Consumption or Conservation?

January 31, 2012

Over the past year of moving from a small condo to a larger house – I have been pretty lax on our energy consumption.  It’s just one of those things that I don’t really feel like I’ve previously had to worry about too much in the past.

In our condo we didn’t have Gas.  And our energy bill on an expensive month might have reached $50.00.


But in this huge (relatively speaking) house, We’re easily at $100 without A/C running, and now that our winter air seemingly has arrived, our furnace running leaves us with a larger gas bill.  Also our central heat barely heats the downstairs of our home – but we’ve got a super nice built-in space heater there that is SO tempting to use, but SO expensive at the same time.

I’m not sure about your area – but in Minneapolis, we pretty much have one choice of provider for gas or electric.  I’m pretty positive our choices are Xcel Energy (electric), and CenterPoint Energy (for gas).

SO meanwhile we’re left with one option: Conservation.

DSC02508We’re *terrible* at this – just ask our neighbors.  I swear they must think we’re home and awake 24/7.  We have dimmer switches on almost all of our lights – and I make a point of leaving a few lights at least partially on when I leave so it looks like we’re home…

DSC02511But then when we’re home – they seemingly are still always running.  Often times when I leave the house and go through switching the lights down, I’m touching every light switch in the house.

It’s bad enough that my husband and I are bad at turning lights off – but the kids both can reach the light switches, and they’re constantly turning them on.

How do you train your kids to remember to turn the lights off?



  1. We only have one provider here as well but it looks like it’s going to change soon. I do tend to unplug all sorts of things off the walls though and that seems to help.

  2. We have a woodstove that we use most of the time for heat, but when we get lazy and use the furnace instead, I am always FLOORED by the electric bill 😛
    As far as lights…I do pretty good at keeping them off, as we have a lot of windows and natural light. Our kids are still too young to really care, but Katie can reach the switches now and I occasionally find lights on that I certainly didn’t turn on 😉 We’ll have to work on that!

  3. I am horrible at turning lights off- I LIKE to have them on! I wish we had dimmers! &My fiancee reminds ME so much to turn them off, that my son picked up on it & turns them all off! Which is good because in the Summer, our electric bill is around $300. Augh.

  4. My grandson is very “trainable” and follows instructions really well. He knows before we move onto the next room that we have to turn the lights out. It’s just part of the routine.

  5. Gladys Parker says:

    We’ve never had a nice house but we do have an energy eating one. It will sound tacky but I put a note up by each switch they could read saying off and a small picture. My children varied in ages so the pic was important. When the fun of that started to wear off before snack or tv or story time I would have a small list as I read it they would run through checking each thing and one was the light switches.
    Gladys P

  6. My mom was very pushy about turning of the lights to reduce the bill and I’m the same way, reminding my kids to turn the lights off all the time

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