This post is part of the Green Moms Blog Carnival at Big Green Purse.
Growing up with a dad who was an engineer and also a budget-conscious immigrant, watching our electric and gas usage was just part of life. Back then, it was sort of embarrassing that we would hang our clothes to dry in the backyard, or that we would turn down the thermostat and wear a sweater instead. But as I’m raising my own kids, I find myself doing some of the things that used to annoy me, such as air drying our laundry a sunny day or using compact florescent lights instead of regular bulbs.
Here are some ways our family tries to be mindful with our energy usage:
Use appliances during the cooler parts of the day: I like to run a load of laundry right when we get up in the morning. Not only does it tax the power grid less at that time of the day, it doesn’t heat up an already warm house, and then I can take advantage of the day’s sunlight to line dry some of our clothes. If the morning is too hectic, I wait until after 5 pm to run a load. Also, we have an Energy Star rated front loading washer. It uses less water, less soap, and less electricity — and creates less wear and tear on our clothing.
Close the drapes and windows during the hottest times of day: You’d be amazed at how much this keeps the house from heating up. We don’t have central air conditioning in our house, so we really need to prioritize keeping our home naturally cool. During the summer, I will shut the windows and angle the blinds in a way that prevents too much direct sunlight (i.e.- heat) from entering the house. Then when the sun drops and the breeze picks up in the late afternoon or evening, I open them up.
Plant trees around your home: Just like in the movie The Lorax, trees really do help us. Strategically planted trees will grow up to create a canopy that will shelter your home from the sun. According to the U.S. Forest Service Center for Urban Research, just two shade trees, planted on the east and west sides of your home can cut your energy bills by 30%. Plus, trees make for a really pleasant neighborhood.
Change to a low flow shower head: For just a few dollars at the hardware store, HapaPapa bought a new shower fixture that cuts down on the amount of water used. And we really don’t notice the difference.
Enter the Energy Star Essay Contest
Do you teach your kids to save energy (and money)? If you have a child under 13, he or she can enter the Energy Star contest for a chance to win a Lorax DVD or one of many Energy Star certified prizes from LG Electronics, including TVs, computer monitors, smart phones and mouse scanners. Kids can write an essay, draw a picture or take photos to share what your family does to conserve energy.
For more information or to submit your child’s essay, visit the Energy Star website.