In a first step to understanding how to mitigate the effects of greenhouse gases on our environment, engineers have created a method to convert the numbers on an energy bill to the production of greenhouse gases.
Systems engineer David Shropshire's research into more accurately assessing the different, complex scenarios for reducing greenhouse gas production will be presented at this year's Third Annual Dixy Lee Ray Memorial Symposium in Washington, D.C. His work will be presented by colleague Karen Moore, mechanical engineer at the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, on the morning of August 30, 2000. The symposium is an international conference to discuss technologies to manage the carbon that human activities disperse to the environment.
"Greenhouse gas" refers to carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other gases that are thought to trap solar energy and cause changes to the world's environment. The gases are created through common industrial processes and also by using fossil fuel-based energy. Some energy production methods, such as hydroelectric and nuclear power, are "cleaner" than others and produce less or no greenhouse gases.
The level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is on the rise--higher levels are implicated in rising temperatures and changing weather worldwide. Two years ago, the INEEL began developing a method to convert simple energy use numbers (those you'd find on an electric bill) and other contributing factors into a more accurate picture of greenhouse gas production. In 1999, President Clinton issued an Executive Order requiring all federal facilities to reduce their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 2010.
In support of President Clinton's energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions goals, the Department of Energy's national laboratories are required to report their energy use each quarter. The gross energy usage is then converted
Contact: Mary Beckman
DOE/Idaho National Laboratory