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Manage Back to School Energy Surge

Even though the kids will be out of the house during the day now that school is back in session, you could see a bump in your energy bills.

As the school year begins, busy students will be using the family computer more to write papers and complete school assignments. Shorter days mean more lights go on in the evening to do homework. If everyone’s up before the sun, lights go on earlier.

Manage the extra energy use. Here are some tips to conserve energy as your kids head back to school:

  • Teach your children how to put the computer into sleep mode when they are finished using it, even if they plan on returning later. Electronics in sleep mode use about 80 percent less electricity than when operating at full power.
  • In the market for new computer equipment this year? Computers with an ENERGY STAR rating use 70 percent less electricity overall, while monitors bearing the label draw 90 percent less.
  • Desk lamps and other concentrated task lighting create a productive work environment without wasting excess light. If yours are older, replace their halogen or incandescent desk lamps with LED bulbs, which fit most fixtures and produce less heat while using less electricity.
  • Bicycling or walking to school two days a week can save gas and give kids much-needed exercise now that summer days of play are over. If the commute is too far, organize a carpool with parents in your neighborhood to earn yourself a couple of mornings off.
  • Do a thorough inventory of school supplies before heading to the store to reduce waste. Supplies often come in bulk packages that won’t run out before the end of the school year.
  • Buy reusable sandwich bags and use lunchboxes instead of brown bags to save money and reduce everyday packaging waste.