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Estimated State-Level Energy Flows in 2008

A.J. Simon, R.D. Belles, Lawrence Livermore National Lab

Sankey (or Spaghetti) diagrams parse out the energy flow by state, based on 2008 data from the Dept. of Energy. These diagrams can help bring a local perspective to energy consumption. The estimates include rejected or lost energy but don't necessarily include losses at the ultimate user end that are due to lack of insulation.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Static Visualization supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 1 Science and Engineering Practice

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • States across the U.S. could be compared and analyzed for similarities and differences.
  • As the document indicates "Livermore has also published charts depicting carbon (or carbon dioxide potential) flow and water flow at the national level as well as energy, carbon, and water flows at the international, state, municipal, and organizational (e.g. Air Force) level." These related charts can be used to gain a more comprehensive view of the linkages between energy, carbon, and water.

About the Science

  • Energy is visualized as it flows from resources (coal, oil, natural gas, various renewables) through transformations into electricity or transportation fuels, and to end-user segments (residential, commercial, industrial, transportation).
  • Authoritative data from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
  • The fact that in many states the rejected energy lost into the environment is greater than, and in some cases much greater than, the energy services provided by the energy demonstrates the need for improving energy efficiency and reducing waste.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • The Energy Flow conceptual maps from 2008 are constructed from publicly available data on estimates of energy use and patterns.
  • These diagrams can help frame the flow of energy through the infrastructure of a particular state and provide a local or regional snapshot of energy sources and waste.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The diagrams are bundled as a large PDF requiring searching for the state of particular interest to the learner.
  • Downloadable document.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Static Visualization supports:

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

HS-ESS3.A1:Resource availability has guided the development of human society.

HS-ESS3.A2:All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors.

HS-PS3.B2:Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transported from one place to another and transferred between systems

HS-PS3.B4:The availability of energy limits what can occur in any system.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Systems and System Models

HS-C4.3:Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales.

HS-C4.4:Models can be used to predict the behavior of a system, but these predictions have limited precision and reliability due to the assumptions and approximations inherent in models.

Science and Engineering Practices: 1

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.

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