Published on September 4th, 2009 | by Derek Markham


Turn Kids into Green Entrepreneurs with Moolah Maker

If your kids are old enough to learn about earning and spending money, put them in charge of your home’s energy conservation efforts and they’ll help you go green while learning about saving energy, home finances, and negotiating a deal. A free online tool called Moolah Maker taps the ‘greatest power source on the plant’, kids, while calculating and tracking your home energy conservation efforts.

Image: delgaudmElectric Meter

Electric Meter

Moolah Maker is the name, and saving energy is the game. Simply sign up, negotiate a deal with your kids for the share of savings they will receive via the contract generator, and they can begin entering the home’s energy usage online. When a month has gone by, they enter the next set of electrical usage data and can then generate an invoice for you to pay, based on the amount of energy saved. And it’s a cool invoice: “Pay up, Dude.” Your kids are now green entrepreneurs, doing good and benefiting the planet while making some money.

Moolah Maker is a project of Energy Circle, which offers home energy efficiency information and products. Peter Troast and Lisa Fahay, the folks at Energy Circle, have been Tweeting their home electrical usage as well as posting it online for the world to see since Earth Day 2009 in an effort to motivate others to do the same.

“We did that because we believe measurement of home energy use is the first step toward savings, and that we, as a family, would be motivated by making the data public. With our usage staring us in the face every morning, and with friends commenting on the data, the next logical step was a plan for reduction. Setting it up as a shared savings program, in which two young entrepreneurs (our kids) are very motivated to save energy, was our 14 year old Tucker’s idea.” – Peter Troast, Energy Circle CEO

Kids can be motivated to make a difference in the health of our planet, but without concrete examples of how to start, they aren’t going to really ‘get it’. The Moolah Maker lets them see that what they’ve done matters, and they receive something in return: cash they’ve honestly earned. With a large percentage of the world’s CO2 emissions coming from the buildings we live in, home is the best place to begin conserving energy.

The Troasts started by using a monitoring device called TED (The Energy Detective) for their home, and found that the kids were drawn to it and could immediately see the results of conservation efforts. They decided to share any savings on the electric bill with them, and noticed a 16% decrease in usage immediately.

“It was one of those epiphany moments. The kids are already motivated, because they understand the impact of energy use on the planet. But why not let them share in this financially? The truth is, it’s worked. Our bills went down by 16% once we started monitoring. We’re happy get our invoice every month and to hand over the cash.” – Fahay

Cruise over to Moolah Maker today and negotiate a deal with your kids to share in the family’s energy savings, because the new green entrepreneurs are the ones living in our homes!

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About the Author

lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, slacklining, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves good food, with fresh roasted chiles at the top of his list of favorites. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, RebelMouse, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!

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