On the Energy Front: 
Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day by Becoming More Energy Efficient

By:  Andy Farmer

Andy Farmer, Annandale Energy

As we approach the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, it’s important to know that taking steps to be more conscious of our energy use plays a vital role in helping the Commonwealth protect the environment.

Virginia Energy Sense (VES), the state’s energy education program under the guidance of the State Corporation Commission, has worked to inform Virginians of easy, cost-effective ways to reduce electric energy consumption at home and at work. In light of Earth Day, our program’s recent consumer energy use behavior research found that 64 percent of respondents believe making energy efficient upgrades, whether that’s using LEDs or properly adjusting the thermostat, is the best way to reduce their environmental footprint.

VES also partners with a wide range of organizations, universities, industry groups and non-profits to promote awareness among Virginians about saving energy. Recently, VES interviewed George Mason University’s Offices of Sustainability and Energy Management in a partner spotlight to learn what initiatives and programs it is offering. The school’s expansive work in ensuring its buildings are compliant with energy efficiency standards and supporting innovative ideas from students, faculty and staff through the Patriot Green Fund are incredible and motivating.

We need to build upon the great work that GMU and other schools and organizations are doing, as much still needs to be done. To that end, we’ve compiled several easy energy saving tips you can implement at home:

Take Action this Earth Day with these Energy Saving Tips

Install a programmable thermostat – Our research findings noted that almost four in five Virginians do not own a programmable thermostat and we suggest installing one as we approach warmer weather. You can set the temperature to a higher degree when you leave for work and have the temperature lower again when you’re back in order to easily reduce unnecessary energy usage.

Switch to LEDs – Swap out old incandescent light bulbs with long-lasting LED light bulbs that use up to 80% less energy.

Apply for incentives – Utilities and co-ops offer incentives to help their customers offset the costs of energy efficiency upgrades. Visit our website for detailed, up-to-date lists of residential incentives and commercial incentives offered.

Utilize power strips – One way to easily reduce your energy use is to plug your devices into a power strip. With a flick of the switch, you can turn off all of the devices at once and save energy.

Use your fans  Make sure any fans in your home are moving counter-clockwise to circulate cooler air throughout your home. You’ll also save more by relying less on your thermostat.

Properly insulate your home  Poor insulation can make a warm night feel even hotter. Properly insulating your home, especially your attic and basement, will cut down on home energy use and reduce heat gain as cooler air is kept inside.

Use ENERGY STAR appliances – Make the switch to more energy efficient, ENERGY STAR branded appliances that will help cut down costs in the long-term.

Clear your vents – If your radiator or vents are blocked, that can keep air from circulating throughout rooms in your home. Move furniture and other objects away from vents to keep unnecessary energy waste down.

To learn more about how you can take action this Earth Day to lower your energy consumption, visit:  www.virginiaenergysense.org. Doing so will not only lower your home’s energy bill over time, but also aid Virginia in meeting its goal of reducing electric energy consumption by 10 percent below 2006 levels by 2022.

Spring at the Annandale Shopping Center

Cherry blossoms & lush landscaping fill 
the Annandale Shopping Center on Columbia Pike. 
LED lighting is also used and two new electric car charging
stations have been installed.  Good Corporate Citizens are important
to the overall welfare of the community.   Don’t you wish other
commercial properties would follow suite?


Author:  Andy Farmer is the manager of Virginia Energy Sense, the Commonwealth’s statewide energy education program under the guidance of the State Corporation Commission (Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved.  (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)


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