Back to school brings sharp new pencils and crayons, a shift in your morning routine and endless opportunities for kids to grow and learn. This year, back to school may look a little different for each family. Whether your kids are going back into the classroom full time, part time, or you have converted your living room into a virtual classroom, here are some energy-efficient tips that will help you save money this school year.

Temperatures and thermostats

  • Go ahead and turn up your thermostat a few degrees. Whether your house is full or empty, adjusting the temperature can help save energy. You can also reverse this pattern as the weather begins to get cooler.

  • On those warmer days use a fan. Fans circulate the air and can help lower the temperature of a room by adding a breezy sensation. Make sure to turn the fan off before leaving the room.

  • Keep it cool by closing curtains and blinds before leaving the room.

Breakfast, snacks, lunch, more snacks

  • If you are packing lunch in the morning or making lots of meals through the day, you may be opening and closing your fridge door more. This makes your fridge work extra hard to keep a consistent temperature. To save energy, take out all your ingredients and supplies at once and set them on the counter. Doing so will make packing lunch easier, quicker and will prevent wasted energy. If you’re home, try pre-prepping snacks and meals so that it’s an easy grab and go when stomachs start grumbling.

  • Are the kids hungry, bored or craving something? Encourage kids (and other family members) not to stand in front of the refrigerator wondering what to eat. As you stand there, cold air and money escape through the door.

  • Did somebody grab the last yogurt? Throw away the empty box right away. Your fridge doesn’t need to work extra to cool an empty box.

Gadgets and gizmos

  • Making new technology purchases? Do some comparisons and try to invest in ENERGY STAR® label products. Products with the ENERGY STAR® label are more efficient and will save you money over time.

  • There’s a good chance you won’t be using electronics like TVs and streaming devices during the school day. These devices can use electricity even when they aren’t on. Plug these nonessential electronics into a power strip so that you’re not paying for energy that isn’t being used.

  • Reducing the brightness of your device screen will extend the battery life. More battery life means less charging and less energy use.

  • Inevitably the battery on your device will need a charge. If you find your device is hitting 1%, plug it in, but then come up with creative ways to offset the power being used. Instead of turning on the TV while you wait, make up the difference by getting outside and taking a study break.

Learning and lessons

  • Mix up your lesson plans! Now is a good time to weave in some energy-efficient education into your school or at-home learning. Visit our education resources for fun experiments and activities, designed for all different age groups.