Teaching Conservation in the Home

Everyone uses energy in their daily lives, so it's prudent for everyone to have an awareness of energy conservation so they can take steps to use less energy when possible. From childhood, children have ongoing exposure to media and electronics, and it's important for kids to learn from the beginning that efficient and responsible usage of nonrenewable resources benefits Earth and its occupants. Teaching conservation can be an ongoing process that begins with initial awareness of the issues. From this point, conservation efforts can progress through real ways that everyone can make a difference by using less energy.

Energy Conservation for Kids

Kids can be surprisingly resourceful when it comes to conserving energy. Although they may not pay the utility bills or have responsibility for choosing energy-efficient products, children can definitely participate in or even take charge of a conservation effort within their own family. Parents can talk about the importance of not wasting electricity by having appliances, lights, and electronics plugged in and on when no one is using them. Many appliances are left plugged in, even when they are seldom used. For example, leaving kitchen countertop appliances plugged in continually can be a source of wasted energy over time. A family could go on a scavenger hunt through the house to find all of these items that are plugged in and unplug them. Kids could also become the light police of the family with the job of turning out lights that no one is using. Parents should make sure this includes outdoor lights that waste electricity and contribute to overall light pollution. Even limiting the amount of time spent using electronics can be an important way that anyone can conserve energy.

Energy-Efficient Home Improvements

Planning home improvement projects that improve energy efficiency can help people save money and reduce their personal carbon footprint. Some home repairs are basic in nature, requiring little time and few materials. For example, adding caulk around doors and windows can eliminate costly air leaks, which cause a furnace and air conditioner to work harder to keep a home comfortable throughout the year. Installing a draft guard along the bottoms of doors and windows can also help reduce air exchange in homes, thereby keeping houses more comfortable. Even lowering a thermostat a couple of degrees in the winter and raising it slightly in the summer can be effective for saving energy and reducing heating and cooling expenses. If time and budget allow, homeowners might also embark on more extensive home improvement projects to increase energy efficiency in their homes. Replacing doors and windows with energy-efficient ones can reduce air exchange significantly. Replacing dated appliances with new ones will usually lead to lower utility bills since less water and electricity will be used to power the newer models. Adding insulation to attics, basements, and walls can also make a home more comfortable and energy-efficient. Some homeowners even choose to install solar panels to reduce a home's reliance on fossil fuels for heating and cooling. Depending on the type of home repair project and the geographic location, it may be possible to receive assistance from local municipalities, which may offer reimbursements to help homeowners pay for some of these improvements.