Summer is here and kids are out of school. There is no time like the present to get the whole family focused on conserving power and reducing energy costs. Since it is summer you might even make a game of it. Why not? This is when costs for the household can skyrocket, at least in our household. Our water bill goes up mightily and we have hefty A/C bills unless we keep it in check. The kids run out of the house and leave door open (letting hot air inside), they leave the TV on while they play outside, etc. Yet if we make a plan together and set some goals for conserving energy you may be surprised that it is easier than it looks to save money and conserve energy. Perhaps you might even take your bills from last year and try to beat them, using any surplus for special treats.
Energy Star has an initiative that they just unveiled allowing your family to join Team Energy Star, designed to engage and educate American youth and their families about saving energy at home. They are the future after all. They will inherit this earth and deal with the consequences of climate change. They need to be educated now about what they can do to conserve energy and reduce their impact so that they can help protect the climate and create a healthier world for all.
After you sign up for Team Energy Star you get routed to a page with all sorts of useful resources…. a certificate of participation, a pledge, a home audit checklist, etc. The checklist encourages children to Investigate, Educate, Activate, and Save. Everything is branded with The Lorax too, which should make it more fun for children as well. There is also a printable activity kit and energy efficiency games you can play together. Energy Star has done a great job giving everyone the tools and education they need to get started with energy savings. In 2011 alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 41 million cars — all while saving $23 billion on their utility bills and reducing the pollution that contributes to heart disease, asthma and allergies.
I decided to compile a list of some energy savings tips that will you off to a great start:
- Use stickers, signs, or Post-its to remind kids to turn off lights, TVs, and power bars, when they leave a room. A sign on the front and back doors that asks if they did all these things is a good reminder too. That way they will be reminded before they run outside to play.
- Have kids remove shoes when they walk in the door, reducing the need for vacuuming and running electric air purifiers to catch allergens.
- Use thermal curtains to block sunlight during the hot summer days. They have many kid friendly colors for kids bedrooms. Have kids get used to opening windows during cooler evenings and closing their windows and curtains in the morning.
- Require that clothing be worn more than once, unless it is soiled, to reduce the need for excessive washing and drying. Wet clothing can be put on drying racks or hung on a line/porch railing.
- To prevent rampant costume/clothing changing even further (my kids can’t be the only ones right?), I remove a large portion of their clothing and hide it away so that I am not stuck doing massive loads of laundry all summer.
- To avoid the energy suck of electronic devices require that a certain block of time be TV/electronics free each day. Go play outside!
- Map out how many fun places you and the kids can walk or bike to in your area and get going! Geocache or hide your own caches even.
- Have kids make sure A/C vents are clear and not obstructed by toys or other items in their bedrooms.
- Use draft snakes if you have drafty doors or windows that will blow hot air inside. They can easily be made using thrift store stockings or socks and dried beans/rice.
- Have designated snack times so that kids will not be in and out of the refrigerator.
- Eat more raw foods and grilled foods in the summer to avoid heating the house and also eat outside (less cleaning).
Ready? Set. Go!
This post is part of an Energy Star blog carnival hosted by Big Green Purse on June 12th.
Friday, June 8th, 2012