I am tired of switching off lights and exhaust fans after my kids. And I’m tired of yelling at them for leaving them on. They’re kids. Kids do these things. They don’t care.
But what if they DID care? Could you MAKE them care?
So I thought of trying an experiment. I got my older one’s attention and opened up the Bidgely app. I showed him how much we spent on electricity in the month of March 2014. This is just like the first step to transforming a utility – my son wanted to know where the energy was going and how much we spend. Turns out, it was $109. Then I pulled out an envelope containing $109 in cash and put it in front of him. At this point I had all of his attention. I told him that he was in charge of paying for electricity this March. If he keeps energy usage down – he gets to keep all the extra money he saved! He was smiling and I could see the twinkle in his eyes. He took up my challenge.
As we went through the month unusual things started happening.
I was told to quit reading under a recessed light during the day and dispatched outdoors instead. When I complained the light just got switched off. There was no mercy! Not exactly what I had in mind in applying the second step to transforming a utility, but it worked for us.
I started finding the Xbox turned off and plugged out. Mom had to negotiate to microwave her tea for a full minute. All in all I saw a busy bee going around the house and it warmed me up!
At the end of the month – the bill was down to $103. Savings of $6 (or 71 kWh). It wasn’t huge but the kids had now tasted blood. The younger one wanted in on the game. They were asking me all the right questions. How do I find out the best way to save? Can we keep saving every month? Can I tell my friends about this? Could they play too? For me – this had been a resounding success.
Celebrations were in order and as they bit into their well deserved chocolate bars – the older one casually said – ‘Saving energy sure is sweeeeet!’