08/16/2012 05:28 pm ET Updated Oct 16, 2012

What Do Your Kids Really Know About Saving Energy?

Parents may ask kids to turn off the lights. They may talk themselves blue in the face in the hopes that their children make the connection between the light switch and climate change. But do they really?

Here's your chance to find out. Team Energy Star, the Environmental Protection Agency's program to teach kids about energy efficiency, is holding an essay contest for kids. Why? First and foremost, to recognize youths for the wonderful ways they're using energy more efficiently. But just as importantly, EPA wants to inspire other kids to use energy more efficiently, too.

How It Works: Kids who submit an essay to the Share Your Story page and then click on the DoSomething Team Energy Star Challenge immediately become eligible for a number of prizes, including:

• The new Lorax DVD, which will go to the first 100 kids to submit essays.

• Energy-Star-qualified smart phones, computer monitors, televisions, or mouse scanners,
provided courtesy of LG Electronics to the top 25 essay winners.

• A complete set of the LG electronics prizes to the top five essay winners.

• The top 25 essay winners will also be featured in New York's Times Square on the LG

• Plus, some of the winners may have a chance to participate in Energy Star day in October
with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

The "essay" can be a written story; a photo essay; a video; a slide show; a drawing; or any other way kids want to show what they have learned about energy efficiency, just so long as it can be uploaded to the Energy Star story page here.

Essays will be judged based on the following:

• Creativity/Ingenuity: EPA is encouraging kids to use Team Energy Star resources to
develop a home energy-saving idea that both worked for their family and saved energy?
Kids are asked to explain the energy-saving approach they took, how it relates to Energy
Star, and how it fits with the family's routines.

• Energy Savings: EPA also wants to know how effective the idea was in engaging the family
to save energy. How much energy was saved? How was the idea implemented. What
worked, what didn't, and why? EPA is particularly curious to know what kids learned from
the process and how they plan to keep saving energy?

Kids can submit stories any time between now and September 17.