AECP “ENERGY CONVERSATION” UPDATE October 30, 2006
OCTOBER 30 IS NATIONAL WEATHERIZATION DAY
Monday, October 30, 2006 is being celebrated as National Weatherization Day around the U.S. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program increases the energy efficiency of dwellings occupied by low-income Americans, thereby reducing their energy costs, while safeguarding their health and safety. The program prioritizes those households with elderly residents, individuals with disabilities, and families with children. Weatherization serves every city, town and county across America and represents the largest, oldest, and most comprehensive residential energy efficiency program in the U.S.
The program was created in 1976.
Services provided include sophisticated energy audits, blower door testing, duct diagnostics and repair, heating system safety inspections, heating system replacement and repair, carbon monoxide testing, pressure diagnostics, insulation services, blower door directed air-sealing, appliance and lighting replacement, and energy education. These measures result in an average of 30% energy savings per household and a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by an average of one ton per weatherized house. For every dollar invested by DOE, the program leverages an additional $3.39 from other federal, state, local, and private sources. The program has an almost 2 to 1 benefit-cost ratio and has pioneered measures and applications that are the foundation of the green building movement in this country.
For more information about the program visit the DOE website at www.eere.energy.gov
AECP AND DHCD CONDUCT SUCCESSFUL WEATHERIZATION INTERCHANGE
AECP and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), with the assistance of D&R International recently held a statewide Weatherization Interchange during the week of September 18-21, 2006. The event was held on the campus of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA. Weatherization programs from around the state spent the week attending administrative workshops, crew and staff trainings, crew competitions, and were able to network and relax with a variety of social activities.
The competitions featured several crews competing against each other in a variety of events that included weatherization estimating and auditing, water heater wrap, truck rigging, door sealing, sidewall insulating, preparing attics properly before insulating, and duct sealing and repair. Each competition was followed by a training. The competitions were judged and awards were given on the last day of the event. Weatherization staff from West Virginia assisted in the judging and training and provided consultation in the development of the event. Other trainings included Lead Safe Weatherization Practices and Equipment and Tool Maintenance. There were guest speakers at the opening and closing plenary, dances, a cookout, and an opportunity for everyone to network with people from other parts of the state. Over 160 people attended and went home at the end of the week with new knowledge and the continued belief that the important work they are doing is impacting not just the homes that are being weatherized but also the greater community. WEATHERIZATION WORKS and is helping to make the world a better place in which to live.
AECP’S WILL HOST ITS 7TH ANNUAL GREEN LIVING AND ENERGY EXPO
AECP will host the upcoming Green Living and Energy Expo on December 1 and 2, 2006 at the Roanoke Civic Center. The event will provide educational opportunities to the general public in the areas of energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, green building, and sustainability. This is accomplished thru a wide variety of exhibits, demonstrations, and workshops. Admission is free.
SPREAD THE WORD and make every effort to attend. The Expo will inspire, inform, and enable people to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
SLEC HAS SEMI-OPENING
AECP’S Sustainable Living Education Center (SLEC) hosted the monthly meeting of the Southwest Virginia Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council on Tuesday, October 24, 2006. The meeting served as an “unofficial” opening of SLEC, which features exhibits, working systems and demonstrations, and displays on a variety of sustainable topics and concepts. SLEC is still a work in progress but is close to fruition and represents AECP’s continued commitment to energy education and advocacy.
AECP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SERVES ON STATE ADVISORY BOARD TO DEVELOP VIRGINIA ENERGY PLAN
AECP Executive Director, Billy Weitzenfeld, is currently serving on a state advisory board to develop a 10-year Virginia Energy Plan. Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has asked that the plan be on his desk for signature by July 0f 2007. The Board is comprised of 25 public and private stakeholders, businesses, and organizations.
AECP “ENERGY CONVERSATION” UPDATE August 25, 2006
AECP PLANS WEATHERIZATION INTERCHANGE
AECP in partnership with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is planning a Weatherization Interchange at Virginia Tech from September 18-21. The Interchange will include several administrative workshops and two full days of crew competitions. The competitions will involve several activities that are commonplace for crews as they apply energy conservation/efficiency measures to households around the state. These activities include weatherization estimating, wrapping water heaters, truck rigging, door weather-stripping, sidewall insulation, proper preparation of attics before insulating, and duct sealing and repair. There will also be two trainings as part of the competitions – Lead Safe Weatherization Practices and Proper Machine and Equipment Maintenance. All competitions except the estimating will take place at the Alphin-Stuart Horse Arena on the campus of Virginia Tech. The estimation competition will occur at the New River Center for Energy Research and Training (NRCERT) located in Christiansburg. All workshops will be conducted at the Inn at Virginia Tech.
There will also be a cookout at the Dairy Science Complex one evening and a dinner/dance at the Inn featuring the Janitors a Virginia Beach based band. Ms. Jean Diggs, Energy Technology Program Specialist with the U.S. Dept. of Energy, will provide welcoming remarks at the opening plenary. She will be joined by Ms. Floris Weston, Program Manager with DHCD and Mr. Bob Adams with WAPTAC who will also give presentations. Mr. Joel Eisenberg, Energy Policy Analyst with Oak Ridge National Labs will present at the closing plenary.
AECP and DHCD have been notably assisted in the planning of the event by D&R International who has great expertise and experience in planning and implementing events for the national weatherization program.
U.S WIND ENERGY REACHES NEW MILESTONE
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced recently that wind energy installations in the U.S. now exceed 10,000 megawatts (MW). They produce enough electricity to power 2.5 million homes. The first commercial wind farms were built in California in the early 1980’s and reached a 1000 MW capacity in 1985. It was not until 1999 that the industry reached the 2000 MW capacity. So the wind industry is experiencing phenomenal growth, which means that this renewable source of energy is gaining popularity due to its low impact on the environment and its ability to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This huge growth rate has also been helped by the recent passage of the Energy policy Act, which renewed the federal tax incentive called the production tax credit.
Wind energy was the second largest source of new power generation in the country in 2005, behind natural gas, and will remain so in 2006. The wind industry is also responsible for new job creation, improving the quality of the air we breathe and lessening the impact of global warming.
CALIFORNIA IMPLEMENTS MILLION SOLAR ROOFS PROGRAM
The state of California under the leadership of Governor Schwarzenegger, has recently signed into legislation a million solar roofs plan that will lead to one million homes in California with solar by 2018. The million solar roof plan will provide 3,000 megawatts of clean energy and reduce the output of greenhouse gases by 3 million tons, which is the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road.
JUST THINK IF EVERY HOME IN AMERICA HAD A SOLAR ROOF!
AECP PARTNERS WITH TOWN OF BLACKSBURG IN ENERGY INITIATIVE
AECP has joined other community partners in supporting the Town of Blacksburg, VA in their efforts to implement a grant received from the U.S. EPA. The grant will help Blacksburg initiate additional recycling programs, toxic waste programs, energy conservation programs, and consumer education and outreach. AECP was very active in helping the Town set up its first annual Environmental Awareness Week. AECP conducted the kick-off session of the event with a presentation on “Home Energy Conservation and Efficiency”.
Every homeowner in America should consider having a professional energy audit of their home done by a Home Performance Energy Services Contractor. This is a great investment in making your home more energy efficient. At a minimum conduct an audit your self by checking out these 3 home audit websites:
AECP “ENERGY CONVERSATION” UPDATE June 7, 2006
AECP HOSTS ANNUAL MEETING JUNE 12-13,2006
AECP will be conducting its annual membership meeting(s) on June 12 and 13, 2006 at the Sheraton Oceanfront, 36th and Atlantic, Virginia Beach. These meetings will include an AECP Board meeting to be followed by a full membership meeting on Monday, June 12. AECP member, Conservation Strategies, will host a reception that evening at Mahi Mahs from 5:30 to 7:00. On Tuesday, June 13 there will be three workshops – a lead safe practice workshop, an EPA certification class in refrigerant handling, and a stress management workshop.
A key issue taken up at the annual membership meeting will be the election of AECP Officers and Directors. The current AECP Board has recommended the following slate to be considered by the membership:
President – Bill Beachy
Vice-President – John Bodtmann
Secretary – Anthony Cox
Treasurer – Joanne Langford
BRING BACK PASSENGER TRAINS
There was a time in America when passenger trains were a major source of transportation. Mass transit is good for the environment and for people’s pocket books. Conventional and high- speed trains reduce our reliance on volatile fuel prices, reduces the number of pollution spewing vehicles on the road, minimizes highway expansion and cost and reduces the problem of urban sprawl. Passenger trains in America have been replaced by a downsized freight train service. Europe has continued to provide excellent passenger train service across the continent. European tax- payers are comfortable with subsidizing train service at the same levels as highway construction and repair, and airports and airline service. This is because Europeans have embraced energy saving studies that show trains have a clear 4 to 1 advantage over cars and airplanes. Its time that Americans understand that some technologies are good for the environment and others are not as good and when that distinction is clear then we move assertively in that direction.
STUDY FINDS GLOBAL WARMING WORSENS POISON IVY
Global warming is a product of increased greenhouse gas emissions – gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. Recent studies by Duke University indicate that the increase in carbon dioxide has resulted in poison ivy plants growing three times larger than normal and producing a much more allergenic form of urushiol. Urushiol is the poison that causes the swelling and painful itch.
CONGRATULATIONS ANTHONY COX!
Anthony Cox, Technical Coordinator for Community Housing Partners and a long time AECP member and officer has just received nationally accredited certifications from the Building Performance Institute (BPI). The certifications are Building Analyst I, Shell Specialist, and Heating Specialist. BPI provides certifications in several areas of home energy performance services. For more information please check out www.bpi.org .
SIP’S ARE ENERGY EFFICENT BUILDING PANELS
Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) are rigid foam sandwiched between factory bonded oriented strand board (OSB), or wood paneling. SIP’s are usually 4 to 8 feet wide and up to 24 feet long and can be used for walls as well as structural roof sections. They are simple to erect and go up faster than other traditional wall systems. They are twice as strong as a stud wall with insulation values that range from r-15 to r-45. SIP’s increase the total building cost by only one% to 3% and the reduction in labor cost and energy savings offset this expense. A Canadian study showed that over the course of a year, one home with SIPs used only a quarter of the energy consumed by an adjacent stick frame house with an identical floor plan.
Install solar-powered motion sensor outdoor lighting and save money on your electric bill. Solar motion sensing lights are both affordable and easy to install. This is another opportunity in a simple way to use renewable energy in your home. Check out www.brookstone.com and www.sundancesolar.com for more information.
AECP “ENERGY CONVERSATION” UPDATE Aprl 3, 2006
MAKE EVERY DAY EARTH DAY
Earth Day is April 22 and this year marks the 36th anniversary of this important event. No previous Earth Day has the importance of this year’s event. With rising fuel prices and the impact of global warming upon us the recognition of our responsibility to the planet we live on has never been more necessary or more apparent. The lack of national leadership on these issues is forcing each and every one of us to take individual action. And the weapon at our disposal is energy conservation. Conservation is the tool and the method that we all have to combat rising fuel prices and help slow the negative impact of global warming. Lets honor the spirit and message of Earth Day by following this simple Earth Day A to Z and lets seize the day with individual action that collectively will save the world. (The following is reprinted from “Taste For Life” magazine dated April 2006)
Ask your boss to institute energy savers at work: Recycle paper, turn off computer workstations, and consider the switch to compact fluorescent lighting.
Buy energy efficient products – whether it’s a hybrid car or high-efficiency appliances.
Compost grass clippings, leaves, and vegetable peelings to help divert organic wastes from landfills and reduce methane release.
Drive less (bicycle, carpool, take the bus or walk).
Eat less meat (producing a quarter pound burger uses at least 100 gallons of water).
Fix leaks in air conditioners, plumbing, and refrigerators; use energy efficient faucets, showerheads, and toilets.
Garden smart: Mulch and plant wildflowers or native grasses that don’t need mowing or cultivating.
Have a home energy audit to see if you can reduce fuel bills.
Insulate your home, pipes, and water heater – and save money.
Join an organic buying club or food co-op.
Keep your home healthy with environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, house- plants to cleanse the air, and organic fibers.
Load washing machines and dishwashers full; don’t run partial loads.
Make the most of every trip, combining grocery shopping with errands and visits to friends.
Nix hot water washes: Clothes get just as clean with the right detergents and last longer with cold washes, plus you’ll cut energy costs.
Only shower: That’ll save water compared to baths. And wet your toothbrush, rather than running water while you brush.
Protect your local watershed and wetlands. Prevention is a lot less costly than trying to clean up pollution later.
Question the need for every purchase – far too much “stuff” ends up in attics, basements, landfills and on eBay.
Recycle (from computers to motor oil), reduce (disposables, packaging, toxins), and reuse (cloth napkins, refillable pens, jars).
Scrape, don’t rinse, dishes for the dishwasher.
Turn off appliances and lights when not in use.
Use a soaker hose or trickle irrigation if you must water shrubs and trees.
Vote for environmentally conscious candidates, and let them know how you feel about energy independence, global warming, and organic production.
Walk everywhere you can, and work with your local education department to make it safe for kids to walk to school (visit www.bikewalk.org to learn more).
Xerox only what you really need to copy, send electronic files whenever possible, and check out books and magazines from your local library.
You can make a difference by taking individual action in your own home, in your work place and in your community to conserve energy and use all energy resources more efficiently.
Zero in on community efforts to protect our planet this Earth Day – and the rest of the year (visit www.earthday.net to find events in your area).
You can make a difference by recycling paper at every opportunity:
- Paper accounts for 40% of all community waste.
- Americans throw away the equivalent of 33 million trees in newsprint each year.
- Recycling paper uses 60% less energy than manufacturing paper from new trees.
- The average person uses 737 pounds of paper per year.
- In one year, 2 billion books, 359 million magazines, and 24 billion newspapers are published in the USA.
- Recycling one ton of paper saves about 17 tree.
AECP “ENERGY CONVERSATION” UPDATE February 6, 2006
UN PANEL ISSUES GRIM REPORT ON GLOBAL WARMING
The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently issued its fourth report since 2001 on global warming. The panel is comprised of 2,500 scientists from 130 countries, including the U.S. This report is significant because for the first time the panel unanimously concludes that global warming is “unequivocal” and that human activity is the main cause, “very likely” causing most of the rise in temperature since 1950.
The report states that global warming is here and that we can expect centuries of warming, shifting weather patterns and rising seas due to the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that trap heat. More specifically we can expect more droughts, deadlier heat waves, increased wildfires, increased flooding, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels, increased damage to a multitude of fragile ecosystems, increased specie extinction, and increased disease from the forced migration of many animals and insects. Not a pretty picture and one that is compounded by the conclusion by the Panel that even if every smokestack and tailpipe stops emissions right now, the remaining heat makes further warming inevitable. The melting process has begun and global warming will continue for a very long time.
The good news is this:
- Congress. There are several Democratic sponsored climate change bills in the works. Next week the House Science and Technology Committee will discuss the U.N. Panel report.
- States. More than 12 states are taking steps to reduce greenhouse gases.
- Cities. More than 375 Mayors have signed pledges since 2005 to cut greenhouse gas emissions. This represents 56 million people in all 50 states. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has just announced that global warming is the number one priority on its top ten list of priorities.
- Industry. Ten major corporations including General Electric, Alcoa, and Dupont have joined forces with several environmental groups to demand swift passage of federal legislation to cut emissions that worsen global warming.
Yes, global warming is here, has been here and will remain for a very long time no matter what we do. But immediate action can slow the impact of climate change and eventually correct this environmental phenomenon. Here is a breakdown of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. Carbon dioxide is the leading greenhouse gas.
- Transportation – 33%
- Industrial energy use – 29%
- Residential energy use – 21%
- Commercial energy use – 17%
Some immediate actions that would have an immediate impact are:
- Raise the fuel efficiency standards for all automobile and trucks, use more mass transit, continue to develop alternative fueled vehicles that produce less pollutants.
- Effectively enforce the Clean Air Act and require all industrial resources to obey the law and seek ways to reduce harmful emissions.
- Provide incentives and education to homeowners that foster increased energy conservation and efficiency.
- Provide incentives and education to businesses that foster increased energy conservation and efficiency.
TOP TEN WAYS CONSUMERS CAN REDUCE CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2) EMISSIONS ANNUALLY
- Lower your thermostat by two degrees in winter and save 400 lbs. of (CO2) annually.
- Don’t use the heat in the drying cycle of your dishwasher – save 200 lbs. of (CO2)
- Use cold water to wash clothes – save 200 lbs.
- Keep your furnace filters clean – save 175 lbs.
- Install low flow showerheads and save 300 lbs.
- Walk, bike, carpool, use mass transit. Every gallon of gas you save avoids 22 lbs. of CO2 annually.
- Insulate your walls and ceiling and save 1500 lbs.
- Invest in a solar water heater and save 8,000 lbs. annually.
- Install a compact fluorescent bulb in a high use lamp and save 260 lbs.
- Plant a tree. Each tree absorbs about 25 lbs. of CO2 from the air every year.
Become an advocate. Question your legislators about their stance on global warming, the environment, renewable energy, and energy conservation. Use their responses to determine whom you vote for. Demand that your utilities provide green power and funding for energy conservation programs for consumers. Become a leader in your community by practicing energy conservation and efficiency in your home, your business, and in your daily life.
AECP “ENERGY CONVERSATION” UPDATE February 5, 2006
NEW STUDY CONFIRMS ENERGY BENEFIT OF ETHANOL
There has been a debate over the energy value of ethanol, which is a fuel produced from corn. The debate has centered on whether the embodied energy used in growing, harvesting, and processing corn into ethanol fuel outweighed the energy saving aspect of the product. But a recent study compared six analyses of the energy required to produce ethanol and the energy benefits of ethanol. The report found that those studies most critical of ethanol energy benefits ignored the added energy benefits of co-products such as animal feeds and included outdated data on the energy used to process corn into ethanol fuel. There is also increased support for the production of cellulosic ethanol, which is fuel, produced from grasses and other biomass sources. Using agricultural and industrial waste materials to produce fuel is an excellent way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our dependence on petroleum. Ethanol fuel produced from corn reduces petroleum use by 95% and reduces greenhouse gases by about 13%.
Ford Motor Co. is developing a Hybrid “flex-fuel” vehicle that can run on either gasoline or on E85, which is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. This means that hybrid vehicles would dramatically decrease the emission of greenhouse gas by using an ethanol blend versus traditional gasoline. Hybrid vehicles use a combination of gasoline and electric power. One problem is the limited availability of E85 pumps. But with initiatives recently passed under the Energy Policy Act the production and availability of ethanol – traditional corn and cellulosic – will increase significantly across the country.
AECP PLANS STATEWIDE WEATHERIZATION EVENT
AECP will plan and implement a statewide Weatherization Interchange in September of 2006. The Interchange will include workshops and crew competition activities over a four- day period and will be held at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia. All weatherization crews and staff in Virginia will be invited to participate in the event, which is being designed to honor the great work and contributions that the program makes every day, in every town, city and county across the Commonwealth.
The Weatherization program is the oldest, most comprehensive, and most effective residential energy efficiency program in America. The program is designed to provide energy efficient and health and safety services to eligible low-income households nationwide. About 2500 homes are weatherized annually in Virginia with a 20-40% energy savings achieved in most cases. A weatherized home, on average, will contribute to a one metric ton reduction of carbon emissions per home.
AECP MEMBERS PASS HVAC MASTER EXAM
Seven AECP members recently passed the Virginia Board for Contractors Master Tradesman certification for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC). They took the exam following a preparation class conducted on two different occasions by AECP. The AECP members are Bill Craig, Mike Cooke, Fred Gross, Billy Burrill, Mike Belcher, Darrell Darnell, and Scott Darnell. Congratulations to everyone.
U.S. WIND INDUSTRY ACHEIVES RECORD GROWTH
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the U.S. wind energy industry grew at a record pace in 2005. The wind industry increased in size by 35% with commercial wind turbines now installed in 30 states. These turbines provide electricity to almost 2.5 million homes and 2006 will be an even bigger year with increased opportunities for the industry as a result of the recently passed Energy Policy Act.
VIRGINIA ENERGY STATISTICS
Here are some 2006 figures for energy consumption in Virginia courtesy of the Alliance to Save Energy.
- Household energy expenditures break down as follows – space heating 50%, electric AC 25%, water heating 12%, refrigerators 7%, lighting and other appliances 6%.
- Propane is the fuel source with the highest increase in cost followed by natural gas, heating oil, and electricity.
- Virginia gasoline prices are currently about 35% higher than a year ago. Virginia households pay about $3,100 annually for gasoline.
Turn down the thermostat. Lowering it by just one degree can reduce heating energy costs by about 4%. A one- degree reduction can also save 400 lbs. of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is the leading greenhouse gas that is contributing to global warming.
AECP “ENERGY CONVERSATION” UPDATE November 23, 2005
EPA SHOWS BUSINESSES AND ORGANIZATIONS HOW TO SAVE ENERGY
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued specific advice to businesses and organizations that will help save 10% or more on their energy bills. Businesses will be especially hit hard this winter with rising fuel prices and if every business in the U.S. saved 10% on their energy bills – that savings would allow Americans to save 10 billion dollars annually.
EPA encourages organizations to take the five following steps:
- Measure the energy use of your building and set a savings goal.
Visit http://www.energystar.gov/benchmark and use a free online tool that provides buildings with a current energy use measurement. Then visit http://www.energystar.gov/challenge and learn how to set a minimum 10% energy savings goal.
- Inspect heating equipment now and perform monthly maintenance.
35% of energy in commercial buildings nationwide is used for space heating. Make sure all systems are operating properly and at their maximum efficiency level.
• Tune up all heating equipment and inspect all ducts, filter, and dampers.
• Calibrate all thermostats and controls used by the heating equipment.
• Create a monthly maintenance plan.
- Turn back or turn off heating and cooling equipment when not needed.
Install programmable thermostats and reduce the overall use wherever possible. If you can cut back one hour out of every twelve – the energy savings will be about 12%.
- Get the occupants involved.
Educate employees about how their behavior and decision-making can impact energy use and potential savings.
- Improve lighting systems.
Lighting uses about 13% of the energy in commercial buildings – second to heating and cooling. Turn lights off when not in use, use daylighting whenever possible and replace older lighting systems with energy efficient lighting systems. Evaluate security lighting and lights that are left on all night and determine the appropriateness and necessity for this.
Visit http://www.energystar.gov/bizheating and www.energystar.gov/products for more information.
LEARN HOW TO USE NEW TAX CREDITS TO SAVE ENERGY AND REDUCE INCOME TAXES
The recently passed National Energy Plan provides new tax credits for consumers interested in home energy efficiency improvements, residential solar energy, and purchasing hybrid vehicles. Check out www.ase.org/taxcredits and learn the specifics from the Dept. of Energy and the Alliance to Save Energy.
SLEC STRAW BALE NEARS COMPLETION
The straw bale structure, which is being built in partnership with Virginia Tech and the Sustainable Living Education Center (SLEC) is nearing completion. All of the straw bales were stacked and secured this past Saturday and are ready to be plastered. The straw bale will house a wood-turning studio and be used by the Jacksonville Center for a variety of purposes. It will also serve as a demonstration of sustainable building techniques.
AECP IS AWARDED GRANT FOR SLEC
AECP received a $1,000 grant award from the Community Foundation of the New River Valley. This money will be used to set up the education room at the Sustainable Living Education Center – in the same building that houses the AECP office. AECP also received $3,000 in funding assistance from the Department of Housing and Community Development for the same purpose.
AECP UNSUCCESSFUL IN EFFORTS TO OBTAIN REGULATORY CHANGE
AECP made its case for a home energy performance specialty contractor’s classification before the Virginia Board for Contractors on November 16. AECP was interested in providing some level of competency for the industry to not only protect consumers but to also establish a benchmark within the industry that would promote growth and professionalism. The Board rejected our arguments and will not make any change.
Save energy by not eating too much turkey on Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving!
AECP “ENERGY CONVERSATION” UPDATE October 25, 2005
AECP HOLDS 6TH ANNUAL GREEN LIVING AND ENERGY EXPO
AECP held its 6th annual Green Living and Energy Expo at the Roanoke Civic Center this past weekend. The event was a rousing success with increased attendance, successful workshops and seminars, more exhibits than ever before and strong media coverage. There were well over 1,000 attendees and the feedback from exhibitors and general public was overwhelmingly positive. The Energy Expo continues to grow and provide a much needed community service that will inspire, inform and enable people who are interested in saving energy and living a more sustainable life.
Many thanks to all of the AECP members listed below who gave of their time and expertise to make this event a very successful endeavor:
• Linda Rayner
• Kristin Rayner
• Melissa Commins
• Brenda Lipscomb
• Anita Villarreal
• Natalie Mays
• John Bodtmann
• Nancy Bodtmann
• Michael Bolton
• Joanne Langford
• John Langford
• Bill Craig
• John Saunders
• Rick Sheets and his TAP crew
• James Robinson
• Bill Beachy
• Chris Heslep
• Anthony Cox
• Lil Weston
• Carol Beachy
• Judy Weitzenfeld
• Dale D’Alessandro
• Chris Hudson
• Frank Early
• Eric Early
• Tom and Sandy Daniel
VIRGINIA TECH SOLAR HOUSE RECEIVES BLOWER DOOR TEST
AECP member Anthony Cox conducted a multi-point blower door test on the Virginia Tech Solar House before it traveled to Washington D.C. for the national Solar Decathlon. This test helped the students and faculty identify air leakage issues and determine the proper settings for their heat recovery system. The test also gave them points in the indoor air quality segment of the decathlon competition. The Virginia Tech solar house placed fourth out of eighteen entries in this international event.
The blower door test was also part of a presentation that Anthony did for the U.S. Green Building Council Southwest Virginia Chapter that met at the Tech solar house on September 20, 2005.
WALKING THE WALK
Hurricane Katrina devastated the lives and property of thousands of Gulf Coast residents. Millions of people nationwide reacted to this with an outpouring of sympathy, prayer, and contributions of food, supplies and money. But four AECP members took this concern a step further with an effort that turned their compassion into hard work, sweat, and time away from their jobs and families. Bill Beachy, Vice-President of Community Housing Partners (CHP), Chris Heslep, Director of Field Operations for CHP, Anthony Cox, Technical Coordinator for CHP, and Brian Urie, CHP Weatherization crew-worker all traveled to Gulfport, Mississippi during the week of September 25 to provide on the ground assistance to families in need. They coordinated their efforts with local agencies in the area that had been recipients of Weatherization training provided by CHP over the last couple of years. They delivered supplies, including a load of window air-conditioners that they had collected through donations and then stayed for a week and mainly cleared fallen trees from yards and roadways in the area. Using a chain saw in mid-90’s temperatures is not only very difficult but dangerous as well. They were housed and fed by local residents during their stay. The week- long stay was done on their own time.
AECP is very proud of these four fine gentlemen and their willingness and desire to walk the walk is an inspiration that sets an example for all of us.
In preparation for the upcoming heating season make sure that all vent pipes and chimneys are clean and free of any creosote, dirt, and obstructions. All chimneys that use a wood-stove should be properly lined.
AECP “ENERGY CONVERSATION” UPDATE September 12, 2005
KATRINA AND GLOBAL WARMING
Katrina was a monster hurricane whose fury and devastation has wreaked untold tragedy, havoc and misfortune upon millions of Gulf Coast residents. The ramifications of this natural event will have long term consequences for every facet of our national society – economic, social, political, cultural and most importantly the individuals and families who have had their lives tragically altered forever. Questions will be asked, investigations will be launched, scapegoats lambasted, and rear-ends covered. The chaotic aftermath will dominate the national media. Whatever becomes of this process and the issues to be studied – we must collectively accept the fact that global warming is not just an arguable threat but also a natural climatic event that is now upon us with the full force of a natural disaster. The irony of a hurricane fueled by global warming destroying oil refineries is a sign that changes need to be made.
It should be apparent in the National Energy Bill that was recently passed that our national leadership is unwilling and/or unable to solve the energy consumerism that is overwhelming our nation and increasing the threat of global warming, seriously impacting our gasoline and home heating fuel budgets, and shaking our national energy security. The responsibility is ours and always has been to make changes within our home, business, and lifestyle. Decisions to change that will stop global warming, stop our dependence on fossil fuels, stop being wasteful, and stop expecting others to solve problems that we have the power to correct ourselves. Perhaps energy conservation is an appropriate legacy and donation that can be made on behalf of all those whose lives have been devastated by Katrina. Here are some things that we all can do to help stop global warming:
- Reduce your home energy bill. The average house is responsible for more air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions than is the average car.
- Purchase and use energy efficient appliances, fixtures, and other home equipment and products. Buy those that display the Energy Star label.
- Insulate your home and make sure your heating and cooling systems are operating at maximum efficiency.
- Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
- Save on water use in your home. Use low-flow faucets in your showers and sinks. Repair all water leaks. Lower the temperature on your hot water tank.
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Buy products that feature reusable, recycled, or reduced packaging to save the energy required to manufacture new containers. Make recycling a way of life.
- Consider installing residential wind and photovoltaic systems on your home. Consider a solar hot water heater. Every home in America should become its own clean and renewable energy power plant.
- Purchase Green Power for your home’s electricity if available from your utility. Green power is electricity that is generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass.
- Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle. Consider transportation alternatives such as mass transit, car-pooling, and bicycling. When you do drive – keep your car tuned up and your tires properly inflated.
- Plant trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air.
- Encourage your utility to do its part and become a partner in cleaner, safer, and healthier energy production and use.
- Educate others. Demand increased tax credits and incentives for energy conservation activities.
The cumulative impact of our individual decisions can change the world and is a great way to honor those so devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
HOME HEATING COSTS TO HIT RECORD LEVELS THIS WINTER
The Energy information Administration’s short- term outlook projects major increases in costs for electricity, heating oil, propane, and natural gas. We can expect this winter to see +71% for natural gas, +17% for electricity, +31% for heating oil, and +40% for propane. These percentages are relative to last winter’s cost. This is very bad news for all consumers but especially those that are low-income.
AECP TO HOLD 6TH ANNUAL GREEN LIVING AND ENERGY EXPO
AECP will hold its 6th annual Green Living and Energy Expo at the Roanoke Civic Center on October 21 and 22, 2005. Mark your calendars and spread the word. The Expo is an opportunity to educate yourself and others about the importance of saving energy.
VSBN HOSTS SUSTAINABLE SUMMIT
The Virginia Sustainable Building Network (VSBN) is hosting its third Virginia’s Sustainable Future Summit at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on September 13-15, 2005. There will be exhibits and workshops on sustainable solutions for the environment, business, and communities. Check their website at www.vsf3.org.
Emissions from automobiles is a leading contributor to global warming. Check these websites out on the Clean Cities program - www.eere.energy.gov/cleancities and www.fueleconomy.gov/ to learn more about alternative fuels and vehicle emissions.
AECP “ENERGY CONVERSATION” UPDATE August 22, 2005
AECP INSTALLS WIND AND SOLAR SYSTEMS
On August 6 and 7 a team comprised of Jim Madden and Dale D’Alessandro (who is a new AECP member) from Chesapeake Renewable Energy, a Richmond firm specializing in renewable energy system installation, Mark Lotts, Holly Lotts, Jeff Briggs and Matt Heck from James Madison University and representing the Virginia Wind Energy Collaborative, and Billy Weitzenfeld, AECP Executive Director installed and raised a 42 foot wind tower that houses a Bergey XL-1 wind turbine. They also installed a 102- watt solar panel. Both systems are producing electricity and will be used as teaching tools and demonstrations to promote the use of small residential wind and solar energy. These systems are part of the overall plan to develop a Sustainable Living Education Center (SLEC) at the Jacksonville Center in Floyd, VA. This is where the AECP office is also located.
AECP also recently installed a small rainwater collection system that will be used to promote water conservation. AECP member John Bodtmann helped with this installation. There is a straw bale structure under construction that will be used to promote green and alternative building and a small education room that will use exhibits to provide sustainable education to the general public – also in progress.
The wind system was made possible thru a partial grant from James Madison University through their Virginia Small Wind Incentive Program and funds donated by AECP, The Jacksonville Center, and the Jewish Communal Fund. The solar system was made possible through a full grant from AECP member – Community Housing Partners in Christiansburg. Funds for the SLEC education room are being provided by a grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Paint with no VOC’s and recycled, environmentally carpet have been donated by ECO Solution and Lees Carpets respectively.
“CLEAN” VEHICLE RESEARCH FACES MANY CHALLENGES
The FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, a research collaboration among the U.S. Department of Energy, the big three automakers, and five major energy companies, which is seeking to develop emission-free and petroleum free vehicles faces many difficult challenges. The main goal of the partnership is to develop technology that will help automakers decide by 2015 whether it is possible to manufacture and sell hydrogen powered vehicles on a large scale. In order to achieve this goal the following must be accomplished:
- Develop cost-efficient ways to produce hydrogen from traditional and renewable energy sources (only renewable sources will produce truly clean emissions)
- Find ways to distribute hydrogen via filling stations
- Be able to store it safely in vehicles
- Be able to convert it to electricity with fuel cells
The research collaborative is also exploring technology that will provide more efficient and less polluting combustion engines, as well as improved batteries that can be used in hybrid vehicles with either fossil fuel or hydrogen powered vehicles.
AECP CONDUCTS HVAC WORKSHOP
AECP conducted a workshop on how to successfully prepare for the HVAC Tradesman License examination. The training was conducted on August 18 at the New River Center for Research and Training (NRCERT) in Christiansburg. Sixteen AECP members were in attendance. The class was led by AECP Executive Director, Billy Weitzenfeld who recently passed the examination and received his HVAC Master card.
IS NUCLEAR ENERGY THE ANSWER?
The nuclear energy industry was a clear winner as a result of the recent passage of the National Energy Bill. The nuclear industry was the recipient of significantly increased tax subsidies and a mandate to increase capacity and generation. Even some noted environmentalists see nuclear power as an answer to the threats posed by global warming. Proponents argue that nuclear power produces no greenhouse gases and even though there are risks – they pale in comparison to other fossil fuels and their contribution to global warming. The reality is that nuclear power is the most expensive of all energies to generate, is not renewable nor clean because the fuel source is uranium that must be mined, and the radioactive waste that is generated is potentially a greater threat than global warming. The true solution as many of us know is increased energy conservation and efficiency. Reduction of usage will reduce our production needs and make renewable energy sources such as wind and solar much more viable and marketable. Spending billions on nuclear energy and pennies on conservation and energy efficiency technology is a mistake of grand proportions – one that we may pay for with much more than money.