You are never too old or too young to learn how to save energy at home. While the kids may not be able to help you with big energy efficiency projects, every little effort helps to lower your utility bills. Get the family together and introduce one of these tips at a time until each becomes a habit. You just might find yourself becoming more consistent at conserving energy, too!
The big energy drain that kids AND adults are guilty of is forgetting to shut off lights when leaving a room. If you are going to be away for even a few minutes, it’s worth the energy savings to flip the switch to off. But don’t stop at overhead lights. Add the television, gaming consoles, computers, electronic devices, and chargers to the list. Make it a before-bedtime game and walk through the home together to power down.
Bathtime can be fun, but so can a competition to keep bathing to a 5 or 10-minute shower. Set a timer, and if the child is out (and clean!) before the bell, then they get a sticker on the calendar or more book time with you before bed. Extend the water conservation efforts to the sink and practice shutting off the faucet between brushing your teeth and rinsing. And have them make sure the faucets are completely off or not dripping.
Switch to CFL
A great counting exercise to do with kids is to add up all of the light bulbs used in your home. From that total, how many of them are compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)? By changing standard bulbs to ENERGY STAR certified CFL bulbs, you will use a lot less energy, and they will last longer, too. According to the Energy Star website, one CFL can save $40 or more over the lifetime of the bulb. A fun way to teach kids this concept is an interactive online game provided by kidsenergyzone.com. Kids use the keyboard to move an animated character named CFL Charlie around a house to install CFL bulbs, shut off lights, and get the energy usage total down to zero.
Bedroom Energy Assessment
Have your children assess how much energy they use in their bedrooms. Look together for vents and registers to make sure furniture, toys, and wall coverings are not blocking them. Could you teach them about alternative energy by switching to a solar-powered nightlight? Or have the kids hold a ribbon up close to the window seams. If the ribbon flutters, you may have an air leak that needs to be sealed. They can try this test throughout the house and draw a map of the problem locations for you. What is their view out the window? Could you plant a tree together that would shade the room in the summer or block wind in the winter?
Saving energy at home is a team effort, and the youngest one in the household could become your leader. When you teach by example, your children will grow to be adults who care about saving energy and the future of their planet.