Teaching Kids About the Importance of Energy Conservation

In the U.S., energy use is an everyday part of life. From the moment we wake up until we go to sleep we’re using electricity and gas. From the time we’re tall enough to flip the light switch, we’re energy consumers. 

When you think about it, energy conservation is more important for kids to learn about than anyone else for a few reasons:

  • They are inheriting the planet.
  • They’re inheriting the existing electric grid that’s already maxed out.
  • They’ll be here the longest.
  • Awareness now builds good habits for life.

The start of a new school year when kids are primed for learning is a great time to start teaching them about the importance of energy conservation and what they can do to be part of the solution. Here are a few ways you can get the discussion started! 

Discuss Energy Conservation While Taking a Hike

There’s no better place to explain the importance of energy conservation than out in nature. It’s a great setting for explaining the difference between nonrenewable and renewable energy sources. You can also point out that some renewable resources, like wood, take longer to renew than others. For example, solar energy from the sun is renewed every day essentially. But even fast growing species of bamboo need more than 3 weeks to grow back.

You can talk about how the use of each type of energy impacts the environment like the one you’re hiking through. Explain how carbon emissions that we can’t see are just as dangerous as the pollutants and harmful byproducts that are generated by using some forms of energy. Because we need a diverse mix of energy sources to meet demand, energy conservation is extremely important no matter what type of resources we use.

Explain the Strain on the Electric Grid

If your kids have ever experienced a black out or brownout in the summer from electricity demand outpacing the supply, then they’ll understand why conserving energy is important for the electric grid. But even if they don’t have firsthand experience, you can explain what the electric grid is and how there are limitations to what it can do. 

Explaining to kids how all the pieces of the grid work together to generate, transmit and distribute electricity is usually easier with visuals. PBS created a great video on the electric grid and how it can be modernized to better meet demand. 

Set Up a Portable Solar Charger

Conserve energy and promote energy conservation at home with a portable solar charger. Setting up a solar charger is an easy project to do with kids of all ages. You can even use their tablet or one of your own devices to let them try out the charger. 

The project is also an opportunity to discuss how solar panels work to convert energy from the sun into power we can use at home. Everything should make more sense to kids having the miniature solar panels there in front of them. 

Show Your Kids How Much Energy You Use at Home

You can’t see electricity, but you can see the meter reading on your utility bill. Break out your electric bill or log into your account online with your kids to take a look at your energy use. You can point out the month-to-month usage and ask your kids if they can think of reasons why one month would be higher than the others. Also take a look at the year-over-year energy usage to discuss whether you are conserving more or less energy than last year.

We created a PDF that clearly shows the items on an electric bill. It’s a great resource to use alongside your own electrtic bill to explain each part.

Go Over How a Green Energy Plan Works (But Why Conservation is Still Key)

Once your kids have a grasp on the different types of energy sources, how they affect the environment and the electric grid as well as how the use of electricity translates into a bill, go over the benefits of green energy plans. Some kids may be genuinely concerned about the impact of their energy use, and knowing about green energy plans can alleviate some of the worry. It’s a good example of how technology can be used to solve complex energy problems.

But just because the energy is renewable that doesn’t mean conservation isn’t a concern. Kids need to understand that they should still try to minimize energy use whenever possible. The less power that’s used, the less power needs to be generated.

At Verde Energy we’re helping bring awareness about energy conservation and helping every customer reduce their impact by providing green electricity plans. You’ll feel better knowing that while your family can’t completely forgo energy use, it can be more eco-friendly.