Sustainable Families – Energy

I am slowly churning out post for my sustainable families series with a different focus for each post.  Today’s focus is on energy! Please keep in mind I am not an expert. I do not have a husband or children but in thinking of practicalities, I just began compiling a list of things I’ve tried or what seems to make the most common sense. If my ideas seem far fetched, unrealistic, or overly ridiculous, let me know. I welcome the feedback, critiques and responses. If you have more ideas, feel free to leave your comments too!

In considering ways to lower your energy bill and lower your carbon footprint, I found myself going back to archived post of my own experiences. I believe I started out with an energy bill of $22 and was able to bring it down to $15.

I would highly recommend rereading my post:Practical Steps Towards Lowering your Utility Bill (Click the link for it to open in another window)

In this power I mention the Power Hog, which is a great tool/toy for education children on energy usage. I speak on spending your summers outside, owning less stuff and using surge protectors or simply unplugging things from the wall that are not in use. The only three things that stayed plugged in in my home are my fridge, stove, and internet router. Everything else remains unplugged until I actually use it. Does your toaster, coffee maker, microwave and blender need to stay plugged into the wall ALL the time. Do you realize how much money you could save but simply plugging it in only when you need to use it? Either your convenience is important or your money. You choose.

After considering all the ways to write this post, I found myself coming back to a basic fact. If you want to lower your energy bill as a family which is more of a challenge than those who live alone or with roommates, it involves BEING INVOLVED. While you are at home surfing the web, updating your blog, talking to a friend on the phone or watching your favorite show in your own bedroom with the air on and door closed, what are your children doing? Are they each in their rooms watching tv, on their cells and playing gameboy or Wii?

Whether you have one child or three or eight, perhaps you should find ways for the entire family to become involved. While everyone is home, why not watch a movie together, rather than having everyone in their own rooms with the lights on. Be in one room together. Cook together. Clean together. Instead of watching movies together, you can also find low energy activities to do together. How about an old fashion game of monopoly or a card game? Why not just sit and talk together.

As much as possible, get out the house. Especially in the summer. Why sit at home with everything on including the air, when you can go to the beach or pool? Or you can enjoy one of the free days at the local city museum or zoo? Or you can go to a movie in the park? You can do whatever your city has to offer.

That’s what I have to say about energy and families. You can read my post linked above to see some of the practical tips I live by to keep my bill down but really, for a family I feel as if it comes down to actually being together as a family while at home rather than being apart an separate.

One incentive towards getting your kids active in saving energy would be to add a portion of whatever you save on the energy bill towards their allowance. If I were a teen, that might be one way to get me involved. :)

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