Across the U.S., students of all ages are returning to school. Whether your family had a relaxing summer with days spent by the pool or a more active one with summer camps and road trips, it's time to get back into a routine that supports your students in another year of successful learning. When you include in your routine ways to save energy, your family and the environment both win.
- Find ways to carpool. Can Mom drop the kids off at school on the way to work? Maybe you can trade carpool duty with another family in your neighborhood whose kids attend the same school.
- Make sure windows and doors are tightly shut before leaving for the day to keep temperature-controlled air inside.
- Change the thermostat during the day. Keeping the house at a comfortable temperature isn't necessary when everyone is at school and work.
- When it starts to turn chilly, wear a sweater – or sweatshirt with your school logo – rather than turn on the heater.
- Plan your route for getting to after-school classes/practices and running errands so you can save time, miles and gas.
- Put after-school snacks at the front of the fridge to keep kids from standing with the door open, rummaging around for food. Better yet, keep a list of available snacks attached to the refrigerator door, so they can decide what they want before opening the door.
- Make a calendar with all your family's activities so you can meal plan for the week. If you know someone has a soccer game or a late meeting, plan a simple meal that doesn't require an hour to prepare.
- Use power strips to plug in all your electronics, from the computers and cellphones to that special math calculator for advanced calculus. This way, when you turn off the one switch you know all your gadgets are truly off and not drawing standby power.
- Set a gadget-free time, whether for studying or simply for dinnertime. Turning off electronics for an hour saves power as well as allows you to concentrate on what's in front of you, be it your books or the delicious burgers.
- Make sure you have the right light bulb at desks for studying. For reading and computer work, you want a bulb that gives off natural light in the 5,000-6,500K range. However, bright light when working at a computer might be uncomfortable, so make sure the light can be dimmed or moved for easier viewing.