Activities to Do in Your Home
There are many ways you can save energy at home. Some are really simple and you can do them yourself. Others will need help from your parents. Try a few and see how easy it is to act green!
Turn out lights when you are not using them.
Ask your parents to get “compact fluorescent lamps” for your lights. They use one-fourth of the electricity of a regular light bulb, burn cooler, and last a lot longer.
Don't leave the TV on when no one is watching it. Also turn off computers, radios, stereos, electric blankets, and heating pads.
Ask your parents to turn the heat down just a couple of degrees in the winter and you can wear a sweater. Or you can ask them to use a ceiling fan on less hot days in the summer instead of air conditioning.
In the winter ask your parents to close the damper in your fireplace when you are not using it. Heat rises and goes right out of your chimney!
Don't leave the refrigerator door open. Take a quick look and close the door.
Ask your mom or dad to get solar lights for your outdoor walkways. They are charged by the sun during the day and light your yard electricity-free at night.
“Detox” your house. If you can see old paint cans in the basement, old pesticide boxes in the garden shed, or old toxic household cleaners under the sink, you can call the landfill and ask when they have toxic waste pickup days. It's better to have them out of the house!
Ask your parents if you can get cloth napkins to replace the paper napkins you use every day. Or get some for your mom or dad as a gift. It doesn't add much to laundry but it saves a lot of trees! Handkerchiefs save a lot of tissues and make good gifts, too.
How Much Difference Can One Bulb Make?
If your parents replaced just one regular light bulb in your house with a compact fluorescent lamp, they would save $30 in electricity costs over the life of that bulb. You would also stay cooler in the summer, because these bulbs give off 70 percent less heat.
Make a Draft Stopper
You can stop heat from getting out under your doors and cold from sneaking in. Get an old pillowcase from your mom and cut it into 6″ wide, two-layer thick strips. Sew up both the long sides using small stitches. Then turn it inside out, so your stitches are on the inside. Now fill it with sand (your parents can buy sand from a hobby shop, nursery, or garden store). Sew up the little end. Now you can decorate your draft stopper with fabric paint. Make flowers or rainbows to remind you that summer will be back soon!
A Runny Nose Costs Trees
If every home in the United States bought one box of 100 percent recycled tissues, we could save more than 87,000 trees! We could also stop more than 300 garbage trucks full of trash (in tissues) from going to the landfills.
Has your mom or dad ever told you to close the door in the winter because you were letting all the heat out? It's true that the heat will escape out your open door, but a lot of heat sneaks out of your house through cracks you may not even realize are there! Researchers have found that people lose one-tenth of their heat through little spaces they can fix if they know they are there. You can test for heat leaks with your fingertips. Run your fingers around the edges of your windows. Do you feel a cold spot? That window may need a little sealing to block the cold from getting in. Now run your fingers along the bottom of your doors to the outside. Do you feel cold air? That's a common place for cold leaks.
Sometimes people don't conserve energy because they don't know how. They also may not know that they can save money by conserving. A cool poster that tells ways to conserve water, energy, gas, and resources might be a fun way to spread green thinking. Make a list of twenty easy ways to save. Ask your mom, dad, or teacher for some bigger (legal sized) recycled paper. In big, bold letters write your title, “20 Ways to Help Save the Planet and Save Some Money, Too!” Then decorate the rest of the poster with cool colors, drawings, or clipped pictures from magazines of animals or mountain scenes. Always ask permission to hang the poster at school, or in the local food co-op and other local stores.