Whether we recognize it or not, the modern world has become extremely reliant on using energy resources on a daily basis. From turning on lights throughout the house to washing dishes and everything in between, we use electricity, water, gas, and other resources throughout our everyday lives. This energy usage, however, can result in higher utility bills and a drain on non-renewable resources that will eventually run out.
Most of the time, we don’t even realize the amount of energy we are using during the course of our day. When we enter a room, we often flip the lightswitch whether or not it is totally dark in the room. Good hygiene requires that we take a bath or shower every day, brush our teeth twice per day, and wash our hands on a regular basis. While those actions are great for staying healthy, they may also use a lot of water (and electricity if the water is heated). Although we can’t completely cut out energy usage, there are ways to better understand just how much energy we are using on a daily basis and to start reducing that amount.
Reducing resource usage just a bit every day can have a huge impact on the well-being of the planet as well as your monthly utility bills. At Watt Watchers of Texas, we are dedicated to helping the residents of Texas limit their energy usage to improve the health of the planet. We have developed resources and activities designed to help teachers demonstrate to their students the ways in which energy can be saved and why conservation is so important. These FREE resources are also available to parents who are looking to continue helping their children save energy and learn more about where energy comes from and how it works.
When you are first starting your energy conservation journey, it may seem a bit overwhelming and you may not know where to begin. Watt Watchers has created an at-home energy survey that will help you figure out where you are using the most energy throughout your day. It is a great activity to complete with your children because they can be in charge of filling out the survey as you go about your day.
To begin, start with the question “Where have you used energy today?” to help your kids think of all the appliances that use energy in your home. This survey has an extensive list of most of the common household appliances that you may use every day. Feel free to add more to the list! As you go about your day, have your kids write down or check off every time you use one of the appliances listed in the survey. This can be everything from the refrigerator and oven to an iron or television. If it gets plugged in, it can be a part of the list.
At the end of the day (or block of time, depending on your kid’s attention span), review the list with your children and see how much energy was used. Ask your kids if they can think of ways to reduce the amount of energy that they personally used. Maybe that would be a reduction in TV watching or taking a shorter shower. See if you can come up with some creative ways to save energy and have fun at the same time.
A great way to encourage kids to join the energy conservation effort is to show them how their actions have real world consequences and benefits. Keep track of your utility bills for a couple of months. Start with the baseline bill where you and your family are using energy as you normally would and show your kids how much that bill was. Over the next couple of months, try to work on your energy saving techniques and remain conscious of turning off lights and other methods to reduce usage. As the bills begin to reduce, show your kids that their efforts are helping the planet and saving money at home (money that can be used for something special for the whole family!).
Everyone wants to save money on their energy bills, but it takes a bit of effort to reduce your energy usage. As a family, divide the energy conservation responsibilities up between the adults and the kids. For the adults, you can complete some chores around the house that are often shown to be energy wasters. You can figure out how to program your thermostat for the optimal in-house temperature for certain times of day. If no one will be home from 7am-3pm, the air conditioning doesn’t necessarily need to be on full blast. You can also make sure that the windows are caulked properly to prevent air from leaking out, the water heater has blanketed to conserve heat, and the old energy-wasting light bulbs in your home are replaced with LEDs.
Kids can join the Watt Watchers Student Patrol Program and help Lil’ Tex and Ann combat the Wasters Gang. Give them certain policing duties to make sure the house is energy-friendly. These can be things like making sure lights are turned off in rooms which are unoccupied, checking for leaking faucets, monitoring how long people are in the shower, and ensuring family members are turning off the water while they brush their teeth. Simple but effective techniques to conserve energy can certainly make a difference when it comes to your monthly utility bills.
There are two primary benefits to energy conservation at home: helping to conserve precious, non-renewable natural resources and saving money on monthly utility bills. When it comes to using electricity, gas, water, food, and other energy resources in your home, the monthly bills will quickly show you how a bit of conservation can make a big difference. Shortening shower times, taking showers instead of baths, programming your thermostat, changing some light bulbs, only using the dishwasher or clothing washer when there are full loads, and other simple tasks can dramatically reduce your bills.
Helping to save the precious resources of the planet may not have extremely obvious results from your at-home efforts, but every activity counts. The less that one family uses on a daily basis, the more that remains for future generations. Non-renewable resources are finite, and once they are used up, they are gone for good! We want to make sure that these resources stay around for many years to come, so it is everyone’s responsibility to do what they can and be a part of the energy conservation effort.
Watt Watchers of Texas is dedicated to helping families, teachers, and students join the energy conservation effort by providing FREE access to resources and activities designed to save energy. We are a state-sponsored STEM program, and we are committed to boosting energy literacy for grades K-12 so that schools and homes can reap the benefits of conservation. Contact us today to learn more about helping your kids learn more about energy, how it works, why it’s important to conserve, and how to make changes in your home for better conservation.
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Watt Watchers of Texas
204 E. Dean Keeton Street, Austin, Texas 78712