Treating, supplying and using water all use energy. In this zone you will explore how much of the water you use is hot water and how much energy that might be using, how ECO settings on dishwashers work and the links between water use and climate change. You can design your own game, make your own mini greenhouse or play Pump Power to generate enough energy to pump enough water to a water tower to keep a home supplied with water.

Energy Worksheet


How do you use water at home?
Make a list of all the ways you use water in your home.

Sort them into two lists depending on whether they use hot or cold water.

You have already seen that energy is used to get the water to your house. We only supply cold water so when you want to use hot water you are going to use more energy to heat it up!

How much water do you use?
Carry out a simple check of how much water your family uses and think about whether the water is hot or cold. Be careful with the dishwasher and washing machine, the water might go in cold but does it stay cold? Remember to count everyone in your family when you work out how many times a week each activity is done. When you are ready to enter your answers use the up and down buttons to choose hot or cold and to input how many times a week the activity takes place, the totals will appear for you.

  Hot or cold? How many times a week?
(Remember to count everyone)
How much water is that a week?
Toilet (7 litres)
Teeth cleaning tap off (1 litre)
Teeth cleaning tap running (10 litres)
Bath (100 litres)
Shower for 7 minutes (60 litres)
Dishwasher (18 litres)
Washing machine (55 litres)
Kitchen sink (8 litres)
Total amount of water used    

How much energy do you use to heat the hot water you use?
Electricity is measured in units called kWh which stands for kilowatt-hour. It takes about 0.05kWh to heat one litre of hot water. So to heat 50 litres will use about 2.5kWh.

Work out how much of the water used was hot water and multiply that by 0.05 to find out how much energy was used.

Energy Worksheet

Number of litres of hot water x 0.05 = total energy used in kWh

How much does it cost to heat your hot water?
Your electricity supplier will charge an amount of money per kWh - depending on your on your supplier it will be between 11 to 21 pence. You could ask your adults to find out exactly what you are paying per kWh by looking at the electricity bill. If you don’t know the exact cost per kWh use 15p.

To find out the cost multiply the total amount of energy used by the cost per kWh to find out roughly how much your family spends on heating water.

Energy Worksheet

Energy used in kWh x cost per kWh = cost of heating water (per week)

The less water you heat the less it will cost.

Appliance audit
Electrical appliances have energy labels like this one to show how energy efficient they are. Look in the instruction booklets for your washing machine and dishwasher to find out how efficient your machines are.

Energy Worksheet

Next time your family needs a new electrical appliance encourage them to look at the energy labels and choose an efficient one.

See what the next activity is... Dishwasher investigation

Dishwasher Investigation


Do you have a dishwasher?

Does it have an ECO wash setting and, if so, do you use it?

How does the ECO setting work? The eco setting takes longer but uses less electricity and water. This is because the dishes soak for longer and so they are easier to rinse which means less water is needed. As the water in a dishwasher is heated using less water means using less electricity!

Dishwasher Investigation

Look at the operating instructions for your dishwasher to see the difference. If you can’t find the instructions here is a table taken from one manufacturer

Work out how many times a week your dishwasher is used?
What if it is always used on the normal load setting, how much water and energy would be used?
What if it is always used on the ECO setting, how much water and energy would be used?
Now you can work out the difference and encourage your family to use the ECO setting and remember using less energy will reduce your family's energy bills.

Do you need to rinse dishes before they go in the dishwasher? The answer is NO the dishwasher is designed to rinse off the food so rinsing under the tap using warm water wastes water and energy. If you use 10 litres rinsing dishes each time you use the machine it is a lot of extra water and energy a week.

See what the next activity is... Water energy and climate change

Water Energy and Climate Change


What is climate change?
It is the long term change to the world’s temperature, rainfall and wind. Our planet is surrounded by a thin layer of gases known as the atmosphere. The atmosphere protects the Earth from harmful radiation and helps keep our planet at just the right temperature. Without these gases in the atmosphere the temperature on Earth would be too cold for life but too much gas makes the earth too warm – we need just the right amount.

Climate change is happening faster now than at any other time in the world’s history. This is directly linked to changes in the atmosphere caused by a build up of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. As more of these gases collect in the atmosphere the balance is upset and more heat is trapped meaning the temperature on Earth increases. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a common greenhouse gas and is released when we burn fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) to produce energy.

Climate change and the water cycle
As the Earth gets warmer more water evaporates from the Earth’s surface and is held as water vapour in the air. This disrupts the water cycle because warmer air can hold more water so it rains less often, but when it does rain, the rainfall is heavier and can result in flooding. Because the Earth is warmer and it rains less often the land dries out so when it does rain the water can’t soak into the ground as easily and can cause sudden floods.

Climate change and water use
As the Earth warms up we are using more water to drink, keep cool and water our crops. The population is also increasing so there are more people all wanting to use more water. This means water companies are using more energy to supply the water and are often having to pump it from deeper under the ground which uses more energy.

Put simply, the more water we use, the more energy we use to treat and supply the water; the more energy we use, the more CO2 we release and the more we damage the atmosphere and increase global warming which means we need more water to drink and water our crops and the negative cycle continues!

Water Energy and Climate Change

We need to use less water and less energy or at least less polluting renewable energy (such as wind and solar power) to reduce the impact of climate change. At SES Water we use 100% renewable energy which is important as each day we use enough electricity to power 13,000 homes!

What can you do about it?

  • Do all you can to use less energy and that includes using less water, especially less hot water
  • Reduce food waste - think of all the resources that go into growing and supplying food
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle and buy less
  • Walk, or cycle when you can rather than use the car
  • Turn off lights and appliances when they are not in use
  • Avoid single use plastic such as straws, throwaway cups and carrier bags

See what the next activity is... Make your own snakes and ladders game

Climate Change Snake and Ladders


Help your family learn more about climate change by making your own game of snakes and ladders with hidden messages.

You will need: large piece of paper or card, pencil, ruler, black pen and coloured pens.

Snakes and Ladders

Your paper or card should be at least 20cm x 20cm as you need to draw a grid of 100 squares on it. If you can make it bigger you will have more space to write your messages in the squares!

Climate Change Snake and Ladders

Next you need to number each square. Use your black pen and number each square in the top left corner. You need to leave space to write your hidden messages. The numbers start with one in the bottom left and go along to the right to 10, then up and along the next row starting with 11 and so on until you get to 100.

Climate Change Snake and Ladders

Next lightly pencil in some snakes and ladders of different lengths to take players up or down the board.

Now for the hidden messages. Think about the actions that help prevent climate change and those that make it worse, in some squares add extra instructions such as :

Go forward 2 you took your own bag to the shop
Go back 3 you left the lights on

When you are happy with how it looks you can colour it all in and then start to play. You will need a counter or marker each and a dice.

How to play
Each player needs a different coloured counter.
Take it in turns to throw the dice and move around the board following the instructions.
Ladders take you up to a higher level
Snakes take you back down to a lower level
The first person to reach square 100 is the WINNER!

See what the next activity is... Make your mini greenhouse

Make a mini greenhouse


What is a greenhouse? How does it work? Why are they used to grow plants?
Try this investigation to find out how a greenhouse may help seeds to grow and think about the reasons why.

You will need: Two empty plastic bottles , sharp scissors or a knife, compost or soil, vegetable seeds of your choice and water.

Make a mini greenhouse
Make a mini greenhouse
  1. Ask an adult to poke holes in the base of each bottle, and then cut each bottle in half.
  2. Fill the base of each bottle with compost and plant a few of your chosen seeds. Water generously.
  3. Squeeze the cut off top of one bottle and insert it inside the base to create your mini greenhouse. Leave the other bottle open.
  4. Find a nice, sunny windowsill to position the bottles. Don’t forget to place a dish underneath the bottles to catch the water.
    Make sure you water them regularly; you can water the closed bottle through the bottle top.
  5. Observe what happens over the next few days and weeks. Think about how greenhouses work.

When your seeds begin to germinate measure the growth every 2-3 days. Record your results and create a line graph. What do you notice? What do you think has affected your results?

We know that garden greenhouses keep the air inside warmer than the air outside. The natural greenhouse effect created by our atmosphere is one of the things that makes Earth a comfortable place to live. Carry out your own research to find out more about greenhouse gases, the greenhouse effect and how human activities are upsetting the natural balance.