Families all over the UK are struggling to meet rising fuels costs, and many are coming up with increasingly imaginative ways to conserve energy in the home. For those that cannot afford the latest home insulation solution or energy efficient appliance, simple solutions such as turning off the lights in unoccupied rooms or putting on an extra jumper on cold evenings can make a big difference. There are many ways that we can begin to save energy in the home without having to spend a penny, but even our best efforts can be thwarted by young children residing in the house. Every parent is familiar with the routine of patrolling the house to turn off any lights and electronic equipment that has been left on, and constantly reminding kids to turn off their computer or TV will usually have no effect. There are many ways to get kids interested in saving energy, and with a little time and effort you will soon start to see results.
Saving energy can seem like a pretty dull topic to kids, so it is important to make it seem like a fun and worthwhile endeavour. Depending on the age of the child, different methods can be employed to get them involved, and it may even help them to become more socially responsible in the future. For children under the age of ten, visual aids such as colourful graphs and charts which show different ways to save energy can capture their imagination and help them to grasp the concept quickly. Try creating a star chart with your child that will award them a star every time they perform an act that will save energy, such as remembering to switch off the light, closing the refrigerator, or turning off the TV. Teaching them to wash their cups and plates by hand instead of putting them straight into the dishwasher will reduce your energy bill, and will even help to save water.
Organising an energy assessment of your home will help your children to become more aware of the different ways they can contribute to saving energy. Encourage them to check all windows and air vents for draughts that need fixing, and help them to understand the difference between energy saving bulbs and regular ones. Older children can be taught the value of unplugging electrical appliances rather than leaving them on standby, and offering them incentives such as money or family days out will really get them interested. For the technologically advanced, there are many apps available for smartphones that can monitor energy usage in the home, and can help to make energy efficiency more appealing to teenagers. Joulebug is a free app available for the iPhone that turns energy conservation into a fun gaming experience, and the developers claim that it can dramatically reduce your energy bills.
The most important thing to remember when teaching your children about saving energy is to lead by example. If you get into the habit of turning off your lights and appliances when leaving a room, your children will eventually pick up your good habits. You can also get their friends involved and let other parents know what you are doing so they can introduce it into their homes. It may even be worthwhile speaking to your childs school about how they can raise the subject of energy conservation, and set kids on the path to becoming more energy conscious. Every penny we save on our energy bill also goes towards saving the planet, and this is an important topic that every child should be aware of. By teaching your kids the importance of saving energy in the home, you will not only save money, but also give them the tools they need to become responsible young adults.