If you’ve ever looked at your energy bills and wondered how on earth you’re using so much gas or electricity, the answer may be right under your nose.
Sure, you’re doing all you can do turn lights off when they’re not needed, you only fill the kettle as full as it needs to be and you’ve not once left the TV playing to itself, but someone, clearly, is still using an awful lot of energy.
If you have kids, they may be the root cause. And, in fairness to them, they probably have no idea. After all, they’re not the ones who have to pay the bills and if they’re particularly young, they probably have no concept of energy usage. They just turn stuff on and it works. Magic!
But how do you convince kids to use less energy? We’ve got some tried-and-tested techniques you can try out on your little ones:
Power down computers and games consoles
Chances are, your kids are either into watching endless videos on YouTube, playing against their mates on their games console, or both (sometimes, simultaneously). Firstly, if they have a habit of attempting both at the same time, explain that it is far more enjoyable to focus on one thing at a time.
Next, ask them to completely power down their computer and console when finished. They’ll think nothing of simply reaching for the power switch of the monitor or TV, giving little thought to the electricity the device connected to it will be chewing through while not in use. They’ll soon get in the habit of heading for the ‘Shut Down’ option at the end of a session.
Turn the lights out
Kids are terrible for leaving lights on. Remind them daily to reach for the switch every time they leave a room to which they’re not intending to return for some time.
Make the trip to the fridge worthwhile
How many times have you seen one of your kids staring aimlessly at an open fridge, trying to decide what to eat next? Teach them the benefits of deciding exactly what to get out of the fridge before they open the door. A quick fridge visit is far more energy efficient than leaving that door open.
If cold, put another layer of clothing on
As soon as children learn how to operate the thermostat, they’ll reach for it as soon as they feel slightly colder.
Tell them to instead head to their wardrobe and put on an extra layer. Their favourite hoody will do a far better job of keeping them warm and it’ll have a positive impact on your gas bill, too.
Treat it as a game
Who says energy saving can’t be fun? Treat the race to save energy as a game by awarding the household points whenever the bill drops a few quid. Create a league table that lists each household member in order of who you feel has contributed most significantly to reducing the gas and electricity bills.
Offer an incentive
Turning energy saving into a game only really works if you offer an incentive for the top performer. Their favourite dinner, a trip to the cinema or afternoon out of their choice will engender a bit of healthy competition and see your energy bill tumble down.
Increase pocket money in line with energy savings
If the savings you start to see as a result of the kids’ increased awareness of energy usage is significant, why not re-invest those funds by upping their pocket money for as long as the savings exist? It’s not money back in your pocket, sure, but you will be putting it into something far better than a big energy company.
Still unable to convince them? Lead by example!
Modern children aren’t always that easy to convince, and if the tricks above don’t appear to be working, you may have to look a little closer to home.
If they spot you leaving lights on, forgetting to close the fridge door or falling asleep in front of a blaring TV, why should they go out of their way to save energy?
Do as you say, utilise the techniques in this post, and the kids should follow!