Washington, DC, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- August 17, 2011 - The U.S. Department of Energy and National Science Teachers Association have kicked off America’s Home Energy Education Challenge, a nationwide student contest to help families save money by saving energy at home.

The Challenge will engage students in elementary and middle schools nationwide to help them learn the science of energy and make wise energy choices. The initiative aims to educate America's youth about the benefits of energy efficiency, motivate students to play a more active role in how their families use energy, and help families across the country reduce their energy bills.

Participation in the Challenge will be broken into two parts: the Home Energy Challenge and the Energy Fitness Award. Each is designed to encourage students to learn about science and home energy savings, and participants can chose to get involved in one or both.

In the Home Energy Challenge students and their teachers in the third through eighth grades will undertake an energy use comparison activity in which data from the three month competition period is compared to the previous year's energy use for the same three months. The goal is to teach students ways to reduce home energy use and measure their energy savings. Schools and classes will compete within regions for more than $200,000 in prizes. The first place regional award winners will qualify for the national competition, in which a panel of educators, scientists, and energy experts will evaluate them for national awards.

The Energy Fitness Award is an individual challenge that will begin September 20, 2011. Modeled after the President's Physical Fitness Test, the Energy Fitness Award encourages students to complete specific tasks, such as interpreting a home energy bill and learning how to conduct a home energy assessment, and then demonstrate their learning and proficiency.

Registration for the Challenge is now open and continues through October 7, 2011.