Energy is all around you. It’s always changing. The energy in a log changes into light and heat while you watch it burn in a campfire. The energy from the sun starts as light from 93 million miles away! It becomes heat when it finally reaches your T-shirt, your face, or any other object which has a color.
It’s that change which allow us to send it through wires, and to every outlet in your home. It’s harder than it looks. It’s tough to imagine energy being generated from someplace so far away. When it finally gets to your home, you only need to flick a switch and…PRESTO! You have light!
Here are 10 things you should know about saving energy:
1. Electricity Costs Money
When a light stays on in an empty room, it’s like a leaky faucet, dripping pennies from a piggy bank. Any time we waste energy or electricity, we are taking money out of our pockets and into our bills. Saving energy ultimately means lowering the costs of other expenses on ourselves.
2. Electricity Requires Fuel
If you place a pot of water on a hot surface, like a campfire, it will boil. The boiling water creates steam. The pressure from the steam contains a lot of energy! If you connect a steam generator to the pot of boiling water, you can convert that energy into electricity. This is what happens at a power plant, but on a MUCH bigger scale.
What observations can you make from this example?
- I don’t have enough wood to make electricity forever.
- I’ll need to spend energy just to get more wood.
- I need to stay near the fire to care for it and keep it burning.
These are all challenges that we see with large-scale power generation. This is why we conserve fuel.
3. Where There’s Fire, There’s Smoke!
The smoke from the campfire in the earlier example can be unpleasant. It can make your eyes water. When there’s a lot of smoke, it can make you sick. The same is true at a power plant. How we generate electricity affects our environment. This is a big deal! Show your support for solar and wind energy. It doesn’t make smoke.
4. It’s Easy to Save Electricity on Lighting
You’ve seen efficient bulbs before. When you place your hand near them, they only feel a little warm. When you see the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs (the ones which get much hotter), ask your parents if you could replace them with a CFL or LED bulbs. They only use a tiny fraction of the electricity.
5. Hot Water Wastes Energy
Hot water consumes energy too. If you like hot showers, just be mindful of how long you keep the water running. An extra-long hot shower can consume a lot of energy. The same is true when you do the laundry. If you don’t need a hot water cycle, don’t use it.
6. Extra Laundry Loads Wastes Water
In a hurry? When you’re digging through your dresser drawers for an outfit, avoid tossing everything on the floor. This will do more than keep your parents happy. It will also keep your freshly washed and folded clothes from getting tossed back in the laundry by mistake, where energy is wasted in an unnecessary wash cycle.
7. The Thermostat Can Keep You Comfortable
If it’s winter and you can run about the house in nothing but shorts, your home is consuming a lot of energy. A programmable thermostat can help you more efficiently use your HVAC unit through the hot and cold seasons. In winter, turn it to a lower temperature and throw on a sweater. Or in the summer, use fans to cool down your home. (You’ll still be more comfortable than if you had no HVAC unit at all!)
8. An Open Refrigerator Doesn’t Stay Cool
Undecided about your next snack? Don’t take too long. The heat from the air in the kitchen will enter the refrigerator and add to the energy needed to keep cool inside. Even an energy efficient refrigerator can’t prevent this kind of waste.
9. Fuel Efficient Cars Are Better Than Ever
Electric and hybrid cars are becoming more and more popular on the road as consumers have become conscious of the effect of cars on the environment. In fact, in the last year companies like Tesla have built more charging stations to make long distance drives easier than ever. The safety ratings for hybrid cars generally do well, and it’s not uncommon to see a row of Priuses in the parking garage.
10. Saving Energy Benefits Our Children
It’s no secret that being mindful of the environment goes a long way in ensuring our children’s futures. Climate change is a real concern for many, and by changing our own habits we become role models for our children. Organizations like Dear Tomorrow work hard to empower the current generation of parents to teach their children about helping the environment
Saving energy isn’t tough–especially once you get used to it. Keep these ten reasons to save energy in mind, and you’ll be off to a great start!