With both Earth Day and Tax Day around the corner, this is the perfect time of year to encourage our kids to take steps to help protect our planet, especially during spring and summer months. Although pairing Mother Earth with Uncle Sam may seem like an unlikely combination, the makers of a free energy savings app Homeselfe can help you show your children how these issues go hand-in-hand, no matter how old they are.
Unfortunately, children do not typically learn the most basic facts of life in school, like balancing a checkbook. Although this process may seem outdated given today’s technology, our children still need to eventually learn financial skills like how to stick to a budget, plan for retirement, and understand annual taxes. Part of filing our yearly tax return is understanding tax credits, and some of them are associated with saving money and the environment at the same time.
Age Appropriate Lessons
Obviously, a five year old will not understand the concept of “taxation without representation,” but a 15 year old civics student may feel completely differently on the subject. While a young child can be taught that turning off lights after leaving a room can mean more money for things like ice cream and candy, teens will understand that protecting the future of our planet means being more proactive today.
Efforts like recycling and reusing materials are becoming a normal part of the routine for most of today’s children, but we can also teach them other ways to save energy inside our homes. For example, when replacing appliances, we should always choose ENERGY STAR models that are specifically designed to get the most bang for our buck. We can also look for additional ways to save on utility costs like reviewing insulation in our attics and seals found in the windows and doorways. By sharing these tips and tricks with your kids, you help them play a role in saving the planet, and some money for your family as well. They will also be more educated, environmentally-conscious, and fiscally aware–who could ask for anything more?
How To Save Money While Saving Energy
You can save money by using renewable energy sources that rely on resources that will never run out, such as sunlight or wind, instead of finite resources such as oil and coal. Unlike nonrenewable energy sources, renewable energy sources do not create greenhouse gases, meaning they are much safer for the environment and combat climate change. But, that’s not the only benefit this type of energy can provide to consumers today—renewable energy can also save you money.
Although making the change to renewable energy sources requires spending some money upfront, you will get the money back over time. For example, installing solar panels on the roof of your home to power your electricity will save you hundreds of dollars per year on your electric bills because you will not need to rely on the electricity provided by your electric company. This means over a number of years, the solar panels will pay for themselves. Solar energy is the most widely available type of renewable energy and the cleanest, too.
You can also buy energy credits to receive wind power to your home, one of the fastest growing types of renewable energy in the United States. Turbines are needed to convert the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical power that can be transformed into electricity with the help of a generator. Once the electricity has been created, it is sent to homes in the area on power lines.
It is also important to make some energy-efficient upgrades such as switching to more energy efficient products in your home. If every product that we use is energy efficient, it will reduce the world’s energy waste. This means less drilling for oil and other natural resources–which ultimately means less potential environmental hazards. Switching to ENERGY STAR appliances is the most obvious way and can save you up to 30 percent on your energy bills.
Try buying more efficient household products like:
- Refrigerators: Refrigerators are plugged in at all hours of the day, so they consume more energy than any other appliance in the home. That is why switching to an energy efficient model will help increase the value of your home. ENERGY STAR refrigerators are about 9 percent more energy efficient than standard models. According to ENERGY STAR, this calculates to be about $260 in energy savings over the next five years.
- Dishwashers: ENERGY STAR dishwashers are designed to use innovative technology to keep your dishes clean without using as much electricity and water. These energy efficient dishwashers use soil sensors to judge how dirty a load of dishes is and determine how much electricity and water is needed to get them clean. They are also designed with more efficient jets that do not use as much water to clean the dishes. By replacing this outdated model with one of these energy efficient appliances, you could save around $35 per year.
- Windows: Most windows are not designed for energy efficiency, allowing air to leak out and heat to glare through and warm up your home to an uncomfortable temperature. To maximize your windows’ energy efficiency, install ENERGY STAR windows that can help you save energy by about 12 percent, reduce your carbon footprint, and lower your monthly energy bill.
Getting Tax Credits For Going Green
Besides saving money on your utility bills, you may qualify for tax rebates and credits depending on how energy efficient your home is and which state you live in. Each state has its own requirements. Your one-stop-shop to find out a lot of information on rebate and incentive programs offered by your state is the Database of State Incentive for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE). Energy.gov is another very useful resource that provides information on the types of rebates and incentives, along with information on your state’s energy profile, the impact of state-run programs, and guidance for identifying incentives and how you can become eligible for them.
These changes are a commitment that are worth making. Not only will you be doing your part to protect the environment, but it is a long-term investment that will help you save money down the road. Your children and the planet will thank you!
How do you save energy in your home?