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Smart Cooling Rewards

Posted on September 29, 2011 by | Comments Off

Yesterday morning one of my coworkers shared a post card with me that was advertising the Dominion Smart Cooling Rewards Program. As I read through the site, I thought “this is doubly green!” If you let Dominion cycle on and off your air-conditioner or heat pump during periods of high demand, you’ll get $40 at the end of the summer!

Here’s how it works. Dominion will install an A/C Cycling or “smart” switch on your outdoor air-conditioning unit or heat pump system.  Since the work is performed on your outdoor unit, you don’t even need to be home during installation.  Dominion provides the equipment and the installation is free. During periods of high demand Dominion will cycle your air conditioner or heat pump compressor on and off for short periods to save energy. The fan will keep on circulating already cooled air.  This occurs during the summer season between June and September. Typically cycling will occur for about four hours per event, between 2 PM and 6 PM, and will not occur on weekends or holidays.

This conservation approach is an answer to peak electric demand, which is the amount of electricity needed at any given time. The level of electric demand fluctuates constantly depending on many factors, like weather conditions and time of the day. When the level of electric demand is at its highest, it is called peak electric demand. I’m sure you can think of a time this summer when you got home from work, kicked the a/c up a few notches, started a load of laundry, switched on the TV, and began cooking dinner. All those activities require electricity, and since most everyone else in your community was doing something similar in their home, the demand was very high.

Wondering what else you can do to save energy?

  1. Raise your thermostat to 78º. This is the number one way to conserve energy.
  2. When you are away from home for more than eight hours, raise the thermostat setting and you can expect to see a 1% savings for each degree of setback. This will reduce the amount of energy used to cool your home while you’re away. You can learn more about your thermostat online by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.
  3. Keep shades closed when the air conditioner is on. Sunny windows account for 40 percent of unwanted heat and can make your air conditioner work two to three times harder.
  4. Check and clean filters. Cleaning and replacing air conditioning filters monthly allows the system to run more efficiently.
  5. Install ceiling fans. Don’t underestimate the importance of ceiling fans. Moving air over the body provides a cooling effect. The use of ceiling fans can mean savings of around 25% on cooling costs and can make the temperature seem 10 degrees cooler.
  6. Make sure ceiling fans are blowing down. Most fans have a switch to change the fan direction. Make sure ceiling fans are blowing downward (in a counter-clockwise direction) to send air past your body.
  7. Run appliances with large energy use late in the evening. Use the dishwasher and clothes washer late in the evening. When used during the day, these appliances produce additional heat, causing your air conditioner to work harder.
  8. Use cold water to wash dishes and clothes. This will save on water heating costs.
  9. Unplug equipment not in use. Electric chargers, televisions and audio/video equipment use electricity and produce heat even when they are not in use. Running an older refrigerator can use up to three times the energy of a modern one. Unplug any appliance when it’s not in use.
  10. Turn off lights. Turn lights off when exiting a room. Consider replacing incandescent bulbs with energy efficient compact florescent lights (CFLs). And remember to recycle CFLs whenever possible.

Posted in: Household tips

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E-cycle is the new Recycle!

Posted on September 28, 2011 by | Comments Off

Green up while you clean up!  Recycle your unwanted personal electronic equipment and keep recyclable materials out of landfills. Learn more about going “green” at the event. AskHRgreen also has great information on e-cycling HERE.

 

October 1, 2011
10 a.m.– 2 p.m.
Virginia Aquarium
717 General Booth Blvd
Virginia Beach East Parking Lot

What can be recycled at the e-cycling event?

  • Personal computers and laptops
  • Printers
  • Monitors and flat screens
  • Telephones, cell phones, and  PDAs
  • Fax Machines
  • Televisions smaller than 32”
  • Circuit boards and components
  • Stereo equipment and game systems

For more information, visit www.virginiaaquarium.com or call (757) 385-0262.

This event is sponsored by TFC Recycling.

 

Posted in: Community events

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National Estuaries Day

Posted on September 23, 2011 by | Comments Off

Saturday, September 24th is National Estuaries Day. What’s an estuary, you ask? Simply put, it’s where freshwater, from rivers or streams, meets the saltwater from the ocean. Estuaries are an important part of our lives here in Hampton Roads. In addition to their beauty, they provide this region with a number of benefits. They’re important to our economy, a source of food, they provide a diverse habitat for countless living things, and provide the residents and visitors of Hampton Roads with wonderful recreational opportunities. Just think…all of this right in our own backyard!

So, how does one celebrate National Estuaries Day? Well, you can start by learning more about estuaries and why we should protect them at http://www.estuaries.gov. This website is a wonderful resource that may inspire you to join a group that is working to help protect our estuaries or maybe even organize your own event and inspire others to join you!

Posted in: Waterways

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EPA Launches Green Product Guide

Posted on September 22, 2011 by | Comments Off

This week (September 19-25) is Pollution Prevention Week. To celebrate, EPA launched a brand new green product web portal: www.epa.gov/greenerproducts. Now, consumers like you and me have easy access to information about appliances, electronics, cleaning products, and other round-the-house items.

With the new online guide, you can quickly find information about Energy Star and WaterSense labeled products – which will help you save energy and water at home. You can also learn about green cleaning products that are safe for the environment and won’t harm your health. The website even features green product buying and design information for manufacturers, retailers, and small businesses.

Check out this helpful new website for information that’s not only good for the environment, but good for you! Then, take a moment this week to think about what you can do to help prevent pollution in your community.

Posted in: Going Green, Household tips, Reduce reuse and recycle

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Building a Better Outdoors – Today, Tomorrow…Every Day

Posted on September 21, 2011 by | Comments Off

Take part in Stewardship Virginia, a statewide initiative held twice annually to help citizens with projects that enhance and conserve Virginia’s natural and cultural resources. Its focus is on projects that:

  • enhance water quality
  • control invasive species
  • improve recreational resources
  • preserve historic and cultural resources
  • conserve natural heritage resources
  • educate people about recreational, historical, cultural, wildlife, forest, and water resources
  • improve wildlife habitat and tree cover

Interested? Then get involved!

Get the word out about Stewardship Virginia by mentioning it in your newsletter, posting flyers on bulletin boards or promoting it with paychecks or organizational mailings. Businesses can grant employees time off to help with an event. Businesses can also contribute directly to the campaign to help defray the costs of promotional material.

Stewardship Virginia… as simple as 1, 2, 3

  1. Plan and conduct a volunteer project or event or join an existing one. Our resource guide makes it easy to get great ideas about projects and where to go to get started. Come up with your own unique projects, or call to speak with the project coordinator for ideas and guidance.
  2. Complete a registration form and send it in. Your event will be added to our website, ensuring greater exposure.
  3. Give volunteers a big “thank you” by handing out certificates signed by the governor. These will be sent to you after receiving your registration.

For more information on how to participate in or contribute to Stewardship Virginia, call 1-877-42-WATER. In Richmond call (804) 786-5056, fax (804) 371-0315 or email:bonnie.phillips@dcr.virginia.gov.

Mailing Address:
Bonnie Phillips, DCR
203 Governor Street, 4th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

Posted in: Beautification, Community events, Going Green

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