Nagging your kids to turn off the lights or computer when they're not being used gets old fast. That's why I'm pretty thrilled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched a new initiative to inspire kids to save energy and take some of the burden off us parents.
For the past 20 years, ENERGY STAR has been helping Americans save money and protect the environment and our health through energy-efficient products and practices. In 2011 alone, ENERGY STAR helped people save 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 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, energy efficiency makes life healthier for our children and family. Climate change 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. 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.
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.Dr. Seuss' the Lorax is on board, too. 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, money and protecting the environment. Millions of people are getting involved, joining their neighbors in this grassroots movement to help protect the climate by saving energy.
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, 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.
Every little bit helps.
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