October Is Energy Awareness Month: Ten Tips for Instilling Long-Term Sustainability Habits
October is usually associated with pumpkins, hayrides and candy, but for some, the month is all about reducing energy use and going green. October is Energy Awareness Month — a 31-day extravaganza focused on increasing mindfulness of positive energy conservation habits.
As we make the switch from high AC use to combat the sweltering heat of summertime to high heating use to stave off winter’s cold, Energy Awareness Month marks a good time for everyone to examine energy use behaviors.
Adults aren’t the only ones who have a part to play in keeping the planet healthy. Teaching others, including kids, about energy awareness, no matter the age, can lead to lifelong habits of sustainability.1. Go Over Practical Ways To Reduce Energy at School, Work and Home
Just dedicating 30-minutes to talk to children about practical ways to help the environment can snowball into a lifetime of sustainable habits. There are several effective ways everyone can reduce energy use:
- Change air filters regularly. Dirty air filters force heating and cooling systems to work harder.
- Use cold water wherever possible. About 90 percent of the energy a washing machine uses comes from simply heating water. Showers and sinks work similarly; learning to take cooler showers and wash clothes with cold water can noticeably cut energy use and utility costs.
- Upgrade lights. Energy-efficient florescent bulbs emit the same amount of light as common incandescent bulbs but consume only a quarter of the energy and have a lifetime 10 times greater. LED lights are also energy-efficient and long-lasting, although they are usually more expensive than their florescent equals.
2. Help Plan For The Future
Especially pertinent for older students, practicing healthy sustainability habits is crucial for energy conservation. Equipping students with knowledge for best practices in the adult world — such as how to control utility bills or understand how urban public transit systems work — prepares them to be good stewards of the earth long after they’ve graduated.
Seeing adults practice carpooling and other energy-saving techniques at home can set an impression on children. Carpooling reduces carbon emissions. Other community benefits include less-congested roads and cleaner air quality. An example is when school buses pick up 30 kids, 29 cars don’t use energy to make the trip to school.4. Explain the Impact of Reusable Products
Single-use plastics contribute to a large portion of the trash in landfills. Professionals can cut down on these wastes by leading programs that encourage others to invest in reusable products that replace single-use plastics and maximize the life of a product. Each metallic water bottle and straw, while pricier than its plastic counterparts, has a much longer lifespan and prevents dozens of plastic products from being thrown away.5. Recycle!
A great way to physically demonstrate to others the value of reusing products can be through opportunities to recycle paper- and plastic-based trash. Recycling provides tangible, visual results that allows kids to see the direct amount of waste they prevented from being sent to a landfill. Leading groups in your organization to periodically collect recycling waste from around your facility can make others even more passionate and proactive about sustainability efforts.6. Find Innovative Ways To Reuse Single-Use Products
Repurposing items commonly found in the trash after a single use can provide countless interactive ways for students to engage in learning. Art projects — such as mosaics built from old magazines or sculptures made of soda cans — give students both a creative outlet and a fun way to reuse products. Older students can use the cardboard from pizza boxes and packaging to construct 3D projects for STEM-related classes.7. Reevaluate Lunches
Like the food we put into our bellies, we can improve the health of the environment through how we eat lunch. Energy awareness programs focused on packing a zero waste lunch, which emphasizes the ways packed meals can produce little to no trash earmarked for landfills. You will see firsthand all the potential waste we can help to remove from the system. Composting, like recycling, is another way to see the effects of salvaging uneaten food and biodegradable dishware for repurpose.8. Cut Down on Paper Use
Hopefully, young children are not writing multipage term papers. However, for business professionals and older students, who have a lot of coursework to manage, encouraging double-sided submissions reduces the amount of paper used. Even better, if assignments can be turned in online or via email, that takes paper consumption out of the equation entirely.9. Host a Community Exchange Sale
Exchange sales are a great way to get used materials and supplies into the hands of others at low prices. Schools and facilities can organize these and ask that students donate old books, supplies, furnishings or clothing. This reduces the waste of throwing old supplies in the trash and empowers others to contribute to the needs of their community.10. Teach the Importance of Renewable Energy
Today’s children are growing up during the beginning of a massive shift away from fossil fuels to the cleaner sources of renewable energy. Explain what this change means in the context of the world, the United States and their communities. Also, check into how some states incentivize schools and other organizations to invest in renewable energy and efficiency program solutions.
It is vital to learn and teach others the skills we need to sustainably succeed, and that extends to the long-term health and safety of the earth. Getting students to buy into energy awareness programs throughout their educational careers can set the stage for future investment in their planet and community. If you think your organization can do more to implement a top-down culture of sustainability in all departments, contact Cenergistic for more information at 1-855-798-7779 or visit Cenergistic.com.