Did you know that about 70 percent of the electricity we use comes from power plants burning fossil fuels? The lights we use, the electronics we charge and heating and cooling systems we turn on and off all have an impact and contribute to climate change. That’s why it’s so important to instill energy efficient habits in kids from an early age, and teach an awareness of the impact our energy use has on the environment.
But how do we cut into the issue? It’s a meaty one, and something that kids won’t immediately “get.” Fortunately, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has come up with some great resources to get kids educated and involved in environmental protection and energy efficiency, through their Team ENERGY STAR program (http://www.energystar.gov/team).
Being part of the team involves the following simple steps:
- Take action to reduce your energy use at home
- Help your family and friends save energy
- Encourage your family and friends to take the ENERGY STAR Pledge
- Inspire others by sharing your story
This year ENERGY STAR partners PTO Today and LG Electronics have brought in the heroic characters from the new movie EPIC (http://www.epicthemovie.com) to help kids learn about the importance of saving energy while having fun at the same time. Kids can join Team ENERGY STAR by visiting energystar.gov/team where they will get easy-to-download educational and interactive materials, such as a comprehensive Action Kit with the ENERGY STAR Home Check-Up, an EPIC-themed activity booklet, and a Professor Bomba’s Binoculars kit to help kids see the world in a whole new way.
Here’s a great incentive to talk to your kids about energy efficiency—from now until May 24, kids can share their stories about protecting the environment by saving energy (http://www.schoolfamily.com/team.php. If they do, they’ll have a chance to win cool prizes from LG Electronics USA. The best stories will be showcased on ENERGY STAR’s social media pages and featured on LG’s electronic billboard in New York’s Times Square.
Here are some more great household tips for going green by saving energy:
The ENERGY STAR label can now be found on several LED bulb options; EPA has resources to help you choose the right energy-efficient bulb.
- Even with all the new choices, it’s still simple: look for the ENERGY STAR for energy savings. No matter the technology or the product claims, only bulbs with the ENERGY STAR label meet strict guidelines for efficiency and performance that set them apart.
- ENERGY STAR means high quality and performance. Bulbs with the label have undergone extensive testing to make sure they save energy AND perform properly.
- For brightness, look for lumens, not watts. ENERGY STAR certified bulbs provide more lumens for less watts.
- An estimated 170 million refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers are currently in use in the United States.
- More than 60 million refrigerators are over 10 years old, costing consumers $4.4 billion a year in energy costs.
- If you are looking to replace your old refrigerator, look for the ENERGY STAR. A typical refrigerator that has earned the ENERGY STAR uses less energy than a 60-watt light bulb, and costs on average about $50 per year to run.
- Models recognized as the Most Efficient of ENERGY STAR 2013 offer on average 30% energy savings compared to the federal standard.
Go to www.energystar.gov/team for more info.
Diane MacEachern is the founder of BigGreenPurse.com and author of Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World. For more information, visit www.biggreenpurse.com.