Mililani Waena Kindergardener Wins Energy Detective Honors

Ellie (7) and Autumn Ikemura (5) show off their HECO Energy Detective awards. Photo from Hawaiian Electric Co.

It doesn’t always take age and training to be a successful detective – something kindergartener Autumn Ikemura can attest to. She recently was named the first winner in 2013 for the Hawaiian Electric Company Energy Detective pledge contest.

“Since October 2010, the Energy Detective Guide was created to help families discover ways to manage electricity use at home with help from the younger generation,” said Sharon Higa, senior communications consultant for HECO.

The Energy Guides, which are available through the Education and Consumer Affairs department, at HECO booths and community events, include an Energy Pledge on the back.

Thanks to Autumn’s parents, who picked up a guide at the 2012 Grow Hawaiian Festival, she was able to get some assistance from her father, Kazu, who helped her complete the pledge and mail it in.

The pledge asks that participants promise to help the environment in seven simple steps. These tasks include using CFL bulbs, turning lights off in empty rooms, taking shorter showers and more.

These tasks already are being implemented within Autumn’s family to ensure they are doing what they can to help the environment. Kazu purchased the all-electric vehicle, the Nissan LEAF, and Mom, Perlita, hangs the family’s laundry to dry. Her sister Ellie ensures lights are turned off at night, and Autumn herself cuts back on opening the refrigerator door too often.

As HECO’s first winner of the year, 5-year-old Autumn received an energy conservation kit, which includes a calendar, electricity usage monitor, hot-water gauge and more. In addition to that prize, Autumn and her 7-year-old sister are the first recipients of a legacy tree certificate from HECO.

“Through our donation and partnership with Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods on Hawaii Island, Autumn and Ellie will have a koa seedling planted in their honor,” said Higa.

Autumn and Ellie will be able to check on their tree as it grows using geographic coordinates. The tree also works to provide a native habitat for birds, as it continues to grow and help the environment.

The Energy Detective pledge contest is open to Hawaii residents age 17 and under. Three winners are selected at random throughout the year.

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