November 16, 2012 in All Posts
One of my favorite things about blogging is meeting amazing people and learning new things – even ordinary everyday things (some that I should probably already know about – don’t judge): like ways to save money on your energy bill and becoming a greener family.
Below I’m sharing my five tips for teaching your kids about conserving natural resources like power and gas, which is not just great for the planet, but your wallet, too!
Recently, I jumped at the opportunity to attend a presentation by PG&E and Opower (because I know I am probably not doing what I can at our house to be energy efficient and our bills pretty much reflect that) and am so glad I did.
Besides picking up tips on how to save money on our energy bill and learn about different ways to talk to the kids about consuming fewer energy resources, I met up with Kimberly of Tippy Toes and Tantrums, who also runs Silicon Valley Mamas, and TeriAnn of Cookies and Clogs, both who I had really really meant to follow up with after we went to the Circle of Moms screening of Won’t Back Down, but – of course – I’ve been way too behind to reach out to them and the other fabulous bloggers I met that night.
Okay, now on to the good stuff I learned that I am excited to share with you because it is SO cool how much information we have at our fingertips and what we can do to manage our energy efficiency. (If you are already on top of this, then just give yourself a pat on the back and gloat!)
5 Ways To Save On Your Energy Bill
- Access your free, customized Home Energy Report – This is seriously the coolest feature (that I was completely clueless about). You can see how much energy your household consumes, when your usage peaks (on a daily, monthly, or yearly basis). You can even overlay weather data to get a really good picture of your habits. Knowing your usage habits is key to figuring out how to lessen your consumption. It’s also a good way to find out if your husband is sneaking home at lunch or your nanny has the kids in front of the television with the thermostat pumped up.
- Choose the right energy plan for your house. Did you know that PG&E offers SmartRate plans and Peak Day Pricing that let you choose your own energy rate?! I didn’t – this is one of the coolest things ever. Plus, they don’t hide the best rates for your family, but actually have it set up so that you see the best rate for you. Love it.
- Participate in the Winter Gas Savings Program. You can get bonuses of up to 20%! Log on to http://www.pge.com/wintergassavings to access your MyEnergy Report and benefit from the Winter Gas Savings Program Progress Tracker to keep your energy usage in check and your winter energy bill down.
- Get Social – Even more helpful is joining the Winter Gas Savings Program on Facebook. I would never have guessed these statistics:
*People who logged in to receive personalized updates on the Winter Gas Savings Program or received the latest updates on Twitter saved 14-34% more
**People who checked in 4 times or more saved 69% more
You can also sign up for Energy Alerts – This is another great way to keep tabs on your usage via text, e-mail, or phone.
- Consider TV Pooling – I had no idea that by watching football games or the Oscars together would be beneficial in terms of energy usage, but it is. Check out this stat I learned during a mini quiz at the luncheon:
There’s a ton more info at PG&E’s Energy Efficiency Hub – even resources for teaching your children about energy efficiency. And even though you might think that utility companies aren’t exactly social media forward, you can get all kinds of updates and even your customer service questions answered on Twitter and Facebook:
5 Tips For Teaching Kids About Energy Conservation
- Play an Energy Efficiency Game – Ask your children to go around the house and point out all the appliances that use energy. Whoever finds the most items in the house (or one room) first wins. Use this opportunity to explain that appliances can be turned off or unplugged.
- Add Energy Saving Activities to the Chore Chart. Right after “Putting on your jacket”, add “Turn off all the light switches” or “Turn down the thermostat.”
- Start a neighborhood or school-to-school Energy Efficiency Fundraiser. Use Opower’s Social Energy Application to compare your family, social group, or school’s energy usage against the competing team and raise funds – or just awareness.
- Download your Home Energy Report with your kids. There are all kinds of fun graphs and visual representations of your family’s energy usage. Show them comparisons month to month, post the current month’s report on the fridge, and make it a household challenge to lower your numbers.
- Model good habits that your children can imitate. Don’t just make them do what you say – show them how easy it is be an Eco-Superhero!
Now, unplug your laptop and go play!
Disclaimer: “I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of PG&E and Opower. I attended an informational luncheon and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. As always, all opinions are my own (as is my guilt for not paying attention to this stuff earlier and my embarrassment in admitting it to all of you). #SmartMoms #PGE #Opower