Sunday, November 13, 2011

Teaching Kids to Save Energy

I'm sure you all remember you old mad standing in the door you just walked out of saying something like, "Close the door! I'm not paying to cool the whole neighborhood!". What's funny about that whole statement is that back in the day when you father was yelling that at you electricity was very cheap. Even if you account for thing being cheaper back then electricity was still very cheap. You could run all the lights in your house for the whole month and still only owe a couple bucks.

These days there is really two facets to teachings kids about saving energy. One there is the fact that you want to pay less for your monthly utility bills. Two there is the global warming angle to teach them about as well.

Paying Less For your Monthly Utilities

Since your kids don't pay the bills they don't really care if they use a little more electricity. If you catch them young in life you can hopefully instill that being wasteful is bad, but that is the best you are really going to do until they have a place of thier own. My kids are still young and are in the range where I can get their attention by teaching that wasting is bad. But as they get older I'm thinking about reducing their allowance based on how many kilowatts we use on each month. I haven't decided what the exact parameters are going to be but it'll be something basic like this. There will be a baseline weekly allowance, let's say ten bucks. I'll then look at the bill and decided where we should be at for monthly usage. If that's how much we use for a give month then each week of the following month they'll get their ten bucks. If we use less then that then they could each a bonus up to say $12 bucks. If we use more then that it'll either cut back to $7.50, or if it's really bad then it could be $5. I'll lay out all the rules at the beginning and even show them how to read the meter so they can check where they are at mid month. It'll save me money, and they'll learn the value of a dollar at the same time. Especially for something so tough as a utility bill that they aren't going to have to pay.

Dealing with Global Warming with Kids

They are aspect to teaching kids about saving energy is the effect of their actions on global warming. We always talk about doing the right thing so that out kids will inherit a clean Earth. But this is even more direct because it's what the kids themselves are going to be doing to affect the kind of world they are going to live in.

So I would talk to the kids about all the effects that are all ready happening. Melting glaciers, change of habitats, loss of land, stronger hurricanes, moving weather patterns, etc. Then you can talk about how much the decisions they make with energy effect global warming. You can even do the math. So if you see them leave a light in their room on all day while they are at school, then you can do the math and figure out exactly how much carbon they caused to be released into the atmosphere today. Then use the method above to potentially cut into their allowance. That one two punch should really open their eyes!

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