It’s another hot, hot, hot day in New York City and I am blasting the air conditioning. I am concerned about our electric bill, but do the best I can to save energy where I can. I remember learning at school as a child how to conserve energy. Teaching kids about saving energy doesn’t have to make them feel like they’re at school. Lecturing them endlessly about turning out the lights when they leave a room will only deter them from actually doing it.
Here are some tips for your kids.
- Turn off lights and electronics when you leave a room. Keep doors to unused rooms closed.
- In summer, use the microwave, crockpot, or toaster oven instead of the stove/oven. When using the stove/oven, keep lids on pots on the stove, match pot to burner size, and don’t preheat the oven for too long.
- Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. Take five-to-ten minute showers instead of baths.
- Wash and dry full loads of clothes only. Wash on cool setting. Line dry many items. Do the laundry at night, not in the heat of the day.
- Don’t hold the refrigerator door open!
- Change incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent CFL bulbs. If you replace 25 percent of your light bulbs with fluorescents, you can save up to 50 percent on your lighting bill.
- In summer, close drapes, use fans, and turn thermostat up to 78-80 degrees. In winter, open drapes and turn thermostat down to 68-70 degrees.
- Consolidate errands and cut out some car usage. Walk, ride your bikes, carpool, or get a scooter.
- After letting the kids play online energy games, arrange a family pizza night where everyone gets together and has a discussion on what it means to save energy. Ask them what they think of when they hear the word “energy.”
- Set one night per month to have a “lights out” night, where all lights and electronics are shut off. Light candles or light a fire in your fireplace (if not electric) and pretend to be old-fashioned. Play family board games, read and eat by candlelight, write pen-and-paper letters to friends, or go outside with a blanket for a nighttime picnic and look for shooting stars.
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