While the kids are off school for the summer, parents have a great opportunity to teach them a little about saving energy and money. Coming up with ways to save energy at home in the summer is a good strategy for reducing a household’s budget, and it can be a nice learning experience for the kids, too.
First, educate your kids on the basics: by saving energy at home and reducing your home’s energy consumption, you can also help save the planet, preserve our national resources, reduce pollution, reduce our national debt, and create healthier living environments for everyone. By learning how to save energy at home, you can help your family save for more important things, like going on vacation, saving for college expenses, and buying the latest appliances and electronics. Yes, you can achieve all of that simply by being more energy efficient.
Next, introduce a few new energy saving tips for kids each week and help them implement these ideas into their daily routine in small chunks. No one – kid or parent – would handle such wholesale changes in one fell swoop. Here’s a list of 35 ways that parents and kids can work together to save energy at home in summer.
- Maintain the right thermostat temperature. Try to set the thermostat to at least 78 degrees Fahrenheit or 26 degrees Celsius.
- Install a programmable or smart thermostat, and make sure everyone in the household knows how to use it to save energy.
- Use ceiling fans. Instead of turning down the thermostat when a room feels stuffy, use ceiling fans and standing fans to help circulate cool air. Make sure ceiling fans are rotating counter clockwise!
- Use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms to quickly remove humid, steamy air. Make sure the fans are pushing hot air outside and not just into the attic. This can promote mold growth in insulation.
- Take showers instead of baths, and try to limit your showers to five minutes.
- Take lukewarm showers to reduce indoor humidity even further.
- Close shades, drapes, and blinds during the day to block out unwanted heat from the sun.
- Open windows on cool evenings and turn off the A/C.
- Use the microwave and other countertop appliances when you can instead of stoves and ovens during the day when temperatures are highest.
- Use the oven and stove in cooler temperatures. Save oven and stove use for the morning and evening.
- Pick out LEDs for kids’ rooms. Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, which use less energy, expel less heat and last years longer.
- Keep exterior doors closed as much as possible. If the kids have trouble remembering, try installing a little bell on the door to remind them.
- Wash dishes and do laundry in the evenings when your home is cooler to reduce the workload on your A/C.
- Wash full loads. Only run your dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load; partial loads waste water and energy.
- Wash clothes in cold water to reduce the load on your water heater.
- Hang-dry clothes outside on sunny, breezy days.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothes to stay comfortable in warmer indoor temperatures.
- Turn your pool filter off when not in use, especially overnight.
- Remind your kids to turn everything off. Post a list in each room of all the things that should be turned off before leaving.
- Plant shade trees around the house. Make a day of it with your kids.
- Frequently clean HVAC vents, including the cold air return vents, to promote airflow through the system. Make this a part of your family’s regular chores.
- Keep the refrigerator closed. Avoid repeatedly and unnecessarily opening refrigerators and freezers.
- Spend time away from electronics. Spend less time watching TV, playing video games and using the Internet and more time with energy-free activities like reading books, cycling or creating art. Remember to turn off your electronics when not in use!
With these tips, you and your kids can get started toward a more energy efficient summer!