ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association is sponsoring a national public service advertising campaign designed to encourage children and their parents to take charge of energy usage in their homes.

Launched in Washington, D.C., by the Ad Council, Energy Outreach Colorado, the U.S. Department of Energy and other national and local groups, the three-year campaign will give children and adults tips on how insulation can reduce energy costs.

Officials estimate that during the next 20 years, U.S. natural gas consumption will rise by more than 50 percent and the country's demand for electricity will increase 45 percent.

By practicing simple measures of conservation and using energy more efficiently, families can build strong energy habits, save money by reducing energy bills and help their communities reduce pollution caused by demand for energy, according to the groups.

"With more than 46 million underinsulated American homes and energy costs on the rise, it's critical that we urge kids and their families to take energy-saving measures such as increasing insulation in their homes," said insulation association President Ken Mentzer. "We are proud to be a part of this innovative campaign as it is a natural extension of our commitment to promoting energy efficiency and sustainable development as keys to our long-term energy security."

The campaign, which includes television, radio and Internet ads, primarily targets children between 8 and 13 years old. In the ads, children are portrayed as heroes when they get rid of the "Energy Hog." Viewers are directed to www.energyhog.org, where they can train to become "Energy Hog Busters."

The association will also offer "how-to" information on www.SimplyInsulate.com. On the site, consumers can learn how to check their insulation levels, get tips on installing insulation and find out if they are eligible for rebates and tax incentives for installing additional insulation.