Judges’ Queries and Presenter’s Replies

  • Icon for: Nick Ruktanonchai

    Nick Ruktanonchai

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 04:07 p.m.

    Great experiment! You mention that a car releases 0.14 pounds of CO2 every minute it idles. Where did you obtain that estimate? Does that change with different car types?

  • Icon for: Nancy Wu

    Nancy Wu

    Co-Presenter
    June 11, 2015 | 08:05 p.m.

    Mr. Ruktanonchai,
    Our group got 0.14 pounds of carbon dioxide through a series of formulas. These formulas came from a source we found reliable with our science teacher online. 0.14 is an average, but yes, one unwanted variable was that cars can change in the amount of emission depending on its type. It would be near impossible to take data on every single type of car there and find the average, and this is why we turned up with the average of car types, 0.14 pounds of carbon dioxide. This amount is also similar to a Honda Accord.
    Thank you.

  • Icon for: Sergey Stavisky

    Sergey Stavisky

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 04:46 p.m.

    Great work, Joy, Stuti, and Nancy. The data you’ve collected does a good job of giving you a concrete number with which to remind folks of how much gasoline is wasted (and CO2 emitted) when idling their cars.
    Having observed the drop off process at your school, can you suggest ways the organization of the school drop off / pick up could be changed in a way that might encourage people to idle their car less? Is there some aspect of the drop off process that you think makes people reluctant to briefly turn off their car?

  • Icon for: Stuti Bakshi

    Stuti Bakshi

    Co-Presenter
    June 11, 2015 | 11:09 a.m.

    Mr. Stavisky,
    People typically don’t turn off their cars because they are under the false idea that cars use more energy to turn on rather than to be left on. This project was to raise awareness about the harmful effects of carbon dioxide on the environment, we believe that by just informing people we are educating them and encouraging them to not idle. We cleared up false facts in our project such as the one about how turning a car on will use more gasoline than to leave it on for 10 seconds. The easiest solution to drop offs and pick ups at schools would be for parents to simply park in the parking lot or around the school and then have their kids walk to the school.
    Thank you!

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 09:13 p.m.

    I like the empirical approach and also the focus on helping people change their behavior. So you’ve worked through the logic of your plan — have you talked about “idling awareness” with any parents yet, to see what works to get them to see your point, and change?

  • Icon for: Joy Yun

    Joy Yun

    Presenter
    June 11, 2015 | 11:08 a.m.

    Actually my dad had already been turning off his car engine before we ran this experiment. Even when we were waiting at a stoplight for a long time, he would turn off his engine. Now that we have done our experiment and proven the effects, our parents have all become more aware of what they are doing and began turning off their engines in these situations.
    In fact, there is also another benefit other than helping your environment. Over time, people have been taught to believe that restarting your car is hard on the engine and battery when it is really the opposite. When idling your car, it puts the engine in a state it wasn’t meant for, using the energy inefficiently. What we are saying is that turning off your engine when necessary not only benefits the environment but also your car. So why not?It’s a win win for everyone!

  • Icon for: Kate Skog

    Kate Skog

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 10:43 p.m.

    Great job! I really like that you addressed common misconceptions about idling. What were the longest and shortest times that someone idled? Did you notice any trends with cars that idled for longer?

  • Icon for: Nancy Wu

    Nancy Wu

    Co-Presenter
    June 11, 2015 | 11:07 a.m.

    Thanks for the question Ms. Skog! The shortest time of idling was 10 seconds, and the longest time was 2 minutes and 33 seconds. Cars that idled longer usually had more kids to drop off, because it took more time to drop off each child. There also was many other factors that led to more idling, such as younger children in the cars that idled the longest. Young children sometimes needed their parent/guardian to help them out of the car.

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.

Presentation Discussion

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    June 8, 2015 | 12:31 p.m.

    How are you going to promote turning off idling cars? Why are you only focusing on schools? Are there are places where you can promote turning off idling cars?

  • Icon for: Joy Yun

    Joy Yun

    Presenter
    June 11, 2015 | 11:15 a.m.

    We chose just to focus on school drop offs in this experiment, but there are always other places to implement this idea. The gas station, stop lights, and fast food drive-throughs are also simple, every day places where turning off your car can help. And just imagine, if turning off your engine at schools already had such a large effect, if we also did in other situations, the effect on the environment would be drastic!

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    June 11, 2015 | 11:25 a.m.

    I agree there are many locations where this idea could work. I still don’t understand how you plan on promoting this. Will you place signs that remind people to turn off their engines, or perhaps create an informative commercial?

  • Icon for: Matthew Feng

    Matthew Feng

    June 10, 2015 | 08:25 p.m.

    This is an interesting idea. Would it be possible to implement some type of device that automatically turns off the engine if idling is detected? Are there any other additions to such a device, such as turning off the lights if the car is detected as idle? What possible drawbacks are there to such a device, such as possible safety issues?

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.

  1. Joy Yun
  2. Presenter’s INNOVATETOMITIGATE
  3. Phoenix
  1. Stuti Bakshi
  2. Presenter’s INNOVATETOMITIGATE
  3. Phoenix
  1. Nancy Wu
  2. Presenter’s INNOVATETOMITIGATE
  3. Phoenix
Judges’
Choice

Global Warming Awareness: A Small Action Can Have a Large Impact

Our project was done to help suggest to people that a small action such as turning off their idling cars could help the world considerably. Our question was; What is the average idling time during a morning drop off at an elementary school, and how much carbon dioxide is released during that time period? Our hypothesis was that the average idling time of a car when dropping off kids at school is around 45 seconds. But in the end, we got more than we expected.
For our experiment, we went to Forest Park Elementary School during the morning drop off and timed how long each car idled there while dropping off. After dividing the sum of the times by the number of cars that passed through, we came to the conclusion that on average, a car idles for 61 seconds while dropping off children at school. The second part of our experiment was to take this data and use it to help us calculate how much carbon dioxide is released from a car during this average idling period.
After our calculations, our final answer was that 0.14 pounds of carbon dioxide is released when idling your car for about a minute. That means in just one morning of drop off at just one school, 11.9 pounds of carbon dioxide is emitted by idling cars alone. So the next time you find yourself in this situation, remember, one simple action could benefit our environment drastically… as well as your car engine.