Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Pedal power: It would take a lot (a whole lot!) of tricycling to power most home applicances. (Photo: iStock)

Think about this on Earth Day: Could you power your house by riding a trike?

A kid-friendly take on energy efficiency and renewable resources.

If you’re trying to get your kids to understand concepts of energy — conservation, renewable sources, etc. — here’s a kid-centric approach.

The folks at Jorvik Tricycles — they’re a UK firm that makes adult bikes, some electric — calculated how long you’d need to pedal to power some common home appliances.

Here’s their list of appliances, how much power they typically use in a day — and how that converts to pedal power!

  • Dishwasher: 2,550 kwh/day = 23 hours, 13 minutes on a trike.
  • Shower: 2,190 kwh/day = 19 hours, 54 minutes
  • Washing machine: 2,100 kwh/day = 19 hours 8 minutes
  • Dryer: 1,680 kwh/day = 15 hours 20 minutes
  • Hairdryer: 0.25 kwh/day = 2 hours 16 minutes on a trike
  • Microwave: 0.08 kwh/day = 44 minutes on trike
  • Toaster: 0.06 kwh/day = 30 minutes on a trike

And here’s their conclusion:

“So can we power our house with a trike? To put it simply, no. Don’t worry, we’re not trying to encourage you to get on a trike to power your home.”

They go on to say, though, that even thinking about it can help put energy use into perspective and make us more conscious of what we’re doing.

The deeper message, then, is that switching to greener, more sustainable energy sources is one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint: Trike power? Probably not. But solar panels and wind energy are realistic and available sources. Kids can understand that.

They also point out that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless in the face of climate change but that even small lifestyle changes can make a difference.


More Earth Day in Seattle’s Child:

A fun and easy art project for Earth Day

Pedal power: Tips and places for a family bike ride


About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 15-year-old girl.