The school break traditionally coincides with a spike in our energy usage – but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, these long days of leisure are an ideal opportunity to get your kids off the devices and out into the wider world. While you’re at it, why not teach them about easy ways to reduce the family’s electricity bills?
- Explore the great outdoors. Swimming at the beach, playing sport, going on a family bike ride... Not only will outdoor activities keep your children healthy and happy, they don’t require any electricity.
- Feast on a picnic or barbeque. Save energy spent preparing meals by taking the kids to the park for a picnic or barbecue – they’ll love eating alfresco!
- Learn about solar. Holidays are a great time to get the future generation interested in renewable energy. Buy some solar lights for the garden and get the kids to help you set them up. You’ll save money on lighting your outdoor areas, too.
- Turn off appliances and devices. Children are never too young to start learning about how they can contribute to an energy efficient household. Electrical devices switched to standby mode continue to draw power and this can add up to 10% to your electricity bill. Teach your kids about the difference between standby and switched off – you could even introduce small rewards to encourage them to look out for red standby lights around the house.
- Turn off lights that aren’t needed. With more people at home at any one time it can be difficult to keep track of who is where, but unless you are all occupying a separate room you don’t need to switch on every light in the house. Turning off lights when you’re not in the room can reduce electricity costs, so get into the practice of turning off the lights every time you leave a room. You can help everyone else remember by leaving eye-catching reminders next to your switches and doorways. And, if you haven’t already, switch to energy efficient lightbulbs.
- Keep costs down if you go away. Even if you go away for a family holiday, your home can continue to use electricity. Before you leave for a trip, double check none of your devices are on standby, and consider whether you really need to leave items such as the set-top box and modem switched on. Then make sure any external lights, such as the light in the shed or garage, are switched off. If you’re using security timers to create the appearance that the home is occupied, check sunset and sunrise times before you leave and make sure your lights don’t switch on for an unnecessarily period of time. Finally, consider your various outdoor appliances – sprinklers, pool filters, backyard sensor lights – and figure out which ones you can switch off or re-program to use less electricity.
Having your kids at home for the holidays could change your household’s energy use, so it might be worth checking EnergyAustralia’s online energy calculator to see whether you’re on the right plan.