Training Young 'Energy Detectives' to Save at Home

kids energy detective program turkey photo

An EU-funded program is helping teach Turkish school kids to save energy. Photo via AB Vızyonu, graphics via the Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey

On average, Turkey's 72 million people use two to three times more energy on heating, per square meter, than residents of France or Germany. With most of the country's energy imported from potentially unstable neighbors, and consumption rising by more than 4 percent a year, improving efficiency would have strategic, environmental, and economic benefit--and a program to do just that seems to have been a resounding success.Buildings--which consume almost 30 percent of Turkey's total energy use and about 40 percent of its electricity--were an obvious place to start, and the focus of the enverIPAB Project, a European Union-funded effort last year to increase public awareness about energy efficiency. Officials with the Turkish Directorate General of the Electrical Power Resources Survey and Development Administration (EIE) traveled to Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, and Spain to observe energy-efficiency strategies in those countries and then received training and support to help them create effective public-awareness campaigns back in Turkey.

Focus on kids
Advertisements, seminars, and educational booklets were prepared to target a variety of groups, including teachers and housewives, but with a special focus on kids. “The younger the people who gain awareness on energy efficiency, the more effective the outcome," said Burçin Pamuksuz, the Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey's sector manager for energy and telecommunication. Students were deputized with "Energy Detectives" ID cards and badges for doing things like turning off lights in empty rooms, making sure the refrigerator door is closed all the way, and (a bit humorously) switching off the television if their father falls asleep in front of it.

Small steps, but taking enough of them can result in an energy savings of up to 25 percent--and a contribution of 7.5 billion Turkish Liras a year to the country's economy. Via: "Turkey will save 7.5 billion TL a year through energy efficiency," Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey

More on energy efficiency:
Energy Efficiency: How to Go Green: Home Heating
Quantifying Energy Efficiency's Potential In Developed And Developing Countries
34% Drop in US Electric Demand Possible Through Energy Efficiency Improvements: Rocky Mountain Institute
Half of Americans Already Making Energy Efficiency Improvements, Few Get Out of Their Cars: New Survey Finds
New York Times on Energy Efficiency
Green Jobs Now! Campiagn Promotes "Home Energy Makeovers" to Stimulate Green Economy
Beating the Energy Efficiency Paradox (Part I)

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