Why do we need to save energy?

Our homes use energy all day, every day. In the kitchen, our refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and more use electricity. Lights, cell phones and laptops need power too.

Electricity or natural gas power the furnace, water heater, washer and dryer. Outside, our lighting, lawn mower and even a pool heater require energy to run.

Energy is there when we need it. The flip of a switch or the click of a remote is all it takes to get what we need. What about conserving our energy use? Wondering why we should care? Why do we need to save energy?

You've probably heard the adults in your house say "Turn off the light!" or "Close the refrigerator door!" Have you ever wondered why?

It all adds up

Every year, we use more energy than we did the year before. In fact, the amount of energy Americans use has doubled about every 20 years.

All of that energy adds up, and much of it is wasted by using too much or not using it wisely.

Energy isn't free. The adults in your house pay for the all the electricity you use. So wasting energy is the same as wasting money – and we know that's not a good idea!

Wasting energy isn't good for the environment either. Many of the energy sources we depend on, like coal and natural gas, can't be replaced – once we use them up, they're gone forever. Another problem is that most forms of energy can cause pollution.

two girls looking at a cell phone

Top ten rules for saving energy

There are lots of easy ways to save energy at home, and all those energy-savers add up to a big impact on the environment.

To get started, try these top ten rules for saving energy . The adults in your house can help!

  1. Shut off the lights when you're done using them, and turn off the TV, computer, video games and other electrical stuff when you leave the room.
  2. Adjust the thermostat during the winter. Ask a adult to adjust the thermostat by 10 degrees cooler in the winter and 10 degrees warmer in the summer for eight hours a day.
  3. Don’t leave the refrigerator door open. Every time you open the door, up to one-third of the cold air can escape.
  4. Replace a burnt-out light bulb with an LED light bulb. LEDs use less energy and last longer than other types of bulbs.
  5. Remind adult to use cold water in the washing machine. Hot water won't get the clothes any cleaner, and it wastes a lot of energy.
  6. Fix dripping faucets. One drop per second can add up to 165 gallons of hot water a month - that's more than one person uses in two weeks!
  7. Take a short shower instead of a long bath. It might take 25 gallons of hot water to fill the bathtub, compared to only seven gallons for a quick shower.
  8. Close the curtains during hot summer days to block the sun. During the winter, keep the curtains open.
  9. Help an adult put plastic sheeting on windows. Blocking cold drafts is called "weatherizing" and it can save a lot of energy.
  10. Help your mom or dad plant a tree to help shade your house on hot summer days.

mom and daughter planting a tree