, nacelles, blades) to the site for installation and the running of power lines to be able to move the electricity generated from the wind to market.  Solar requires tools to capture the radiant and thermal energy. Photovoltaic cells are made from mined materials that must be manufactured into the solar cells we see on our houses, road-side signage, and elsewhere.  Large-scale solar takes a lot of land to produce large amounts of electricity.  Then power lines must be put in place to move that electricity too.

I often hear representatives of one energy source saying how different their energy source is from others.  In reality, some of the fundamentals are the same.  We have to move the energy we need to where we need it, electricity over power lines (needed equipment to harness the wind or the sun) or pipelines to move oil and natural gas.  That movement has an impact on the environment too.  When wind developers plan a wind farm, they often run into the same challenges that oil and gas developers deal with and that’s how best to use the land and to return it to as close to its original state as possible.  When native species of plants and animals are considered, wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, hydropower, coal, uranium, oil and natural gas, all can have an impact on local plants and animals.  So, all decisions have to take that impact into consideration during the planning process. 

Certainly, some energy sources do not have to be mined or drilled for, but the equipment needed to harness them comes from mined and drilled resources.   Some energy sources really are better for certain needs like bringing more work per unit of energy than others.  Some sources require us to overhaul our energy infrastructure like the power grid and pipelines or even the cars we choose and how we power them.  Some require us to find plenty of land to install the equipment and then the power lines to move the electricity to where we need it. 

Making a clean energy decision is making the choice, when possible, to use less energy by conserving it and being more efficient.    When you choose to turn the lights off when you leave the room, walk or carpool instead of driving alone, you choose to make the cleanest energy decision possible.  Energy – how we produce it, use it, and conserve it are based on our personal energy decisions. 

 If students in today’s classrooms can understand two things it would be, one, that all energy sources have advantages and disadvantages and that a specific energy need may be best met by one specific energy source and, two, that the decision making process requires energy knowledge, an understanding of technological capabilities, and the willingness to always look for a better way, a cleaner way, to meet our energy needs.

Learn more about energy and energy sources.