Chemistry and Energy Efficiency
As citizens and consumers, it is impossible to escape the impact of chemistry and energy on daily life. We drive to work in cars and buses made lighter, safer, and more efficient because of advances in chemistry. We live in homes with more efficient insulation and building products. We fly on planes that are lighter because of the materiel science advances that have made lighter weight, more efficient products possible. We are thankful every time we drop a bottle of shampoo in the shower and it doesn’t shatter because it is now made of plastic and not glass.
Making these products takes technological skill and innovation and as part of the celebration of the International Year of Chemistry, NEED, Shell Chemical, the International Council of Chemical Associations, and the American Chemistry Council joined together to bring teachers and students a deeper look at chemistry in daily life, the use of energy by the chemistry industry, careers in chemistry and the impact of the chemistry industry on carbon dioxide and climate change. Most of the time, individuals don’t think about the Life Cycle of a product or an activity. A Life Cycle Analysis considers factors like all cumulative cost to make a product, cumulative greenhouse gas emissions to make that product, and any savings or reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from using the product.
In 2009, the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) commissioned a Carbon Life Cycle Analysis, facilitated by McKinsey & Company, to look at ways the chemistry industry can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Using this study, which took into account only greenhouse gas emissions, NEED created the backgrounders, lessons and activities found on this site. Teachers and students are invited to explore the site and to learn more about the people, the products and the technologies present in the chemistry industry’s work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing and in commercial and residential activities too.
Using this site in the classroom
The Teacher Guide Tab contains background information and activities teachers may utilize in their classrooms to reinforce the concepts in the curriculum. Each activity lists the amount of time and all materials needed. The materials listed are either readily available in most science classrooms or easily purchased locally at little cost. Any printed materials for students are listed with a link to a pdf file to download. You will need Adobe Reader, a free download, to access the printed worksheets. Any and all materials may be reproduced for classroom use.
The Students Tab contains the written backgrounders, including a link for printer-friendly versions.
The Presentations Tab contains presentations that can be used by chemistry industry professionals who might visit your classroom.
The Video Tab contains video interviews with leading chemists involved in the manufacturing of products and in the work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Quiz Tab contains an interactive quiz that may be used as a pre-test before students learn as well as an assessment of their learning. Test your knowledge!
The NEED Project is honored to bring these resources to teachers and students with support from the International Council of Chemical Associations and the American Chemistry Council. Special thanks to Shell Chemicals for assistance with photos and videos. Understanding the products we consume is important in any discussion of energy use and climate change. NEED values teacher feedback, feel free to contact us at any time.