Even if the days of remote school are a semester or two behind you and the kids are leaving the house every morning as usual, your energy bills could surge a bit once classes start up. That’s because people are usually busier in the fall than they are during the summer. Students are using the computer and printer more for homework assignments. Shorter days mean the lights go on earlier in the evening. If your family wakes up earlier than the sun comes up, the lights go on. Plan for what could be a bump in energy use by teaching your children how to conserve electricity and to create less waste overall. A few tips on how you can save money this fall:
• Teach your children how to put the computer into sleep mode when they are finished using it, even if they plan on returning later. Electronics in sleep mode use about 80 percent less electricity than when operating at full power.
• In the market for new computer equipment this year? Computers with an EnergyStar rating use 70 percent less electricity overall, while monitors bearing the label draw 90 percent less.
• Desk lamps and other concentrated task lighting create a productive work environment without wasting excess light. If your desk lamps are older, replace their halogen or incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, which fit most fixtures and produce less heat while using less electricity.
• Bicycling or walking to school two days a week can save gas and give kids much-needed exercise now that summer days of play are over. If the commute is too far, organize a carpool with parents in your neighborhood to earn yourself a couple of mornings off.
• Do a thorough inventory of school supplies before heading to the store to reduce waste. Supplies often come in bulk packages that won’t run out before the end of the school year.
• Buy reusable sandwich bags and use lunch boxes instead of brown bags to save money and reduce everyday packaging waste.