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5 Easy Ways to Achieve School Year Energy Savings

It’s August which means another school year is about to start. For parents, it can be a mixed bag. With the kids in school there are fewer expenses like childcare, but buying all of the supplies, new clothes, shoes, sports equipment, etc. can be a burden on the monthly budget. 

One way to make up the difference is by cutting energy costs. The start of a new school year is the perfect opportunity to adjust how energy is used at home so there’s less energy waste. Below are five easy ways you can adjust energy use during the school year to reduce consumption. 

Reprogram the Thermostat for the School Season

In the summertime the AC has to run continuously while the kids are home. It’s one of the reasons that energy use goes up during the summer months and can send the utility bill skyrocketing.  

Now that the kids are in school during the day, it may be a good time to reprogram your thermostat and conserve energy. Since it’s still warm at the start of the year you can follow the summer thermostat setting guidelines: Raise the temperature by 7-10 degrees. If the temperature stays at that setting for 8+ hours you’ll reduce HVAC energy use by 10%. 

Reprogram Smart Bulbs

If you have smart bulbs there’s a good chance they’re scheduled around the summer when days are longer and people are at home throughout the day. As soon as school rolls around you can:

  • Adjust the lighting so that lights go on when it’s time to wake up (no need to flip the light switch in your kid’s room). 
  • Make sure the lights aren’t left on when you leave for school by putting them on a timer to go off when you head out the door. 
  • Program the lights to go out at bedtime. 

With smart bulbs everything can be automated to make getting ready for school and for bed a little easier and more energy efficient. 

Create an Efficient Charging Station for Devices

The average household has 22 connected devices. When class is in session kids may need to use tablets and laptops more often to complete their school work on top of playing with them for fun. 

The best way to save energy while keeping the batteries full is to use solar chargers. You’ll need to find a space for the charging station that receives direct sunlight during part of the day to generate energy for free. 

Solar charger features to look for are:

  • Efficiency of the panels.
  • Power output to devices.
  • Ability to charge two or more devices at once.
  • Ports for plugging in devices. Ideally you’ll want multiple ports of different kinds.

BONUS: If you take a road trip or go camping you can bring the solar charger with you to keep devices charged up on the go. 

Create an Energy Efficient (Home)Work Space

Instead of zoning out in front of a TV, your kids are going to be busy in front of a tablet or computer doing homework, studying and completing projects. It’s the good kind of screen time, but it’s also energy intensive. Keep kids productive without making the electric meter work harder by setting up an energy efficient work space.

Choose a Space With Lots of Natural Lighting

Choosing a space with natural lighting is about more than reducing the need for artificial lighting, although that helps. If you’re using solar chargers to power up devices, having a window in the work space is optimal. The efficiency of the solar charger will be about half as good as when placed outdoors, but it can work under direct sunlight through a window.

Use a Smart Power Strip

Smart power strips are energy savers because they can virtually eliminate energy vampires from wasting electricity. Another benefit of smart power strips is they can be set up to help with screen time rules. For example, the smart power strip can be scheduled to cut the power at a certain time when all screens have to be off.

Have a Family Lesson on Energy Use Best Practices

Your kids may know to turn lights out when they leave a room and to never touch the thermostat, but a reminder never hurts. Get the family together to go over energy use best practices so everyone is in on the effort. You can even set energy reduction goals. Come up with something fun you can do as a family if you hit your goals to further encourage kids to conserve energy. 

Another option is to assign each of your kids an energy conservation task. Each month of the fall semester you can have them try a new task to reduce energy use. Focusing on one thing at a time makes the process less overwhelming and more attainable, especially if you have young children. 

At Spark Energy we’re here for parents that want to reduce expenses during the school year. With our competitive plans there’s no reason to overpay for electric and gas services. We know you can put the savings to better use – find Spark Energy plans in your area

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