Featured Post: Free some money on your bills: Your kids will thank you

Being energy efficient at home is not a one-person job. In fact, your children will have to be just as invested in your end goal to save energy and money as you are. And if you offer them incentives to keep the family on track, lowering your electricity and natural gas bills will result in some pretty nice perks for them, too. Not sure where to start? Here are some tips to guide you and the family in energy conservation.

Shop around for energy deals. In the UK, the Big Six energy companies have the lion’s share of all consumers, but there’s a growing movement that could change this. Compare energy prices to see if it makes sense for you to switch to a smaller provider; often times, it does. And in addition to lower prices, you should also be searching for better service. For example, the Which? customer satisfaction survey has ranked a renewable energy company number one for two years in a row. It’s food for thought for energy consumers who are looking to go against the grain.

When possible, get energy efficient appliances. It may seem like a great cost upfront, but the investment in an energy efficient washing machine, dishwasher, or refrigerator could prove to be a very savvy purchase in the future. Manufacturers are constantly thinking of new ways to make their appliances do more with less energy, so chances are pretty good that the refrigerator you bought ten years ago no longer makes the grade by today’s energy standards. This means that the switch to newer machines can slash your annual energy costs by a significant amount.

Get the kids involved. They may not be able to make phone calls to the energy company or monitor the electricity bill, but kids can still understand the importance of saving energy. In fact, teaching your children energy efficiency tips now can provide a foundation for a lifetime of environmentally sound practices and financially responsible habits. It sounds like a tall order, but start small with reminding them to turn off the lights when they leave a room and to not run water while they are brushing their teeth. Then, move onto bigger steps, such as creating a home energy chart to create a list of even more habits.Get a home energy makeover. If you’re new to green energy or want to enlist professional help in finding all the nooks and crannies where energy could be escaping from your home, getting a home audit by an energy professional can help you come up with a plan for how to save even more energy. These certified specialists usually begin with a consultation followed up by an inspection of all the tight spaces in your home that you probably never go. Then, they can tell you where to insulate more and how to make sure you keep your home energy efficient.

Set energy benchmarks for the whole family. It can be difficult to maintain enthusiasm when you don’t see results, so make sure you’re communicating to your entire family how much the energy bill has gone down from month to month. Once you start to see movement in the right direction, keep everyone on board by setting the bar for energy costs a little lower each month. This will push them to cut energy use in places that they hadn’t imagined before, by hang drying clothes instead of using the dryer or keeping the refrigerator door closed while making a snack, for example.

At the end of it all, saving energy is just as much about how you get your loved ones involved as it is about what specific actions they are taking. Keeping an open dialogue about lowering energy bills is a tried and true tactic to having more disposable income for the entire family to enjoy.

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