With Earth Day only a few days away, the EPA is kicking off the 2009 “Change the World, Start with Energy Star” campaign to educate kids and their families about how to save money and fight climate change through energy efficiency.

As part of the campaign, people take the Energy Star pledge to take steps to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The pledge includes switching to more efficient lighting, choosing Energy Star when purchasing new products, sealing and insulating homes, and using power management features on home computers and monitors.

These steps can add up to big reductions in greenhouse gas emissions because households and buildings – both commercial and industrial – account for more than half of the nation’s emissions of carbon dioxide due to the use of fossil-based electricity and other energy, according to EPA

If every American household took part in the Energy Star pledge, the U.S. would save more than $18 billion in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 18 million cars, according to EPA.

This year, EPA is partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Parent-Teacher Organizations Today to work with America’s youth in the fight against climate change. Boys & Girls Clubs of America will engage its young members in service projects to educate youth and their communities about the benefits of energy efficiency.

PTO Today will feature “Go Green Nights” for the nation’s parent-teacher organizations to engage youth and families in learning about energy efficiency and changes they can make in their homes and schools that will save energy and protect the environment.

To date, more than two million Americans have taken the Energy Star pledge, making real commitments to energy efficiency and the environment. More than 685 local and national organizations like the National Association of Counties, TIAA-CREF, ComEd, Georgia Power, and New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program are leading efforts to encourage their communities to take the pledge and do their part to protect the environment.