Teaching our children to conserve energy can reduce the amount of energy used at home and in our communities. In the United States, our nation’s homes collectively consume more energy than any other group of people, places or things in the world. Fortunately, if you’re a parent who wants to cultivate a desire to reduce energy waste and an appreciation for natural resources in your children, there are practical and simple ways you can encourage your children to conserve energy.
Turn Off the Lights
Teaching kids to shut off the lights when they are not needed can help conserve energy. Of the total energy incandescent bulbs use, only 10 to 15 percent is used to produce light, according to EnergySavers.gov. The rest is turned into heat, which can make the room hotter. In summer months, there is a potential to save even more energy if the kids shut off the lights when the room is not in use. When air conditioners or fans are used to cool a room, the warmer the room, the more energy required to cool it. Eliminating the added heat can save energy during cooling. Since fluorescent light bulbs require a tiny bit more energy to turn on, it’s a popular belief that they should not be turned off unless you plan on leaving the room for more than 15 minutes. While following this rule may increase the life of the bulb and can be cost-effective, turning them off for even for a short time will save more energy according to EnergySavers.gov.
Limit Water Use
Using water requires energy. The energy used is in the form of transporting and heating the water. When your child uses fewer gallons, he uses less energy. Teaching children to take shorter showers and to shut the faucet off when brushing their teeth can conserve energy. The amount of energy your children can save by taking shorter showers will vary depending on the type of showerhead and water heater you have.
Playing outdoors can conserve energy. Many toys and games require energy to use them. Video games, for example, require the use of a television, game console or computer, all of which use energy. Battery-operated toys and electronic devices also require energy. Since it requires energy to make, transport and charge batteries, playing outside, rather than playing with toys and technology that require battery use, can conserve energy.
Make Less Trash
Trash requires energy to transport and process. Children who create less trash will conserve energy. Recycling household items like gift bags and glass jars to make arts and crafts projects is one way children can conserve energy. Using reusable cloth snack bags instead of plastic bags, and lunch boxes instead of brown bags to transport school foods are other ways children can conserve energy. For children who tend to drink out of boxes, bottles and cans, drinking from a steel cup can reduce their energy consumption.