Energy hog teaches kids about energy efficiency

Maria Ellingson, Energy Outreach Colorado

“Got an energy hog in your house? If energy is being wasted, you probably do.” A dastardly new character, The Energy Hog, is teaching kids about the importance of energy efficiency in a new PSA campaign slated to debut this February. The Ad Council, the Energy Outreach Colorado and the National Fuel Funds Network are launching the PSAs to engage children and their parents in activities that will save energy and result in more energy efficient households.

It is estimated that, over the next 20 years, U.S. natural gas consumption will rise by more than 50 percent and our country’s demand for electricity will increase by 45 percent. By practicing simple measures of conservation and using energy more efficiently, families can build strong energy habits, save money by reducing energy bills, help their communities reduce pollution caused by our demand for energy. In an effort to raise public awareness about the benefits of energy efficiency, the new PSAs primarily target children between the ages of 8 and 13 because when kids are enthusiastic, they can energize their families. The new PSAs aim to inform about positive habits early in order to reduce current demands on energy and create a future generation of energy-conscious adults.

Created pro bono by the Tracy Locke Partnership, the television and radio spots feature talking “Energy Hogs” that pop up in homes where energy is being wasted. For example, one television PSA shows a hog popping out from an old refrigerator and another features an exterminator who arrives at a house that is not conserving energy and is, therefore, invaded by “Energy Hogs.” One radio ad features three hogs setting out on a trail to find a house where energy was being wasted. In all of the PSAs, children come to the rescue and get rid of the evil hogs by logging on to their computers and visiting a new website, where they train to become “Energy Hog Busters” and learn fun and simple ways to use energy more efficiently. Web banners are also being distributed for the campaign.

The U.S. Department of Energy, Home Depot, the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association and state energy offices in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming have contributed to this campaign.

Ellingson is director of efficiency and conservation programs for Energy Outreach Colorado. She can be contacted at mellingson@energyoutreach.org. More information on the Energy Hog campaign can be found at www.energyhog.org.

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