Our society depends on electricity. Using it more efficiently will mean that the impact on our natural resources can be reduced. More than 90% of Australia's electricity comes from coal, the other 10% from hydroelectric generation (from water). Because coal produces greenhouse gases, and will eventually run out, everyone is encouraged to conserve the energy they use.
By conserving energy, we reduce the need for electricity generated by coal, and help to minimise what is known as the "greenhouse effect". There are many ways to conserve electricity. We can turn off lights, heaters and appliances like televisions when we are not using them. Sometimes an extra jumper is better than an extra heater.
If you conserve and recycle things you will be helping to conserve energy. By being sensible with energy around your home and school you can help your parents save money as well as help the environment.
Here are some energy efficiency tips you could try: Make sure you get a parent or teacher to help you.
- In the summer, close blinds or curtains to block heat from the sun, but in winter, open the curtains to let the warm sun in.
- When the heater is on, close curtains and blinds to keep the heat inside a room.
- Instead of turning up the heater when you feel cold, just put a jumper on.
- If the air conditioner is on, keep doors and windows closed to keep the cool air in.
- Make sure taps are turned off after use.
- Tell mum, dad or your teacher about leaking or dripping taps.
- Have a shower instead of a bath.
- Use a plug in the sink when washing your hands or your face.
- Don't leave the tap running when you clean your teeth.
- Turn off appliances when they are not in use or not needed.
- Turn off the light if it doesn’t need to be on.
- Make sure you turn your heater off before you go to bed.
- Help mum or dad hang your washing on the line instead of using the dryer.
Protecting our greenhouse
The earth absorbs heat from the sun during the day, but much of it is radiated back towards space.
However, the earth has a natural blanket of gases in our atmosphere, which traps a lot of the radiated heat. Without this natural "greenhouse" blanket the temperature on earth would be too low for us to survive. On planets and moons that don't have an atmosphere like the earth, the temperatures at night are well below freezing.
Burning fossil fuels causes this greenhouse blanket to thicken, trapping in even more of the heat of the sun. This causes the average temperature of the world to rise, which can make life uncomfortable for us if it is not stopped.