Economic Energy Efficiency

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Colorado Parents Can Teach Their Kids About Energy Efficiency

The key to teaching your children about energy efficiency is learning about it yourself and then passing the information on in a fun, entertaining way. Becoming energy literate is a great first step because the more educated you are, the more you can educate your children. Take advantage of government literature and materials from Energy.gov to open up a line of conversation with your children about going green.

 

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It is the ultimate resource for you to learn and teach your kids about going green. Energy.org states that an energy literate person:

 

1. Can trace energy flows and think in terms of energy systems.

 

2. Knows how much energy they use, for what purpose, and where the energy comes from.

 

3. Can assess the credibility of information about energy. 

 

4. Can communicate about energy and energy use in meaningful ways.

 

5. Is able to make informed energy use decisions based on an understanding of impact and consequences.

If you, as a parent, are informed about energy usage and how to conserve, you will be better suited to answer the questions your kids may ask – making you a better teacher.

 

Teaching Your Children

 

Teaching Energy efficiency doesn’t have to be a chore or an extra task that your children have to take on. There are several effective ways to teach your children about energy, how to use it properly and how to conserve it. The first and most important point to teach them is the importance of energy.

 

Without getting into facts and figures about energy consumption in the United States, or even Colorado, it is important to teach your children where energy comes from and that not all resources are renewable. By informing them that the energy they use today has an effect on the future may be more impactful than describing calculations.

 

After you have taught them about energy itself, try to instill small habits. It is always helpful to start small. Perhaps it is reminding them to turn the light off when they leave the room or informing them that staring into the refrigerator too long is wasting energy. If they don’t seem to respond to those cues, there are several ways to make learning about energy efficiency fun.

 

How to Teach

 

With smaller children, it is easier to explain things on their terms. Before they leave their room, explain to them that their room is not afraid of the dark, so they should turn off the light. Even though it sounds silly, this little trick can help a child remember what you have told them because it will resonate with them longer if it is something silly.

 

Another example of explaining an energy concept on their terms is in regard to water. A great way to explain the way running water uses energy is by saying, “You lose energy when you run and so does water.” This way, your children can relate the loss of energy to their own personal energy loss – making energy efficiency relevant and relatable.

 

If explaining the concepts to your children does not seem to be sticking in their heads, try to make things into a game. For example, if your child is standing in front of the refrigerator with it open, trying to make a decision about what to eat, try this trick: Tell your child to stand in front of the refrigerator with the door closed while they think of something they want. Once they have thought of something, have them open it and try to find whatever that is. If you do not have it, have them close the refrigerator and, using the new information from when they searched for their previous item, have them try again.

 

Turn to the Internet

 

These types of games and teaching methods may not work for all children, which is okay. If you are really struggling and are unsure of how to teach them about energy efficiency or cannot find a trick that helps the healthy habits form, try the internet.

 

Looking on the internet may seem like something that will not help or may just return entirely too many results. However, searching for energy efficiency games can give you several useful sources. There are a surprising amount of computer games online that can help reinforce the importance of energy efficiency in the household. You can find teaching tips and online games at kidsenergy.com. 

 

ENERGY STAR is also a great resource. Your children can join Team ENERGY STAR and start their energy saving journey with the materials they provide, which include: an action kit, tips and tools, games, an activity booklet, videos and lighting decals.

 

No matter how you teach your children about energy efficiency, you will be glad you did. If you and your family are not making a conscious effort to minimize the amount of energy you use on a daily basis, you are using too much. Scheduling an energy audit can give you the facts about your energy consumption and teach you practical ways to reduce your use.

 

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