Energy is very important for everyone. It's what makes the things that people use work, including the things that you can play with or watch, like video games and TV. Even though energy is everywhere and used by everyone, it costs a lot of money to use, and a lot of what's used to make it is in limited supply. That's why everyone needs to be smart with how they use energy and not use too much of it. As a kid, you can learn about what it means to be energy-efficient, and you can also tell your parents and help teach them how they can make your home a more energy-efficient place.
What Is Energy Efficiency?
When people try to limit the amount of energy that they use, it is called energy efficiency. It's a way of conserving, or saving, energy by using it more wisely. Energy efficiency can happen at school, at church, or at home. You can be energy-efficient no matter how old you are: Parents can make a big difference while doing home improvement projects, but kids can help in a lot of ways, too, and even small things can add up to make a big impact!
- Energy Efficiency: Every day, teachers, parents, and kids use electricity. This site explains some ways to cut down on wasteful energy use.
- Using and Saving Energy: Those who are interested in knowing about saving energy can find useful information on this page, which explains the definition of energy conservation and energy efficiency.
- Energy and the Environment: Saving Energy: Alliant Energy Kids provides answers to a number of important questions about energy conservation on their website.
- Activities for Energy Efficiency (PDF): Visit the Cambridge Energy Alliance website for a guide that talks about how to save electricity.
- Kids Can Save Energy, Too! (PDF): Find lots of ways you can help to save energy around the house here.
Lights Can Be Energy-Efficient
Lights use a lot of energy! When you leave them on in an empty room, you're wasting energy. Even leaving lights on while you sleep is wasteful. Help your parents and the environment by flipping off the light switch whenever you leave a room and before you go to sleep at night. See an empty room with lights on? Turn it off or let an adult know. You can even talk to your parents about being more efficient and using energy-saving light bulbs.
- Light Switch Plates: Turning off the lights can save more energy than people realize. NASA's Climate Kids website explains how this works, and you can also print covers to go on your light switch plates to help you remember to turn the lights off.
- Energy Tips for Kids: Watching TV shows and playing video games uses electricity. Sturgeon Bay Utilities talks about other ways you can entertain yourself that don't use energy.
- Saving Energy in My Home (PDF): Click this link to find a coloring book that can help you learn about energy conservation.
- It Would Be Silly (PDF): Lighting in the home is a major source of electricity use. This brochure advises readers to use the sun's light during the day instead of turning on indoor lights.
- Flip the Switch: Lights are a waste of electricity when they're on while no one's home or in a room that is unoccupied.
- Green Lighting Tips: The UIC Office of Sustainability offers advice on how to reduce energy use including tips about lighting, heating and cooling, washing and drying clothes, and more.
Check the Windows and the Thermostat
The temperature in your home is kept comfortable because of a thermostat. The thermostat's job is to turn the air conditioner on when your home is too hot and turn the heat on when it's too cold. Your parents can buy a programmable thermostat to be more efficient: They can program it to turn on and off as needed so you're never using more energy than you have to.
Another way to save energy and keep the air conditioner or heater from turning on is to keep the windows closed in the winter and keep them covered in the summer. Closed windows help keep the heat in your house and the cold air out! Closing the curtains on bright, sunny days helps keep heat from warming your house and making you and everyone inside hot and uncomfortable.
- Save Energy and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Saving energy protects the environment by reducing the need to use natural resources.
- How You Can Save Energy: Electricity is an essential part of life, but TVA Kids explains here how families can use less of it.
- Calling All Kids! This website offers readers 25 ideas on how to cut down on electricity use.
- Did You Hear? Saving Energy Can Be Fun! (PDF): Children have a bigger effect on the future than they may understand. This guide explains what you can do to reduce household energy use.
Use Less Water
When you use too much hot water, your water heater has to work harder to heat it up. Using less water can actually help you save energy and save water, too! You can take shorter showers to help, and make sure to turn the water off when you're lathering your hands or brushing your teeth. Talk to your parents about replacing the shower head in every bathroom with one that uses less water. You won't notice a thing, but you'll be doing your part to save energy.
Another way that parents can be more efficient is to replace their old washing machines and dishwashers with newer versions. Newer machines are made to use less water and energy. If your parents only run these new machines when there's a full load, they'll save even more!
- Saving Tips for Kids: Parents aren't the only people who can help conserve water and electricity around the house. GetWise offers some ideas on how kids can do their part to avoid wasting energy and water.
- You Can Help: Click this link to visit the Water Wise website for advice on how you can conserve water.
- Water Conservation: It's For Life: Save Our Water has a fun coloring book activity on their website here.
- 100+ Ways to Conserve Water: Simple changes can add up to big amounts of water saved. This page lists 100 methods that people can use to use less water.
- Save or Waste (PDF): Color this page and learn what does or does not waste water.
- Thirsty for Knowledge! Let's Learn About Water: Click this page to learn why you should save water and ways that you can do it. The page also has a link to a fun game!
Be Energy-Efficient in the Kitchen
When getting a drink or a snack from the refrigerator, It's a good idea to know what you want and get it quickly. Every time a refrigerator door is opened, cold air escapes and warm air from the room enters, so the refrigerator has to work harder to keep everything inside cold. Ask your parents if the refrigerator is Energy Star rated. This type of refrigerator uses less energy and can save your
- Energy Efficiency: Georgia Power provides visitors with valuable tips about saving electricity on their website.
- Energy Conservation for Kids: Appliances in the Kitchen (video): Click this link to a video about how kids can help conserve electricity at home.
- Global Warming and You: What You Can Do at Home (PDF): Visit the Energy Star website for a document with tips on how to reduce energy use in the home.
- Water-Saving Tips: Kitchen: The city of Wichita Falls, TX, has a list of ideas to reduce water and electricity use here.