Quirky facts

Energy

Harness the power of energy with our fun facts that will teach you about watts, energy usage, powerlines and more. 

Waves
  • Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be changed from one form to another.
  • How fast something (such as a solar panel) produces energy, or something (such as your TV or heater) uses energy, is measured in watts (W).
  • 1 kilowatt is 1000W, 1 megawatt is 1,000,000W, 1 gigawatt is 1,000,000,000W, and 1 terawatt is 1,000,000,000,000W!
  • The total power of waves breaking around the world is estimated at 2 to 3 terawatts.
  • The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. Recycling glass also saves 74% of the energy it takes to make glass from raw materials.1
  • In 1957, what may be an ancient battery was discovered in Baghdad. It dates back to 250 B.C.E. Much older than the Energizer Bunny, but not as powerful.
  • Airconditioners use about 96-98% more energy than fans.
  • About one third of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from fossil fuelled electricity production.
  • About 5% of energy in the home is used for lighting (will depend on factors including climate and age of house).
  • The greatest energy expense in the average Australian home is heating and cooling.
  • It takes 50% less energy and 90% less water to produce a ton of paper from recycled paper than from trees.2

 

Electricity

These electrifying facts are sure to spark your interest!

Wind turbines
  • Canberra was the first city to have electricity poles placed in backyards.
  • One of the wind turbines at Lake George produces enough electricity every year to power about 750 homes for the whole year.
  • The first power station in the ACT began operating in 1915.3
  • The first areas to be electrified in the ACT were Duntroon and Acton.4
  • The first electricity meter was installed in Canberra in 1922.5
  • About 88% of electricity in Australia is produced from burning fossil fuels. 
     

Natural gas

Formed over millions of years by the decomposition of once living organisms, natural gas has many fascinating features and uses. 

Flame
  • Natural gas has no odour. The smell is added artificially so that leaks can be detected.
  • Natural gas is lighter than air.
  • When natural gas is cooled to about -162°C, it changes from a gas into a liquid.
  • A cow burps and farts up to 600 litres of methane gas (the main component of natural gas) every day. That is enough to fill up to 40 rather stinky party balloons!
  • Natural gas can be 100 million years old or even older, and it comes from the decay of prehistoric plants, animals and microorganisms.
  • Natural gas burns when mixed with air and ignited.
  • Natural gas is used for heating, hot water heating and cooking in the home, but it also has industrial uses such as making fertilisers and chemicals.

 

Sustainability

Recycling plays an important role in helping to reduce waste and look after our environment. Find out why we do it and how it works with our interesting recycling facts.

Can
  • Aluminium can be recycled over and over and it will always be just as good as the first time it was used. The same is true of all the other metals we commonly use like iron and copper.
  • Recycling one aluminium can uses 95% less energy than making the can again from scratch.
  • Enough sunlight reaches us every 15 minutes to power the world for an entire year.6
  • In 2006-2007, Australians generated almost 48 million tonnes of waste. Of that, only 52% was recycled!7
  • In Australia, about 350 million batteries are purchased every year. Over two thirds of batteries being disposed of are sent to landfill making them the most common form of hazardous waste.8
  • Up to 90% of the materials used in a mobile phone can be recycled.9
  • The average Australian family of four people produces enough rubbish in one year to completely fill a three-bedroom house from floor to ceiling.10

 

 

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1http://www.cleanup.org.au/PDF/au/cua_glass_recycling_factsheet_final.pdf
2http://toxfree.com.au/index.php?MID=002.003.008&MUID=002.003&Section=Recycling Facts and Tips
3P.Donovan, Lights! Water!...ACTEW! A history of ACTEW and its predecessors, ACTEW Corporation, Canberra, 1999,p18.
4Ibid, p18.
5Ibid, p23.
6http://www.trinasolar.com/us/about-us/Why-Solar.html
7http://www.sita.com.au/community-education/site-tours-education/fact-sheets/
8Ibid
9http://www.mobilemuster.com.au/about-us/fast-facts/
10http://www.transpacific.com.au/asset/cms/Documents/Australian%20Waste%20-%20The%20Facts.pdf