Not Just for Kids
Be Energy Wise, Not an Energy Hog
By Martha Blume
April 22 is Earth Day, a good day to plant some trees, clean up a stream, do whatever you can to take care of our planet. One simple thing you can do is an energy audit at home. All you need is a clipboard and a pencil to see how your energy-wise points add up. Not convinced? Here are some shocking facts to get you motivated.
Every year as much energy leaks through American windows as flows through the Alaska pipeline. Want to save that pristine wilderness? How do your windows measure up? Are they energy tight?
Americans open their refrigerator doors an average of 22 times a day. Thats a lot of energy sneaking out. Think you can do better? Try it.
A water-saving showerhead can save 50 gallons of water for every 10-minute shower you take. How many drinks of water is that? How would you feel about it if you lived in the desert?
The United States recycles 10 per cent of its trash; European countries recycle up to 60 per cent of theirs. Whats up with that? How does your family add up?
Try this Energy Hog Scavenger Hunt, courtesy of the Maryland Energy Administration, which knows that kids can empower their parents to make a difference.
- Attic insulation: Ask an adult how much insulation you have in your attic.
_____ 6 inches or less (2 points)
_____ 7-11 inches (4 points)
_____ 12 inches or more (6 points)
- Windows: How many layers of glass do your windows have?
_____ single-pane with no storm windows (2 points)
_____ single-pane + storm windows or double-pane (4 points)
_____ double-pane + reflective coating or gas-filled (6 points)
- Lighting: Count the number of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) you have in your house.
_____ No CFL bulbs (2 points)
_____ 1-4 CFL bulbs (4 points)
_____ 5 or more CFL bulbs (6 points)
- Refrigerator test: Close the door over a dollar bill so that it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. Is it:
_____ Easy to pull out (2 points)
_____ Hard to pull out (4 points)
_____ Doesnt pull out (6 points)
How did you measure up? The more points, the better. Take the rest of the survey on-line and see if those energy hogs are sneaking into your home. To learn how to keep them out, play awesome games at Hogbusters Training Camp: www.energyhog.org.
CFL means stay cool.
CFL is an abbreviation for compact fluorescent light bulb. CFLs save lots of energy and, even though theyre more expensive than traditional light bulbs, they last about seven years, so you get your moneys worth. Traditional light bulbs waste 90 percent of their energy in producing heat. Thats why theyre so hot to touch. CFLs stay cool, so they are also safer to use.
Thursday, April 22
Bob the Builder
Ages 2-5 play games and design your own creations out of old-fashioned Popsicle sticks. 10-11am @ Southern Community Center, Appeal Ln. (off Rt. 765), Lusby. free; rsvp: 410-586-1101.
Friday, April 23
Earth Day Celebration
Read about wonders of the world and make a special craft. 10am @ Barnes and Noble, Harbour Center, Rt. 2, Annapolis. free: 410-573-1115.
Saturday, April 24
Hook one of the three largest fish caught by your age group or cast the farthest to win great prizes at the Lake Waterford Park and Pasadena Sportsfishing Associations Kid Fishing Derby. All kids get a free hot dog and soda. 8-11:30am @ Lake Waterford Park, 830 Pasadena Rd., Pasadena. $2; rsvp: 410-222-6248.
Tuesday, April 27
Creep over for Caterpillars
Read about caterpillars getting hungry with stories and make your egg-cartoon caterpillar pets. 10am @ Barnes and Noble, Harbour Center, Rt. 2, Annapolis. free: 410-573-1115.
Wednesday, April 28
Your favorite characters from Dr. Seuss books McElligots Pool, Yertle the Turtle, The Foot Book and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish come to life in a musical celebration of his 100th birthday. 7pm @ Southern Branch Library, 20 Appeals Way, Lusby. free: 410-535-0291.
Thursday, April 29
Ages 3-5 join naturalist Amy Henry for spring crafts, nature stories and a walk through the gardens. 10:30am; 1pm @ MD Department of Natural Resources, Tawes State Office Building, Rowe and Taylor, Annapolis. $1: 410-260-8189.