It’s back-to-school season – time to make sure you have bookbags, lunch boxes and other supplies needed for a successful return to school.

It’s also worth taking time in advance to check out the space where your kids will be doing their homework.

While we’ve all pressed the kitchen table into double duty from time to time, kids should ideally have a separate place to work that’s well-lit, comfortable and free from distractions.

But “well-lit” doesn’t have to mean “energy hog.” Here are tips to save energy in your kids’ homework spaces, as well as other parts of your house:

  • Switch to light-emitting diode bulbs where possible. LEDs use up to 75 percent less energy and last up to 20 times longer than traditional incandescents. Because they’re so energy-efficient, LEDs can save you up to $135 over the life of the light bulb.
  • When buying new lighting fixtures or bulbs, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. They are the most energy-efficient on the market.
  • Keep light bulbs clean. Dirt can absorb up to 50 percent of the light.

If your child has a computer in his or her homework area, make sure the “sleep” mode is enabled. The computer will switch automatically to a low-energy mode when they are away, cutting energy usage by more than half. And, for extra credit, remind your child to turn off the computer when they’re done using it.

Our Save Energy & Money page features many more tips to help you get an A-plus in Energy Use 101 this year.

This post includes more information on setting up an effective homework spot for kids.