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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP Environmental Science
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  • Energy sources and availability has been a struggle throughout human civilization, dating back to Ancient Greece and Rome
  • Energy key terms include: work, energy, 1st law of thermodynamics, 2nd law of thermodynamics, laws of efficiency (1st and 2nd), and thermal efficiency
  • U.S. energy consumption has changed dramatically in the past half of a century: from 30 exajoules (quadrillion Btu) in 1950 to 100 exajoules in 2009
  • U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but consumes 20% of the energy globally, 90% coming from petroleum, natural gas, and coal
  • Alternative energy sources include geothermal, nuclear, hydropower, and solar, and renewable energy sources include solar and wind (because they don’t get depleted over time)
  • When it comes to conserving energy we must consider: energy efficiency, cogeneration, building design, and values/choices
  • A sustainable energy policy would involve: more reliance on renewables, maximum effectiveness, flexibility/accessibility, and quality/efficiency with respect to the 2nd law of thermodynamics
  • Micropower involves smaller, distributed systems for producing electricity


Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Past Struggles with Energy 0:04
    • Ancient Greece
    • Ancient Rome
  • Energy Basics 3:44
    • Work
    • Laws of Thermodynamics
    • Laws of Efficiency
    • Thermal Efficiency
  • U.S. Energy Consumption: Now and Later 12:14
    • 1950s
    • 1970s
    • 2009
    • 2030
    • 2050
  • Energy Sources 14:16
    • U.S. Uses 20% of Energy
    • Alternative
    • Renewable
  • Conservation of Energy 17:37
    • Conservation
    • Energy Efficiency
    • Cogeneration
    • Building Design
    • Values and Choices
  • Sustainable-Energy Policy 25:38
    • Not Business as Usual
    • Energy Sustainability Policy
  • Micropower 30:08
    • Smaller, Distributed Systems for Electricity Production
    • Homes Have Their Own Small Power Systems
    • Distributive Power Systems