Using energy efficiently can be as simple as turning off the lights or computer when they’re not being used. The challenge is getting people – especially kids – to pay heed. Starting today, the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program is going to make that task much easier, especially for us parents!
ENERGY STAR is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program that helps us save money and protect the environment and our health through energy-efficient products and practices. In 2011 alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 41 million cars — all while saving $23 billion on their utility bills and reducing the pollution that contributes to heart disease, asthma and allergies.
As impressive as that is, the job is far from done. Climate change is still rising, and our health and the health of our kids is still at stake. We can make a difference by teaching our kids to save more energy at home. That’s where Team ENERGY STAR comes in.
Team ENERGY STAR is EPA’s new initiative to engage and educate American youth and their families about saving energy at home. Team ENERGY STAR gives kids and families knowledge and tools they can use to preserve our environment, help protect the climate and create a healthier world.
I’ve already joined the team myself. But one person a “team” does not make. We all need to join in and do our part. Here are three important reasons why I think it’s worth your while.
First, without question, energy efficiency makes life healthier for our children and family. Climatechange will likely increase the number of people suffering from illness and injury due to more pollution, extreme heat, floods, storms, droughts and fires as well as allergies and infectious disease. The elderly, the very young, the disabled, and the poor alone are especially vulnerable, as are people with heart disease or asthma. Climate change is also expected to cause more severe allergy symptoms because a warmer climate promotes the growth of molds, weeds, grasses and trees that cause allergic reactions. The more efficiently we all use energy, the less likely we are to get sick.
Second, Team ENERGY STAR will make your job explaining energy efficiency to your children easier. I know that sometimes my kids think I’m a broken record, the way I nag them to turn off the lights and their computers. But the activities Team ENERGY STAR has come up with offer a creative and fun way to motivate the whole family to feel like they’re doing their part together to save energy. With Dr. Seuss’ the Lorax as the engaging theme for Team ENERGY STAR, kids can learn and have fun at the same time.
Finally, joining Team ENERGY STAR will help you save money. The typical household spends more than $2,100 per year on energy. With ENERGY STAR, you can save over one-third, or more than $700, on your household energy bills without sacrificing features, style or comfort.
Team ENERGY STAR has already lined up some important and influential partners, like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Do Something, one of the largest organizations in the U.S. for teens and social change. But it’s up to each and every one of us to reach our own kids and families.
Kids can join Team ENERGY STAR by visiting energystar.gov/team where they will get easy-to-download educational and interactive materials, such as a comprehensive Action Kit, the ENERGY STAR Home Check-Up, a Lorax activity booklet and a Lorax mustache-making kit. Kids are also encouraged to come back and share their stories about protecting the environment by saving energy, which will be showcased on energystar.gov/changetheworld and throughout social media.
In fact, Team ENERGY STAR is part of a multi-year EPA campaign, Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR, developed to engage Americans of all ages in saving energy and money and protecting the environment with ENERGY STAR. Millions of people are getting involved, joining their neighbors in this grassroots movement to help protect the climate by saving energy. You can see how people and organizations all over are making a difference with ENERGY STAR by viewing EPA’s ENERGY STARs Across America map.
You can also attend an event in your area to learn ways to take control of your energy bills while contributing to a cleaner environment. Plus, if you take the ENERGY STAR Pledge at energystar.gov/pledge, you’ll join 2.8 million other Americans who are taking action to protect the climate.
If every American household took part in the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR Pledge, we would: save more than 126 billion KWh/yr of electricity, save $18 billion in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from 20 million cars.
Please leave a comment below when you join Team ENERGY STAR.
And please come back on June 12, when Big Green Purse will be hosting a carnival of posts from many bloggers who support energy efficiency and Team ENERGY STAR.
Full disclosure: I am a long-time independent advocate of energy-efficiency and the ENERGY STAR program. I am currently working as a paid consultant to introduce Team ENERGY STAR to parents and families.