We exist to provide, promote, and advocate energy conservation.


The West Virginia Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity’s Weatherization Assistance Program, along with the West Virginia Community Action Partnership is planning a one-day Energy Expo, Wednesday, May 26, 2004. The Energy Expo will be held at Tamarack’s Conference Center in Beckley, WV and will be free and open to the public. The Energy Expo will be an excellent opportunity for the public to learn more about energy and to see the energy technologies that will affect their lives in the future. The Energy Expo is an event that will include exhibits, workshops, and demonstrations throughout the day. The Energy Expo is being planned in conjunction with the three day, annual statewide Community Action Partnership and Weatherization Conference.

Exhibits will include wind, solar, and biomass energy, green building, Energy Star appliances, energy efficient heating and cooling systems, indoor air quality, chimney safety, home energy tips, insulation techniques, diagnostic testing, blower door and duct testing demonstrations, hybrid cars, and much more.

AECP members Anthony Cox and Chris Heslep, with Community Housing Partners, will be conducting workshops on the House of Pressure and Dry Spray Insulation Technique, respectively at the Energy Expo. On the preceding day, Tuesday, May 25, at the Weatherization Conference, AECP member Beth Cahall with the Department of Energy will present information on the national Weatherization Program and Billy Weitzenfeld, AECP Executive Director, will also give a presentation on the Weatherization Program.

The Expo has been organized, with help from staff members, by another AECP member, Lisa Kesecker who is with the West Virginia Office of Economic Opportunity.


John BodtmannAECP member John Bodtmann, recently resigned his position as Weatherization Field Monitor with the Department of Housing and Community Development. John worked in this position 4-5 years and previous to this he was the Weatherization Coordinator for Central Virginia Area Agency on Aging, a position he started in 1992. John also served in many official capacities with AECP. He was chair of the Training Committee, AECP Vice-President, a member of the AECP Board of Directors, and even served as President of AECP for a short time.

John was an extremely effective field monitor for the weatherization program. His technical expertise, ability to work with people, thoroughness, training experience and consistent fairness helped programs and the network as a whole to make significant improvements in weatherization services. He will be greatly missed and very difficult to replace. John and his wife, Nancy has relocated to Florida where John hopes to pursue work in a weatherization related field.


General Motors has developed a Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid Pickup truck that will combine a gas and electric motor and offer 12% improvement in fuel economy. The Silverado will also feature reduced emissions. There will be no reduction in load carrying, towing, and grade climbing capability. The Silverado will feature a powerful 5300 Vortec V-8 and Hydra-Matic 4L60-E four-speed automatic transmission. This truck will be displayed at the West Virginia Energy Expo on May 26, 2004 at the Tamarack Conference Center.


Virginia Tech architecture students have produced eight separate designs for AECP’s proposed Sustainable Living Education Center (SLEC). SLEC is a project that will use a green and energy efficient building as a teaching tool and demonstration facility where the general public can learn about sustainable living practices by interacting with actual systems at work.

The designs that Virginia Tech has produced will put a face on the project and be the first step in our pursuit of funding for the project. AECP will review the designs in early June and make a decision on the one that will best represent our ideas for SLEC.


With hot weather approaching it is a good idea to check the insulation levels in your home. Insulation helps keep homes warm in the winter but also cool in the summer. A well insulated thermal envelope will help to keep your cooling bills low in the warm weather. Check out http://www.ornl.gov/roofs+walls/insulation/ins_01.html for a great insulation fact sheet.


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Stimulus Plan) directs almost a third of the spending part of the plan towards energy efficiency. Listed below is a summary with dollar amounts of energy efficiency initiatives targeted in the Plan:

  • State Energy Programs - $3.1 billion for grants and funding to state energy offices.
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant programs - $3.2 billion to assist local governments in implementing energy efficiency and conservation programs.
  • Loan Guarantees - $6 billion for the Innovative Technology and Loan Guarantee Program.
  • Research and Development - $400 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.
  • Green Jobs - $540 million for research, labor exchange, Job Corps Centers, and training for careers in energy efficiency.
  • Green Schools - $9 billion for modernization, renovation, and repair of public school facilities that follow green building guidelines.
  • Federal Buildings - $8.5 billion to make federal buildings greener and more energy efficient.
  • Weatherization Assistance Program - $5 billion for the weatherization of low-income family homes.
  • Assisted Housing - $6 billion to increase energy efficiency in Section 8 housing, to support the Public Housing Capitol Fund, for the HOME Investment Partnerships program, and for Native American housing block grants.
  • Electricity Grid - $11 billion to modernize our national electricity grid.
  • Energy Efficient Appliance Rebates - $300 million for the Energy Star program.
  • Public Transportation and Rail - $17 billion for high speed rail and public transit.
  • Advanced Batteries - $2 billion for grants to help U.S. companies in the manufacturing of advanced vehicle battery systems.
  • Plug-In Electric Vehicles - $400 million for the Plug-In Electric vehicle Program.
  • Alternative Transportation - $600 million to assist local governments acquire alternative fuel vehicles and reduce diesel emissions.
  • Federal Fleet - $300 million to replace federal fleet with more efficient vehicles.
  • Existing Homes Tax Credit – Extends and increases the value of the credit to 30% of cost up to $1500 for 2009 and 2010 for property meeting certain energy efficiency standards.
  • Investment Tax Credit – Removes the $2,000 cap on the 30% credit for solar thermal and geothermal property, as well as the $4,000 cap on small wind property.
  • Energy Conservation Bonds – Increases and expands the bond limitation on energy conservation bonds by $2.4 billion.
  • Advanced Energy Investment Credit – Establishes a new 30% investment tax credit for the manufacture of advanced energy property to include production of renewable energy, energy storage, energy conservation, carbon capture, and efficient technology transmission.


http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_tax_credits   Energy efficiency tax credits

http://www.dsireusa.org/   Database of State incentives for renewables and efficiency

http://ase.org/content/article/detail/5388   A summary of   energy efficiency in the Stimulus Plan

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h1enr.pdf   Full text of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Stimulus Plan)


  • Toler Insulating Company
  • Architectural Alternatives
  • Virginia Foam Insulators
  • Gregory Enterprises, LLC DBA National Property Inspections
  • Window Max, Inc.
  • E-Power Wheels of Roanoke
  • Solar Connexion
  • Cundiff Heating and Air Conditioning
  • The Lodge at Lick Creek Lane

Check out the AECP website at www.aecp.org to learn more about all of our AECP members.


The 10 th annual Green Living and Energy Expo has been scheduled for November 6 and 7, 2009 at the Roanoke Civic Center. The past event was a major success with 90 exhibits and over 2500 people attending.


Appalachian Power (APCO), a subsidiary of American Electric Power, on July 1 asked the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) for permission to offer its Virginia customers voluntary pricing options to use and support renewable energy. Under the program, customers may choose to support the use of renewable energy through the purchase of fixed blocks of 100 kilowatt hours (KWH) each month or to source their entire monthly usage through the purchase of an amount equivalent to their monthly energy (KWH) consumption.

Customers selecting a specific number of blocks will pay an additional $1.50 over their usual power costs for each 100KWH block of renewable energy they choose to support. For customers purchasing an amount equivalent to their monthly consumption, the additional cost is 1.5 cents per KWH. The company will include this cost as a separate line item on each participating customer’s monthly bill. For example, a residential customer using 1000 KWH of energy in a month and selecting the first option and four 100 KWH blocks will pay an additional $6.00. Under the second option, the same customer selecting a full equivalent usage amount would pay an additional $15.00 per month.

The program will initially use energy and renewable energy credits (REC) associated with the Summersville (W.VA) Hydro Plant, a certified Low Impact facility from which the company currently purchases power. This plan is part of APCO’s efforts to meet the goals of Virginia’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.


Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has approved an energy bill that requires most new single-family homes to include solar water heaters. Senate Bill 644, approved on June 26, prohibits the issuing of building permits for new homes without solar water heaters as of 2010. The bill excludes homes located in areas with poor solar energy resources, homes using other renewable energy sources, and homes employing on-demand gas-fired water heaters.


According to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Information Administration (EIA) “Short Term Outlook”, the average price of regular gasoline is expected to remain greater then $4 per gallon until the fourth quarter of 2009. Diesel fuel prices will also stay elevated, averaging $4.35 per gallon in 2008 and $4.48 per gallon in 2009. This winter the focus will change to electricity and heating fuels. Prices for natural gas are expected to increase by as much as 65% over 2007 prices and electricity prices are expected to increase 5.2% in 2008 and 9.8% in 2009.


Toyota Motor of Japan said last week that it would build its gas-electric hybrid sedan, the Prius, in the United States for the first time as it tries to meet surging demand and struggles with falling sales of big trucks. Starting in 2010, Toyota plans to make the Prius at a new factory in Blue Springs, Mississippi that was originally intended to build Sport Utility Vehicles.


The AECP Global warming seminar was held on May 31, 2008 at the Jacksonville Center in Floyd, VA. Over 40 people attended the six- hour event. They were treated to eight presentations on a wide variety of topics related to global warming. Speakers included John Richardson from the Gereau Center, Dr. David Roper, a retired VA Tech Physics professor, Dr. Rene Godard, a Biology professor from Hollins University, Dr. Sean McGinnis, Chair of the VA Tech Green Engineering Dept., Ken Cronin, Director of General Services with the City of Roanoke, Mark McClain, Chair of the Roanoke Sierra Club, Dr. Diana Christopoulos, Chair of the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition, and Billy Weitzenfeld, Executive Director of AECP.


AECP Executive Director, Billy Weitzenfeld was invited to speak at the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies Summer Conference in Canton, Ohio on June 26, 2008. The topic of his presentation was “Integrating Green Techniques into the Weatherization Program”. Billy emphasized that Weatherization is already a “green” program but that there was room for improvement. Particularly in the areas of better utilization of more environmentally products and recycling construction and job waste.


With the high price of gasoline think about giving your car the day off. If possible use mass transit, carpooling, bicycling, and telecommuting. When you do drive keep the car tuned up and the tires properly inflated to save on fuel costs.


The Association of Energy Conservation Professionals (AECP) will sponsor a seminar on global warming on May 31 at the Jacksonville Center in Floyd, VA. The seminar will run from 10 – 4 with a tour of AECP’s Sustainable Living Education Center to follow after the event. Global warming and the impact of energy use on our natural environment and climate is the most important issue facing all of mankind in this century. The first step to be taken in confronting the threat of climate change is to first understand those human activities that are causing the earth to warm, what is the potential impact, and how can we move towards an active role in slowing and minimizing the negative impact of global warming.

The seminar will be open to the general public and provide a forum for several speakers to present on a wide range of topics related to global warming. The speakers include the following individuals:

  1. John Richardson – Environmental Science educator with the Gereau Center.
  2. David Roper – retired Physics Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech
  3. Renee Godard – Biology Professor, Hollins University
  4. Ken Cronin – Director of General Services, City of Roanoke
  5. Diana Christopulos – Coordinator Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition
  6. Mark McClain – Chair of the Roanoke Sierra Club
  7. Sean McGinnis – Chair of the Virginia Tech Green Engineering Department
  8. Billy Weitzenfeld – Executive Director, AECP

The theme of the seminar is to better understand what global warming is, the problems it poses, and what can we do about it. AECP has a long history of educating the general public about the threat of global warming and also helping people to understand that practicing energy conservation and efficiency in the home is the first step we can all take to help combat this problem.


  • Turn down your thermostat by two degrees   in winter and up two degrees in summer – SAVE 2000 lbs. of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year (the leading contributor to global warming)
  • Replace 10 60-watt incandescent light bulbs with 10 13-watt compact fluorescent bulbs – SAVE 1500 lbs of CO2 per year
  • Replace old refrigerator with a new Energy Star model – SAVE 1700 lbs of CO2
  • Avoid driving 25 miles a week by walking, biking, carpooling, or taking mass transit – SAVE 1500 lbs of CO2
  • Add insulation to your home – SAVE 2000 lbs of CO2 per year
  • Plant a tree – SAVE 2000 lbs of CO2 per year
  • Unplug unused electronics – SAVE 1000 lbs of CO2 per year
  • Take a shorter shower – SAVE 350 lbs of CO2 per year
  • Change furnace and air conditioner filters when needed – SAVE 500 lbs of CO2


  • April 15 – AECP BOD meeting, Floyd, VA
  • April 22 – Earth Day
  • May 31 – AECP Global Warming seminar
  • June 9 – AECP annual membership meeting, Virginia Beach, VA
  • June 10 – AECP Lead Safe training, Virginia Beach, VA
  • November 7, 8 – AECP’s ninth annual Green Living and Energy Expo


Arizona Public Service Company (APS ) is planning to draw power from a 280-megawatt concentrating solar power plant. The plant will be among the largest in the world and is being built by Abengoa Solar. The power produced will power over 70,000 homes in Arizona. The facility will use miles of parabolic trough-shaped mirrors to capture the sun’s heat and focus it upon a length of “absorber” tubing. A fluid passed through the tubing collects the sun’s heat, and the hot fluid is used to boil water to steam, which then spins a turbine to produce electricity.



Celebrate Earth Day on April 22. Go to the earth Day Network at: http://ww2.earthday.net/~earthday/ and find out ways you can plug into this event.  


AECP members John and Joanne Langford, co-owners of J&J Weatherization, received a National Recognition award on December 12, 2007 from the Department of Energy at the National Weatherization Conference held in Orlando, Florida. John and Joanne have been weatherizing homes since 1980. J&J Weatherization – www.jjweatherization.com - is also a full service insulation contractor, energy audit specialist, and expert in home rehab and remodeling. They developed and operate a Mobile Home Weatherization training center at their offices in Lynchburg, VA. John Langford is a nationally recognized trainer and has been instrumental in providing training to several southeastern state weatherization programs. John and Joanne are charter members of AECP and Joanne currently serves as treasurer of the organization. Congratulations to John and Joanne Langford for their many years of hard work and dedication to making homes safer, healthier, more affordable, and more energy efficient.

Several other AECP members participated in the National Weatherization Conference as presenters or session leaders or both. These include John Bodtmann, Melissa Commins, Chris Heslep, Anthony Cox, Colin Arnold, John and Joanne Langford, Lisa Kesecker, Bob Adams and Billy Weitzenfeld.


On December 19, 2007, President Bush signed a new Energy Bill that emphasized energy efficiency. Highlights of the bill include the following:

  • The legislation calls for a 40% increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (CAFÉ) by the year 2020. Cars and light trucks will be required to average 35 MPG and new standards for fuel economy for heavy trucks has also been set. It is estimated that when these standards go into effect we will save 1.1 million barrels of oil daily, billions of $$ in savings on gasoline and an annual reduction of 192 million metric tons of greenhouse gas.
  • The new law contains many provisions setting new minimum efficiency standards for several appliances and equipment. Products for which standards are set include: dishwashers, dehumidifiers, clothes washers, residential refrigerators, residential boilers, electric motors, external power supplies, walk-in coolers and freezers, and many types of incandescent and halide lamp fixtures.
  • There will be new standards for light bulbs, requiring that all bulbs use 25-30 percent less energy by 2014 and 60-70 percent less energy by 2020.
  • Also included are new energy efficiency standards for federal buildings, new green building standards for new buildings, and a new initiative requiring the federal government to purchase more green and energy efficient products and to use alternative fuels with low carbon emissions.

There are several other provisions and the full legislation can be viewed at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h6


Since April 2007 AECP has worked with Central Virginia Community College (CVCC) to provide a series of trainings specific to heating and cooling systems and applications. The trainings are held at CVCC’s HVAC training facility and are open to all AECP members. To date we have had three trainings on heat pumps, single trainings on EPA certification for refrigerant handling, circuits and controls, oil furnaces, gas furnaces, electric furnaces and a two-day training in March on Manual J and Manual D. The trainings emphasize heating and cooling safety, efficiency, diagnostics and repair, installations, and code requirements. Mike Alderman, HVAC Associate Professor, has been the instructor for all of the trainings.


In late 2007 Senator Lieberman (I-CT) and Senator Warner (R-VA) introduced the Climate Security Act, which would require the gradual reduction of global warming pollution from transportation, industry, and power plants. The bill would also create funding for clean energy technology and for low-income communities who will be impacted by rising energy costs. Please go to the Natural Resources Defense Council website: http://www.nrdconline.org/campaign/nrdcaction_121707

And follow the instructions to contact your Senators to request their support for this important bill.


Replace five incandescent light bulbs with five compact fluorescent bulbs. If every home in the U.S. did this we would prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those produced by 10 million cars.


AECP’s 8 th annual Green Living and Energy Expo held on November 2 and 3, 2007 at the Roanoke Civic Center was a major success. There were 70 exhibits and over 2000 people attended the event. These figures well exceeded those of last year when we had 50 exhibits and about 1200 people attending.

Highlights of this years Expo included:

  • Moving into the new Special Events Center, which is the new exhibit hall at the Roanoke Civic Center.
  • Significant increases in the variety and number of exhibits and people attending.
  • A presentation by Roanoke City Councilwoman, Gwen Mason, who opened the event on Friday morning.
  • Hosting two full days of presentations that ranged in topic from global warming to residential solar to hybrid technology to on-demand water heaters.
  • Workshops with Anthony Cox and the “House of Pressure”.
  • A “Green Tour” of green buildings in Roanoke – hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council SW VA Chapter.
  • A Bio-fuels Seminar hosted by the Virginia Clean Cities organization.
  • A visit from the Dept. of Energy’s Energy Hog.
  • Activities and crafts for children of all ages hosted by the Virginia Skyline Council Girl Scouts of America.
  • Extensive media coverage by all the major media outlets in the area – newspaper, radio, and TV.

Special thanks to all the AECP members who helped plan and host the event. Thanks to Floyd RSVP volunteers who helped in a variety of ways and to the brave souls who volunteered to wear the Energy Hog costume.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations sponsored group comprised of 2,500 scientists from all over the world, declared in its fourth and final report on the science of climate change and the impact of human produced greenhouse gases, that the problem is “severe and so sweeping that only urgent global action” can head it off. This report produced by the Nobel prize-winning panel warns of the devastating impact for developing countries and the threat of species extinction posed by the climate crisis.

The report warns that in spite of protocols adopted by many Western countries after Kyoto, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise by between 25 and 90 per cent by 2030. The report also predicts a rise in global warming of around 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade. The IPCC says up to an 85% cut in carbon dioxide emissions is needed to head off potential catastrophic changes that could lead to more floods and famine. The panel recommends mandatory caps on carbon emissions that should begin immediately. Opponents of the caps – including the United States – fear caps are barriers to economic growth and favor voluntary caps instead. Even though there continues to be disagreement over how cuts in greenhouse gas should be managed – the U.N. Panel remains optimistic that there are real and affordable ways to deal with climate change.


As the threat of global warming looms large we all must consider the most effective strategies that exist to combat this potentially devastating phenomenon. Saving energy in our homes and being less wasteful with our resources is the immediate opportunity that all of us have to make a difference and this does not require enlightened leadership from our government but rather simple behavioral change and personal accountability.

There is something immediately effective and powerful that the U.S. Congress could do and that is to double the current fuel efficiency standards for all vehicles. Two-thirds of petroleum consumed in the U.S. is used in transportation and 14% of all greenhouse gas is produced by the combustion of fossil fuels in vehicles. Doubling our current fuel standards would improve national security by decreasing our reliance on imported oil, improve our economy through reduced production and transportation costs, significantly reduce carbon emissions and consequently improve the quality of our air and water and also slow the impact of global warming. No single government action would have a greater immediate impact. Allowing the free market to determine our energy policy is absurd and effective mandatory legislation is needed immediately.


When you drive your car save fuel by:

  • Minimize idling and avoid quick acceleration
  • Observe the speed limit and use cruise control
  • Keep your car tuned-up and maintain proper tire pressure
  • Change your oil regularly


A 10-year Virginia Energy Plan is almost ready to be signed by Governor Tim Kaine. The VA Energy Plan charts a path forward that will provide for reliable supplies of energy at reasonable rates and increase the use of conservation and efficiency in Virginia. The Plan has been developed in accordance with 2006 legislation (Title 67 of the Code of Virginia) that set out energy policy statements and objectives and directed the Dept. of Mines, Minerals, and Energy to develop a 10-year state energy plan. The Plan is to be updated every five years.

This Plan was developed using information gathered from the Virginia Energy Plan Advisory Group, which met five times to address the major components of this Plan. AECP Executive Director, Billy Weitzenfeld, was a member of the Advisory Group. The Plan is also the product of input received at five public workshops held around the state, from public comments submitted via the internet, and input from the Dept, of Environmental Quality and other state agencies.   Research and development recommendations are derived from a study by the Center for Innovative Technology.

The following energy policy statements guided the development of the Plan:

  • Ensure the availability of reliable energy at costs, which are reasonable and advance the health, safety, and welfare of Virginia citizens.
  • Establish sufficient energy supply and delivery infrastructure.
  • Use energy resources efficiently and facilitate conservation.
  • Facilitate development of both low-cost energy resources located within and outside the Commonwealth, including development of clean coal resources.
  • Facilitate development of energy sources which are less polluting to the air and water, and electric generating technologies that do not contribute to greenhouse gases and global warming.
  • Ensure the economic viability of Virginia’s producers of low-cost energy resources.
  • Foster research and development of alternative sources, which are competitive at market prices.
  • Develop energy resources and facilities that do not impose a disproportionate adverse impact on economically disadvantaged or minority communities.
  • Increase Virginia’s reliance on agricultural-based ethanol and biodiesel from crops grown in Virginia.
  • Ensure that energy generation and delivery systems are located in places that minimize impacts to pristine natural areas and other significant onshore natural resources, and which are as near as possible to compatible development.


The State Corporation Commission (SCC) will deliver a report to the VA general Assembly on Dec. 15, 2007 on how electricity consumption in Virginia can be reduced by 10% by the year 2022. A statewide working group has been formed to provide recommendations to SCC staff. Five subgroups have been formed with specific topics of discussion to help facilitate this effort and AECP Executive Director, Billy Weitzenfeld is currently serving as Co-Chair of the Consumer Education subgroup.


North Carolina Governor Mike Easley signed a bill last week that sets a minimum requirement for the use of renewable energy by the state’s electric utilities. The bill requires the investor-owned utilities to draw on renewable energy for 3% of their electric supply starting 2012, with the requirement increasing every three years until it reaches 12.5% of the electricity supply in 2021. Utilities can also meet up to 25% of their renewable energy requirement through energy savings due to energy efficiency measures, and starting in 2021 they can meet up to 40% of the requirement through energy efficiency measures.


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced recently that it has finalized its revisions to the EnergyGuide label, which helps consumers compare the energy performance of many appliances. The new EnergyGuide label will still be a familiar yellow color but will feature a streamlined look that prominently displays the estimated annual operating cost for most appliances. The new label will provide energy use data in terms of cost – rather than kilowatt- hours of electricity or British thermal units of natural gas. This provides a clearer context for consumers to compare different models. It also allows for a more informed decision when consumers trade off the up-front cost of an appliance with its annual operating cost.


When purchasing a new computer or monitor buy a flat-panel monitor. They use only 1/3 of the power of conventional monitors.


Whether you use a central air conditioning unit /heat pump or a window unit you can save money by purchasing the most energy efficient model and by properly maintaining your systems. It is very important when purchasing a new system to pay attention to the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) on heat pump units and the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) on window or room units.   The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recommends a SEER of 15 for people who live in states with a high cooling load and an EER of 12.5. Folks who live in areas with short, milder summers a heat pump unit with a SEER of 13 and an EER of 11 for window units will probably be sufficient. It is also important to purchase systems with the Energy Star certification as well. Energy Star certification means that the units exceed federal energy efficiency standards by at least 15%. There are also federal tax credits available for purchasing a new high-efficiency air conditioner and for making home improvements that reduce the energy it takes to keep cool.

Buying new equipment is only part of the picture: in some cases, home improvements can save even more. Under the 2006-2007- tax credit, the federal government will cover 10% (up to $500) of the cost for efficiency upgrades to insulation, ductwork, or windows. For detailed information, visit the Tax Incentives Assistance Project Web site at www.energytaxincentives.org/consumers/ or go directly to ACEEE’s summary table at www.aceee.org/press/tax_incentive05.pdf.


Solar panels or Photovoltaic Systems (PV) are traditionally only 15 to 25% efficient. This is due to the fact that not all of the radiant energy from the sun that is captured by the solar cell can be converted to electricity. Much of the radiant energy is immediately converted to heat and the opportunity for electrical conversion is then immediately lost. Other aspects of the photovoltaic process such as electrical resistance loss and optical loss prevent total use of the available solar energy. But things are changing and there is great excitement within the industry due to several new advances in technology. The Boeing-Spectrolab has achieved a sunlight to electricity conversion ratio of 40% based on the development of a multi-junction solar cell. The National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) is looking at nanocrystals called quantum dots that they think could reach high efficiencies of 50%. A group called RSL Energy is working with indium and gallium to produce a new semiconductor material that could allow solar cells to reach an efficiency level of 48%. And researchers in Germany are using gold particles on silicon to improve efficiencies by 15 to 20%.

All of this new research and technology advancement means that developing cells with greater efficiencies offers the best hope for a big reduction in the cost of PV systems. The cost prohibitive aspect of Solar panels and PV systems in general has greatly impacted more residential applications. And if solar is ever to be competitive with other sources of electricity the cost must be reduced considerably.


The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has formed a working group to study ways to reduce electricity consumption in Virginia.   The first meeting will be July 19 in Richmond, VA. AECP Executive Director, Billy Weitzenfeld is a member of this group and will push for well-designed consumer education programs that are annually funded through a public benefit fund. Virginia currently has no public benefit fund mechanism and no demand-side management programs or energy conservation/consumer education programs.


Compact Fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) do contain a small amount of mercury. It is the vapor from the mercury that provides light when hit with an electric charge.   Mercury is a heavy toxin and classified as a hazardous waste. On average each CFL contains about 5 milligrams of mercury – about the amount that would cover the tip of a ballpoint pen. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury. It would take 100 CFLs to equal that amount. CFLs must be disposed of properly. Most landfills will now accept these and they are always taken at hazardous waste collection sites.   Mercury is an element found naturally in the environment and particularly in coal. Coal fired power generation accounts for 40% of mercury emissions in the U.S. Using CFLs in your home will save energy and reduce the emission from coal-fired power plants. Please check out www.epa.gov/mercury for more info on mercury and check out www.earth911.org for CFL disposal info in your area.


On April 9, 2007 Governor Tim Kaine issued Executive Order 48, setting a goal for executive branch agencies and institutions to reduce the annual cost of non-renewable energy purchases by at least 20 percent by fiscal year 2010.

“Reducing our energy consumption and costs and protecting our natural resources is a priority for my administration,” Governor Kaine said. “Last year, Virginia State government spent over $290 million in energy costs to operate our facilities and travel on state business. To reduce the environmental consequences of that level of energy consumption and save taxpayer dollars, I am directing state government to use proven and innovative conservation technologies and energy procurement processes.”

The Executive Order directs state organizations to construct new and renovate existing state facilities consistent with U.S. Green Building Council or U.S. Energy Star ratings; to lease office space that is convenient to public transportation, energy efficient and pedestrian and bicycle accessible; to purchase fuel-efficient, low emission state-owned vehicles and maximize use of alternative transportation fuels, minimize travel, implement transit and ride sharing incentive programs and telecommuting; and to purchase or lease Energy Star rated appliances and equipment, where possible, and use recycled paper compatible office equipment.

Executive Order 48 also establishes the position of Senior Advisor for Energy Policy and the Governor’s Energy Policy Advisory Council; a board comprised of energy producers, consumer and conservation groups. The Council will review the recommendations set forth in the Virginia Energy Plan; evaluate strategies for implementing and monitoring the Plan; and identify additional energy policy options for the Commonwealth.


On April 23, AECP Executive Director Billy Weitzenfeld gave presentations to three different school assemblies at Floyd Elementary School in Floyd, VA. The audience consisted of pre-schoolers thru seventh grade. The presentation was on the significance and importance of Earth Day, the threat of global warming, and how everyone can contribute to keeping our earth beautiful by using less energy. There was a specific focus on lighting and the difference we can make by replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. A highlight of the event was a demonstration prop that very vividly showed the difference in energy use between the two bulbs. Everyone present (over 500 students total) agreed that choosing compact fluorescent bulbs was a good, simple thing we could all do to save energy and reduce our carbon footprints.   Almost 600 U.S. Department of Energy “Energy Savers” Handbooks were distributed to the teachers and students.


AECP Executive Director, Billy Weitzenfeld served as a judge for a regional Envirothon competition held at Ferrum College on April 19. The Envirothon is sponsored by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Districts and covers topics related to soil, water, wildlife and forestry. There is always a special topic and this year it was on renewable energy. AECP will also serve as a judge for the statewide Envirothon held on May 20 at the Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Center. The State winners will go to a national competition. There were six high school teams represented at the regional competition and there will be eighteen teams at the state competition.


AECP has set up eight HVAC training classes at Central Virginia Community College (CVCC) that will be offered to AECP members beginning in June and going into the spring of 2008. The trainings will cover a wide variety of heating and cooling topics and will be held at the AREVA Technology Center on the CVCC campus in Lynchburg, VA. The technology Center boasts a brand new HVAC Lab and the classes will be taught by Mike Alderman, Associate Professor in HVAC at CVCC. A complete schedule with course descriptions, fees, and dates will be posted on the AECP website www.aecp.org ASAP.


With warm weather approaching many consumers will be purchasing room air conditioners. If you are in the market be sure to look for the EnergyGuide label with the EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit is. Energy Star units exceed the federal standards by at least 10%.


AECP held its 7th annual Green Living and Energy Expo on December 1 and 2 at the Roanoke Civic Center. Approximately 1500 people attended the two-day event. There were 50 exhibits and several workshops. The attendance represented our best showing ever and the number of exhibits was a 20% increase over the previous year. Our first event had 13 exhibits and attendance was about 200 people. So we have grown and the Expo has become an annual event that is successful in providing educational opportunities to the general public on a wide variety of topics, issues, products, and services – all related to sustainability and how we can improve the world we live in.

Exhibits included information and expertise on solar energy, rainwater management systems, wind energy, geothermal heat pumps, outdoor wood furnaces, organic cotton clothing, green building, green architectural services, recycling, weatherization, alternative fueled vehicles, land conservation, green investing, global warming, organic farming, straw bale construction, green building materials, carbon monoxide, water conservation, insulation, naturalism, energy efficient lighting, green roofs, sustainable forestry and products, pressure diagnostics, duct systems, the blower door, and much more.

Workshops included sessions on residential and commercial green building, green sanctuaries, peak oil, green roofs, green products and the environment, sustainable forestry and products, and the House of Pressure.

Engagement between exhibitors and attendees was superb. Everyone who attended also had the opportunity to pick up a huge variety of educational brochures, pamphlets, and documents. As always admission to the Expo was free.

Next year we plan on moving into the new exhibit hall that is being built adjacent to the existing venue. The new hall will be ready in the spring of 2007. Our plan is to have 75 exhibits and a much expanded workshop schedule.

Much thanks and appreciation goes out to all of the AECP members who helped in the planning and coordination of the Expo as well as participating as exhibitors and workshop leaders.


A 50-megawatt power plant that used to be fueled with coal is now running entirely on wood chips. Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) announced in early December that its $75 million “Northern Wood Power Project” is in service, providing power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses throughout the state. The rebuilt plant avoids the burning of 130,000 tons of coal each year, replacing it with about 400,000 tons of wood from local resources. According to PSNH, the wood fueled boiler will emit only one-quarter of the nitrous oxides and only 2% of the sulfur dioxide that was emitted by the coal plant. Construction of the project began in October 2004 and includes a storage facility capable of holding about 10,000 tons of wood chips, a wood-fuel delivery system, and a 110-foot-high boiler.


There are over 10 million woodstoves in use in America. Woodstoves burn a renewable type of fuel and often the wood that is burned is from dead or waste material. But 70-80% of these woodstoves are old and inefficient and they can be the single largest residential contributor of particle air pollution or fine particulate matter (PM), which is the nation’s most dangerous form of air pollution. PM is caused by fossil fuel combustion – power plants, vehicles, and home energy use. PM in the air we breathe is responsible for thousands of pre-mature deaths in America each year and is directly related to an epidemic of asthma and respiratory illness. What we do in our own home can impact everyone in the community as well as the occupants of the home. So be sure that the woodstove that you use is an EPA certified unit because it will emit 70% less pollution and fine particulate matter. If your wood stove is not EPA certified then the renewable source of fuel you are using is contributing to increased air pollution. Do everyone a favor and replace the old and inefficient woodstove with a new unit that has an EPA certification. EPA certified stoves are designed to burn wood more completely, more cleanly, and reduce the heat lost up the chimney.