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Saving money on electricity – dad tips to get kids involved

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 03-09-2009

We’ve been in France this week and I’ve been chasing my kids around in the house where we’re staying to get them to turn off the lights as they go in and out of rooms. While French kids, like kids everywhere, are lazy about recycling and other conservation moves, for some reason, everyone here treats electricity like a running faucet. They just wouldn’t leave a room without turning the light off. My kids keep all the lights on everywhere as if we were in the middle of a night game at Yankee Stadium.Recycle

No amount of haranguing to them, or my wife, seems to make any difference. They just say, “yes, Dad” and move on to the next brilliantly lit room.

Here’s an idea some PR flack sent me this morning though and it’s a good enough idea to pass on, playing as it does on dad’s desire to cut back on costs and energy waste, teach good habits, and involve the kids.

“Moolah Maker” is the name of website with a tool to help you set a family goal for energy savings. By entering your energy bills, the site sets a family goal and creates a contract between you and your kids. Apparently, the kids/parents interface is a little hokey with a lot of “hey dude” lingo, but the idea is a good one since kids always want to earn some cash and this doesn’t take a lot of energy they could be using to swing the Wii controller. This project might make getting the monthly utility bill a family bonding experience.

[From the Energy Circle Moolah Maker website:

Kids are the greatest power source on the planet.
Unleash that force, save the earth and reap some profit. It’s easier than you think, and more important than ever. Together, kids and parents across North America are making a deal to use less and save more. Go ahead, shake on it.

The site lists a bunch of tips for energy savings:

Tips for Saving (and making more $) fast:

   * Get an Electricity Monitor. There’s no better way to save than to see your usage in real time.

   * Use smart strips. Slay the entertainment center and computer vampires. Smart Strips rock.

   * Ditch your incandescent bulbs (say it isn’t so… still have some? Not good.)

   * Hang a clothesline. (big savings, and excellent fodder for neighbors). Dryers eat Benjamins.

   * Use low-flow showerheads. Hot water takes heat. Kids like long showers. Use less.

   * Fill up the dishwasher. (Hallelujah! It uses less hot water than hand-washing)

   * Chill out with fans, not the AC. A little breeze makes it feel 4-8 degrees cooler.

Tips for Going Deeper

   * Figure out your baseload—the stuff that’s on 24/7. Does it all need to be? Find out.

   * Hire a Certified Professional Energy Auditor. And take notes. Find out how to lower energy costs quickly and efficiently.

   * Get programmable thermostats and compromise a degree or two (way easy, double smart)