Healthy Green Fun Idea #2
I can never, ever remember to turn out all the lights, turn off the computer, and unplug the appliances/cell phones. I know these habits can save a lot of energy. I know it can save us money. For whatever reason (latent fear of the dark? sheer laziness? poor attention to detail?), I manage to forget something–a light, a cell phone cord, the coffee maker.
A friend mentioned that her dad used to charge them .05 cents for every light they left on. My kids are young, don’t really have money, and I’m the biggest culprit. Charging myself didn’t seem very effective. Then I read about a mom who, as they leave the house, has her kids run all around looking for anything plugged in or left on. For every item they find, they get .05 cents.
The first time I tried it, my son raced all over the house as fast as he could go. He beamed as I handed him .25 cents. Even the three year old got a dime. I was worried that a few weeks into this game they would get bored or my behavior would change. We don’t play every time we leave, but we do it enough that I can vouch that no, my behavior doesn’t change and yes, the incentive system still works. The net effect is definitely lower energy bills.
A few lessons learned:
Especially for parents with older kids: no, they can’t get paid for things THEY purposely left on and siblings cannot scheme to jack up earnings
Unplugging the DVR may get your child $.05 cents, but will lead to great disappointment when you try to watch that episode of Mad Men. Tag “exempt” cords with red tape.
Unbridled enthusiasm has been known to tip over lamps and lead to dropped hair dryers. You may want to tag “fragile” cords as well.
What about you? Do you play any other games to remember these “harder” habits? Have any other ways to remind yourself? Would love to hear your ideas!