Many parents want to teach their children about renewable energy and energy efficiency early in life because once they get in the habit of it, it will be a habit they continue to follow for the rest of their life. But where should you start when teaching renewable energy for kids? A good idea would be starting with defining exactly what renewable energy is. You can suggest they make a list of non-renewable and renewable power sources and build from there. Some examples would be:
Non-Renewable: Oil/Gas, Natural Gas, Coal, Nuclear
Renewable: Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Hydro/Water
Explain to them how renewable energy comes from natural forces. It is different from fossil fuels as it does not make greenhouse gases or other pollutants. You can further explain how the mass production of electricity using renewable energy sources has only recently become more popular. Some of the reasons why it’s becoming more popular include: climate change caused by pollution and fossil fuels are all being used up and becoming more expensive.
A great idea is to teach kids about energy efficiency. Have them make a list of all the powered devices they use for a day such as TV, computer, lights, etc. and for how long, and if possible the wattage of each device. If they can’t get the wattage, you can look up the average wattage for each device for demonstration purposes. Do a rough calculation to show them how much power they’re using in a day. Now have them do an ‘energy conservation’ day where they turn off devices when they’re not using them, turn off lights when not in a room, turn down the heat/AC a couple degrees, etc. Now recalculate the daily wattage and show them how much energy they saved with a few simple changes.
Another great idea is show them how installing a solar panel or windmill can generate electricity for their own home. It’s not as expensive as you might think. You don’t need an expensive commercial solar panel, you can build your own for $100-200 dollars and your kids could even help if they’re old enough. The less they take energy for granted, the better.
These lessons will stick with them (especially at such an impressionable age) and they’ll be using these practices for the rest of their life. Teach renewable energy for kids, the sooner the better! Go to http://www.squidoo.com/solarcabin for more information on renewable energy and DIY renewable energy systems.