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How Do We Teach Young Children to Save Energy and be Eco-Conscious?

How Do We Teach Young Children to Save Energy and be Eco-Conscious?

  2013-01-28         sparksdirect         Advice » Energy Saving Tips

Young children can be the blight of the domestic eco-warrior. They forget to turn off the lights when they leave a room. Facts and figures mean very little to them.

Not to mention all the electronic toys! A concept design by designer Danny Taylor got us thinking about how we might teach children how to be energy-conscious in a fun way.

Rationing Energy with Happy Faces

The concept is a rotary dimmer switch with a smiley face on it; when the lights are on, the smiley face is actually a sad face. It's a nice way to reinforce the idea that having the lights on makes something happy, although many professionals dislike the idea of negative reinforcement.

As Gizmodo suggests, you could copy this idea at home with a paintable dimmer switch (like this switch from Heritage Brass) and a marker pen.

We don't condone intellectual property theft as a general rule, but as this switch is still in the concept stage, it's certainly one solution.

Rationing Energy with Other Things

But how else could we get the concept of energy management across to children without overloading them with data?

There are plenty of resources for classroom teachers, and some guidelines from the Guardian.

But what if you're an eco-conscious parent? Well, we have a whole range of domestic energy management devices in our online store, such as occupancy sensors and thermostats for lighting, heating and ventilation.

One creative method suggested to us was to connect the shower heater to a time delay switch so that the hot water is only available for a set period of time.

This has the unfortunate side-effect that someone may be using the shower when all of a sudden it turns freezing!

We haven't actually tried to do this, but we are certain that our parents certainly would have done this to us if the technology had been available at the time.

We were going to suggest simply "leading by example," but that's what was suggested to us.

Do you have any more ideas about how to teach kids to be energy-conscious? Let us know in the comments!

Header image by jenny818 (Creative Commons)