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

AECP RECEIVES AWARD

Virginia Sustainable Building Network’s 10th Anniversary Celebration and Annual Meeting, held June 15, 2005 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, VA was the occasion for presenting Virginia businesses and organizations the first state awards for environmentally sound products and programs related to green building and sustainable development. The criteria for the awards were: 1. environmentally responsible products, projects, and programs; 2. emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable energy use; and 3. completed and/or ongoing programs and projects; 4. promotion of green building and sustainable development principles in the local community.

AECP was the recipient of the first Virginia Green Innovation Award under the category of Green Businesses and Organizations. Accepting on behalf of AECP were Bill Beachy, AECP President and Billy Weitzenfeld, AECP Executive Director.

SENATE PASSES ENERGY BILL

The U.S. Senate passed its own version of a comprehensive energy bill yesterday by a vote of 85-12. This bill will now go into conference with the House, which passed its own Energy Bill. Although this bipartisan effort is a much- improved version over the Bush Energy Plan and the House Energy bill – it still does not fully address some very important issues. Two very important omissions in the bill are the lack of an increase in mandated fuel efficiency standards for automobiles and although there is an acknowledgement of global warming as a threat there is no concrete action taken to immediately address the issue. Here are some highlights:

  • An ethanol mandate requiring fuel manufacturers to use 8 billion gallons of ethanol in gasoline by 2012.
  • Sets first-time efficiency standards for 14 large appliances and raises efficiency standards for others.
  • Includes provisions to modernize the electricity grid.
  • Establishes a hydrogen research program.
  • A federal renewable portfolio standards provision that requires electric suppliers to acquire 10% of their supplies from renewable resources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass or ocean by 2020.
  • A fuel savings provision requiring the federal government devise a plan to save one million barrels of oil a day by 2015.
  • Increased funding for energy conservation and efficiency programs.
  • An increase in tax subsidies for renewable energy.
  • A decrease in tax subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
  • Increased tax credits for the purchase of business and residential solar equipment.
  • Expanded tax credits for those who buy alternative fuel vehicles.
  • A new tax credit for homeowners who buy energy efficient appliances.
  • Tax credits for contractors of energy efficient homes that achieve an energy savings of 30% over the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code.
  • The bill does not include drilling in the Artic Refuge nor does it allow a loophole for fuel manufacturers to escape lawsuits related to a gasoline additive, MTBE, which has been responsible for poisoning drinking water supplies in communities nationwide.

KNOW HOW YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS VOTE ON ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

It is important to know how your representatives on the federal and state level vote on key energy and environmental bills that will impact your pocketbook and the environment in which you live. For federal legislation check out www.senate.gov and www.house.gov These websites will allow you to follow current legislation in process and bills that have passed and show you how each Senator and/or Congressman has voted. Go to either http://legis.state.va.us or http://dls.state.va.us to follow bills and voting in the Virginia General Assembly.

AECP PUSHES FOR WEATHERIZATION SPECIALTY CONTRACTORS LICENSE

AECP has requested that the Virginia Dept. of Professional Occupation and Regulation (DPOR) consider the creation of a Weatherization Services Specialty Contractors classification. It is time for the Commonwealth to recognize the sophisticated building science measures that the Weatherization program utilizes every day and on every home that is weatherized. It is this same technology – blower door directed air sealing, duct diagnostics, pressure balancing, heating system safety testing, indoor air quality, etc. – pioneered by the program that is driving the green building and energy efficient home building movement in America. There is an opportunity for public comment in support of this effort. Please contact Billy Weitzenfeld at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information on how you can help support this effort. The deadline for public comment is July 29, 2005.

GREEN BUILDING SUPPLY STORE OPENS IN FLOYD CO.

ECO Solution LLC has opened a green building supply store in Copper Hill, Virginia, which is located in Floyd County. The store will feature environmentally friendly and sustainable building materials. These include:

  • Paints – zero VOC Safecoat paints, primers, sealers and interior/exterior stains. Bioshield clay and milk paints and penetrating sealers.
  • Flooring – All types of Bamboo and Coconut Palm flooring. Earth Weave wool carpet, natural cork flooring and Marmoleum – a natural linoleum.
  • Building materials - Cotton insulation, Wheat Board, Bamboo plywood, EnvirosafePlus lumber, and non-toxic adhesives and caulks.
  • Cleaners – a full line of Safecoat and Bioshield household cleaners.

ECO Solution’s mission is “to promote building solutions for a sustainable future”. They are also a full service painting and wallpapering company that provides sustainable and non-toxic options. Eco Solution is painting and wallpapering the education room of the Sustainable Living Education Center (SLEC) using all zero VOC paints and wall- paper adhesives. They are graciously providing the labor for this effort at no cost to SLEC.

ECO Solutions is owned an operated by Jon Roberts, Matt Sebas, and Katie Roberts. The store is located at 8909 Deer Run Road, Suite A, Copper Hill, VA (just off Highway 221) and they may be contacted at 540-929-4499. Give them a call and visit the store for information and sales of environmentally friendly and sustainable building products.

STRAW BALE STRUCTURE UNDER CONSTRUCTION AT SLEC

Groundbreaking has begun on a 325 square foot straw bale structure at the Jacksonville Center in Floyd, Virginia. This will be part of the Sustainable Living Education Center (SLEC) and will be used to educate people about green and alternative building methods. The straw bale space will also serve as a meeting room, artist studio, and space for poetry readings. Leon Davis, a recent Architecture graduate of Virginia Tech, has designed the building and will be spearheading the construction process. This is being done in partnership with Virginia Tech, The Jacksonville Center, AECP, and the SLEC Advisory Board.

Straw Bale construction uses baled straw from wheat, oats, barley, rye, rice and others in walls covered by stucco or natural plasters. It is important to differentiate from straw and hay. Straw is the dry plant material or stalk left in the field after a plant has matured, been harvested for seed, and is no longer alive. Hay bales are made from livestock feed grass that is green/alive and not suitable for construction application. The straw bale technique was practiced in the plains states in the 1800’s and early 1900’s and many of these structures are still standing. This technique has been recently revived as a low-cost green building method with a high insulation value (R-30 to R-45).

There are two basic styles of straw bale construction: post and beam construction with the straw bales used as wall infill and structural straw bale construction where the bales are load-bearing and support the weight of the roof. The SLEC straw bale will be post and beam and will use a natural earth/clay plaster versus a concrete stucco.

AECP HOSTS 12TH ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING

AECP will host its 12th annual membership meeting in conjunction with the Virginia Council Against Poverty and Virginia Weatherization Program’s Interchange at the new Hilton Hotel in Virginia Beach, VA. The meeting will be from 10-12 on Monday, June 13. A reception sponsored by Conservation Strategies will be held at Mahi Mahs at 6th and Atlantic that same evening from 5-7. All AECP members are welcome to attend.

VSBN HOSTS 10TH ANNIVERSAY CELEBRATION

The Virginia Sustainable Building Network (VSBN) is hosting its 10th Anniversary celebration and Annual Meeting on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 at 11:00 a.m. at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, VA. Special guest speaker will be Richard Fedrizzi, CEO and Founding Chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council. Other highlights will an introduction of the new VSBN Board, green products and services exhibits, Virginia Green Innovation Awards, and a silent auction.

VSBN has spent the last 10 years promoting and advocating green building design and practice in the commercial and residential sector in Virginia. To register online and to learn more about VSBN visit their website at www.vsbn.org .

ENERGY TIP

Consider using at a minimum low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) or preferably zero VOC paints, primers, sealers and stains in all interior/exterior applications. Reducing or eliminating harmful off-gassing will improve air quality – indoors and outside.

CONGRESSMAN VISITS WEATHERIZED HOME

Congressman Jim Moran, Virginia Democrat, visited a home in Alexandria on April 12 that had been recently weatherized. Weatherization services were provided by Community Housing Partners Corporation (CHPC) under guidelines set by the Virginia Weatherization Assistance Program. CHPC is a non-profit housing corporation that provides Weatherization services in Northern Virginia, as well as in other areas of the state.

Congressman Moran stated, “this local-state-federal partnership brings low-income families in Virginia and across the country life changing assistance. With gas and oil prices going through the roof, people’s wallets are being hit hard as they try to take care of their families. The Virginia Weatherization Assistance Program, operated by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, in conjunction with the Community Housing Partners Corporation cuts through the bureaucratic red tape to help make a difference in the lives of real people in need.”

Once the home is completely weatherized, the occupants are expected to save 26% in their total monthly energy bills. The Weatherization Assistance Program is the U.S. Department of Energy’s core program for reducing energy costs for low-income families through increased home energy efficiency, while ensuring health and safety. Over 2,500 homes were weatherized in Virginia last year.

ACID RAIN

Acid rain is a serious environmental problem that is increasing and is affecting large parts of the United States and Canada. Gaseous and particulate pollutants in the atmosphere – primarily sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) – are the main causes of acid rain. In the US, about 2/3 of all SO2 and ¼ of all NOx comes from electric power generation that relies on burning fossil fuels like coal. Acid rain occurs when these gases react in the atmosphere with water, oxygen, and other chemicals to form acidic compounds. Sunlight increases the rate of most of these reactions. The result is a mild solution of sulfuric and nitric acid that mixes with natural rainfall.

Acid rain penetrates deeply into the fabric of an ecosystem, changing the chemistry of the soil, changing the chemistry of lakes and streams, and reducing dramatically the space where certain plants and animals can live. These changes can take decades or even centuries – especially in the case of acid deposited into soils – to heal.

Acid rain is another by-product of energy use and represents another reason to make changes in order to preserve and protect our environment. Energy conservation, burning natural gas in power plants instead of coal, installing scrubbers in old coal-fired power plants, using more renewable energy resources, and spending more money to restore damaged ecosystems are steps that must be taken as the threat of acid rain increases and continues.

AECP ANNUAL MEETING

AECP will hold its annual membership meeting on June 13, 2005 at the Hilton Hotel in Virginia Beach. The meeting will be from 10-12 and all AECP members are invited to attend.

AECP WORKSHOP

Another AECP workshop on how to obtain a Virginia Contractors license will be held in Charlottesville on June 7 and 8. The first workshop was held in Lynchburg on April 27 and 28. Virginia Weatherization programs will now be required to hold a class A or B license and AECP is offering workshops to help people understand the application process and successfully take the required exam.

FLOYD ART CENTER SPONSORS ART FROM RECYCLED MATERIALS

The Jacksonville Center, home for AECP headquarters, is hosting an exhibit of art comprised from recycled materials. In honor of Earth Day, the exhibit opened on April 22 and will run until early June. The art represented in the exhibit run the gamut from recycled polystyrene, discarded dictionary paper, recycled business envelopes, products from demolitions, discarded building materials, old cardboard, engine parts, and much more. The art is beautiful to look at and exists as a reminder that recycling and re-using materials of all types is a vital and important sustainable activity.

ENERGY TIP

You can reduce your air-conditioning costs by 8% simply by changing the thermostat setting a degree or two. For energy conservation we recommend a summer setting of 78 degrees.

COMMUNITY HOUSING PARTNERS WINS NATIONAL HOUSING AWARD

AECP member Community Housing Partners (CHP) received the 2007 ENERGY STAR award for Excellence in Energy-Efficient Affordable Housing. The award was presented to CHP by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) in recognition of CHP’s efforts to provide energy-efficient housing for low-income residents. The award specifically recognizes CHP’s Roanoke-Lee Street Duplex project, which is located in Blacksburg, VA, for utilizing energy-efficient technologies in affordable housing initiatives and educating the consumers of the ENERGY STAR benefits.

Through a partnership with the Town of Blacksburg, the 14 units, ranging from 1,000 to 1,300 square feet, are now home to 14 first time low-to moderate-income homebuyers and their families. Each duplex unit is an ENERGY STAR Qualified new home, which means that according to the EPA, they are at least 15% more energy efficient standard homes, using substantially less energy for heating, cooling, water heating, lighting, and appliances. To ensure each home’s true efficiency and durability, all systems and features were manually tested by CHP staff who are Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) certified technicians and produced energy rating scores ranging from 72-74 on all units, thereby achieving the Energy Star Rating.

Community Housing partners is a 501©(3) community development corporation that serves the needs of low-income and low-wealth individuals and families in the southeast. Their mission is to strengthen communities and create opportunities for the people they serve by assisting individuals with their housing, economic, and social needs. Activities include sustainable development, architectural design, construction, energy services, homeownership, housing management, and resident and youth services.

EARTHCRAFT HOUSE PROGRAM INTRODUCED IN VIRGINIA

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine helped launch an initiative that provides Virginia homebuyers with a one-stop source for homes that save money on energy and utility bills, provide excellent indoor air quality, are durable, and feature environmentally friendly products. To qualify for this program, a builder must be a member of their local homebuilders association, register with the national program and complete a training course. Each new home is required to pass a final inspection before being certified as an EarthCraft House. The inspection is based on a flexible point system that requires a minimum of 150 points for a house to be certified in the following areas: site planning, energy efficient techniques and equipment, resource efficient design and materials, waste management, indoor air quality, water conservation, home buyer education, and builder operations.

AECP member Shelter Alternatives, a design and build company located in Blacksburg, VA is now a certified EarthCraft Builder.

AECP SPONSORS HEAT PUMP TRAINING

AECP will sponsor a two-day training at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg, VA on April 18 and 19, 2007. The training will focus on heat pumps, electrical safety, and wiring schematics. The instructor is Mike Alderman, HVAC professor with the college.

TREES HELP FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING

Spring is here and this is a great opportunity to slow the effects of greenhouse gases by planting trees. As trees grow they remove carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, from the air, storing carbon in the trees and the soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. While your trees absorb carbon dioxide they also reduce the amount of fossil fuels burned for heating and cooling. Deciduous trees planted on the south side of your home can provide shade in the summer and reduce cooling costs by 15 to 50%. Evergreen trees planted on the north and west side of your home can provide a barrier to cold winter winds and reduce heating costs by as much as 25%.

ENERGY TIP

Just as wearing white clothes reflects the suns heat from your body, a white or light-colored roof will help reflect the suns heat away from your home. This strategy works particularly well when trees are located next to the reflecting surface. Not only do trees provide shade, they absorb the reflected sunlight for photosynthesis. In the process, water evaporates from the tree, cooling the air around the house.

CELEBRATE EARTH DAY – APRIL 22, 2005

Earth Day will be thirty- five years old on April 22, 2005. The first earth day was in 1970 and marks the birth of the modern environmental movement. Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson was a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin and he proposed the first nationwide environmental protest “to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda”. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. At this time – Americans were using leaded gas in massive V-8 engines, industry emitted toxic smoke and sludge with no fear of consequence, air pollution was accepted as a sign of a strong economy, and the environment as an issue was generally non-existent. But Earth Day changed all of this. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, air and water pollution, toxic dumps, the extinction of wildlife, unlimited use of pesticides and herbicides, and the loss of wilderness – all realized that they shared common values. Earth Day 1970 enjoyed an unusual assemblage of support. Organized labor provided the bulk of financing for the effort and Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban and rural dwellers, industrial leaders and labor leaders, and people from all walks of life gathered together for this first Earth Day celebration. The first Earth Day also led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, And the Endangered Species Act.

But that was then and this is now. After thirty years of relative bipartisan and international support for the environment we are now witnessing an assault on the environment from an administration and a Congress that seems determined to ignore science and significantly weaken the Clean Air and Water Act, limit the legal enforcement capability of the EPA, and pretty much dismantle all of the positive impact and results of that first Earth Day held thirty-five years ago. This is more than ironic considering the problems that face us as a nation and as a world community. Problems such as global warming, rocketing and out of control energy prices, the continued dependence on foreign oil and the burning of fossil fuels as energy resources, increased carbon dioxide emissions, a continued lack of subsidies for the renewable energy industry, a refusal to upgrade fuel efficiency standards, and so it goes.

Scary times for sure but also a time when the importance of Earth Day is magnified and the need for individual choice and decision-making intensified. Here are some things that all of us can do to help protect our environment and to honor the noble outcome of that very first Earth Day:

  • Celebrate Earth Day in your community. Go to www.earthday.net to find activities and events in your area.
  • Plant a tree. Trees provide oxygen, can provide energy efficiency opportunities, provide natural habitat, and are a natural way to minimize carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • Reduce waste in the home, in your business, and in your personal lifestyle.
  • Reduce energy use. Practice energy efficiency in the home and reduce home energy consumption by making better energy decisions.
  • Vote for candidates locally, statewide, and nationally who will give environmental protection a priority.

AECP DIRECTOR SELECTED TO SERVE ON GREEN COUNCIL BOARD

AECP Executive Director, Billy Weitzenfeld, has been selected to serve on the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) SW Virginia Organizing Chapter’s Board of Directors. Mr. Weitzenfeld will Chair the Education Committee. This organization exists to promote green building practice and application within the southwestern region of Virginia and, as a chapter, will be responsible to the national USGBC organization.

AECP SCHEDULES WORKSHOP

AECP has scheduled a workshop on the process involved in obtaining a Virginia Contractor’s License. The workshop is free to all AECP members and will be held on April 27 and 28 in Lynchburg, VA at the Mobile Home Training Center. An agenda and registration form have been sent out via e-mail to all AECP members. Please contact Billy Weitzenfeld at 540-745-2838 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

ENERGY TIP

With warm weather approaching it is important to provide your air conditioner with the following maintenance:

  • Check for refrigerant leaks
  • Check all filters for cleaning or replacement
  • Clean air conditioner coils
  • Check all electrical contacts and connections for corrosion and wear
  • If it is a forced air system – be sure that all ducts are sealed and properly insulated
  • If you are buying a new system – buy one that is Energy Star certified

KYOTO PACT FINALLY GOES INTO EFFECT

The Kyoto global warming pact went into force on February 16, 2005, seven years after it was negotiated. The pact imposes limits on the emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that scientists blame for rising world temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising oceans. This landmark agreement negotiated in Japan in 1997 and ratified by 140 nations, targets carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases that can trap heat in the atmosphere, and are believed to be behind rising global temperatures that are disrupting weather patterns. According to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. National Academy of Science – increased greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming, which will result in increased flooding, drought, disease, species extinction, and extreme weather conditions. Greenhouse gas is primarily produced by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas.

The United States, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has refused to ratify the Kyoto pact saying it would harm the U.S. economy and is flawed by the lack of restrictions on emissions by emerging economies China and India.

 

GORE FIGHTS AUTOMAKERS EMISSIONS SUIT

Former Vice-President Al Gore will call on automakers to drop their lawsuit against California’s tough new vehicle emissions standards. The California law, adopted in September, is the first in the nation to limit carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. Carbon dioxide is believed to be the primary greenhouse gas causing global warming.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers sued in December, alleging that carbon dioxide limits are the equivalent of fuel-economy standards. Only the federal government can regulate fuel economy, the alliance argues. This same alliance used all of their political muscle to defeat recent U.S. Senate attempts to raise the federal fuel efficiency standards. Gore has announced a national campaign that will attempt to persuade the automakers to “innovate and not litigate”.

 

AECP MEMBER RECEIVES “BUILDER OF THE YEAR” AWARD


Shelter Alternatives, a custom home- builder based in Blacksburg, VA, has just been awarded the “Builder of the Year” award from the New River Valley Home Builders Association. Shelter was founded in 1988 and has designed and built over 100 new homes and additions in the New River Valley of Virginia. Their stated goal is to design and build high quality, competitively priced, and energy efficient houses, additions, and remodeling projects. Shelter Alternatives is the only five-time recipient of the “Design Excellence Award” from the New River Valley Home Builders Association. Shelter is a member of AECP and has participated as an exhibitor in our last three Energy Expos.

SLEC FORMS ADVISORY BOARD

The Sustainable Living Education Center (SLEC) has formed an Advisory Board to help provide guidance and decision-making capabilities. The Board is comprised of Board members from AECP, The Jacksonville Center, and Architectural Alternatives. SLEC is an effort to develop and implement a permanent and evolving showcase of hands on, interactive educational exhibits, displays, and demonstrations that highlight the importance of sustainable living. SLEC will be housed at the Jacksonville Center in Floyd, VA in the same building where AECP currently maintains an office. AECP and the Jacksonville Center have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will act as a working agreement in the management of SLEC. Billy Weitzenfeld, Executive Director of AECP will serve as Executive Director of SLEC as well. AECP members of the Advisory Board are Bill Beachy - AECP President, Joanne Langford – AECP Treasurer, and Billy Weitzenfeld.

AECP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR APPOINTED TO POLICY COUNCIL

AECP Executive Director, Billy Weitzenfeld has been appointed to the Virginia Weatherization Policy Advisory Council. The Council is comprised of public and private individuals and will be responsible for providing oversight to state weatherization staff in areas of weatherization policy.

 

ENERGY TIP

Cooking requires the use of energy so always use a lid on pans when cooking. Without a lid, cooking can use as much as three times more energy. A microwave oven can use 70% less energy than a stove.

KYOTO PACT FINALLY GOES INTO EFFECT

The Kyoto global warming pact went into force on February 16, 2005, seven years after it was negotiated. The pact imposes limits on the emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that scientists blame for rising world temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising oceans. This landmark agreement negotiated in Japan in 1997 and ratified by 140 nations, targets carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases that can trap heat in the atmosphere, and are believed to be behind rising global temperatures that are disrupting weather patterns. According to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. National Academy of Science – increased greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming, which will result in increased flooding, drought, disease, species extinction, and extreme weather conditions. Greenhouse gas is primarily produced by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas.

The United States, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has refused to ratify the Kyoto pact saying it would harm the U.S. economy and is flawed by the lack of restrictions on emissions by emerging economies China and India.

 

GORE FIGHTS AUTOMAKERS EMISSIONS SUIT

Former Vice-President Al Gore will call on automakers to drop their lawsuit against California’s tough new vehicle emissions standards. The California law, adopted in September, is the first in the nation to limit carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. Carbon dioxide is believed to be the primary greenhouse gas causing global warming.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers sued in December, alleging that carbon dioxide limits are the equivalent of fuel-economy standards. Only the federal government can regulate fuel economy, the alliance argues. This same alliance used all of their political muscle to defeat recent U.S. Senate attempts to raise the federal fuel efficiency standards. Gore has announced a national campaign that will attempt to persuade the automakers to “innovate and not litigate”.

 

AECP MEMBER RECEIVES “BUILDER OF THE YEAR” AWARD


Shelter Alternatives, a custom home- builder based in Blacksburg, VA, has just been awarded the “Builder of the Year” award from the New River Valley Home Builders Association. Shelter was founded in 1988 and has designed and built over 100 new homes and additions in the New River Valley of Virginia. Their stated goal is to design and build high quality, competitively priced, and energy efficient houses, additions, and remodeling projects. Shelter Alternatives is the only five-time recipient of the “Design Excellence Award” from the New River Valley Home Builders Association. Shelter is a member of AECP and has participated as an exhibitor in our last three Energy Expos.

SLEC FORMS ADVISORY BOARD

The Sustainable Living Education Center (SLEC) has formed an Advisory Board to help provide guidance and decision-making capabilities. The Board is comprised of Board members from AECP, The Jacksonville Center, and Architectural Alternatives. SLEC is an effort to develop and implement a permanent and evolving showcase of hands on, interactive educational exhibits, displays, and demonstrations that highlight the importance of sustainable living. SLEC will be housed at the Jacksonville Center in Floyd, VA in the same building where AECP currently maintains an office. AECP and the Jacksonville Center have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will act as a working agreement in the management of SLEC. Billy Weitzenfeld, Executive Director of AECP will serve as Executive Director of SLEC as well. AECP members of the Advisory Board are Bill Beachy - AECP President, Joanne Langford – AECP Treasurer, and Billy Weitzenfeld.

AECP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR APPOINTED TO POLICY COUNCIL

AECP Executive Director, Billy Weitzenfeld has been appointed to the Virginia Weatherization Policy Advisory Council. The Council is comprised of public and private individuals and will be responsible for providing oversight to state weatherization staff in areas of weatherization policy.

 

ENERGY TIP

Cooking requires the use of energy so always use a lid on pans when cooking. Without a lid, cooking can use as much as three times more energy. A microwave oven can use 70% less energy than a stove.

BPI RECEIVES EPA GRANT TO IMPROVE HOME ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded a one million dollar grant to the Building Performance Institute (BPI) to advance the development of a national infrastructure of certified technicians and accredited contractors to deliver whole house energy efficiency improvements. As a result, homeowners will have a better opportunity to identify and hire professionals who have been tested and certified in the skills needed to improve home energy performance.

BPI is located in Malta , NY and has several years experience with certification and accreditation in the state of New York . BPI also has a long history and relationship with the Weatherization Assistance Program in several states and has provided certifications to many Weatherization professionals. Much of the criteria used by BPI in their certification process are based on building science techniques that have been pioneered by the Weatherization Program.

This grant to BPI will expand its efforts of technician testing, set additional standards for whole-house diagnostics for heating and cooling systems and the building envelope, and will enhance its quality assurance requirements. BPI will review its current standards with a nationally recognized group of building science experts and increase capacity through the development of an affiliate network.

This certification and accreditation process not only provides the homeowner and consumer with an effective measuring tool in determining who to hire to improve home energy issues but it also creates a professional standard within the home energy performance industry. This standard creates opportunities for professional growth, appropriate wages, and professional benchmarks that will better define and greatly improve the building science industry. Learn more about BPI at www.bpi.org .

AECP was involved with BPI at its inception and served as a proctor in BPI’s first efforts to provide professional certifications to Weatherization staff in New York State . AECP also wrote a letter of support in BPI’s successful efforts to receive this grant.


“FATHER” OF WEATHERIZATION PASSES


Richard Saul, a long time low-income advocate, developer of federal anti-poverty programs, and conceiver of the Weatherization Assistance Program in 1973, died at his home in Washington D.C. on December 20. He was 77 years old. Mr. Saul was a lawyer who spent many years developing anti-poverty programs for the federal government through his work at the Office of Economic Opportunity, the Community Services Administration, and the Office of Economic Opportunity’s Community Action Program. He had direct involvement in the development of the Weatherization Program, VISTA , Community Action, community credit unions, consumer cooperatives, and job creation and economic development within the low-income community.

NAHB CREATES NEW GUIDELINES FOR GREEN BUILDING

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has developed voluntary guidelines for building green and affordable housing. The guidelines will help all builders build energy-efficient and environmentally friendly homes that are affordable and able to be built in any climate condition. The guidelines offer solutions for:

  • Lot design and preparation
  • Energy and water efficiency
  • Indoor air quality
  • Home owner maintenance
  • Global impact
  • Site planning and land development


The guidelines were developed in a consensus process involving more than 60 stakeholders that included architects, manufacturers, home- builders, environmentalists, government agencies, suppliers, and trade associations.

A not-for profit educational initiative, the Green Building Initiative, has also been developed out of this effort and will provide market research and promotional support for green building programs. Check this out at www.thegbi.org

 

ENERGY TIP


If your house has lots of windows, particularly on the east and west sides, you can save money by shading the glass with awnings, solar screens, or shutters. In the summer, close your drapes and blinds during the hottest part of the day. During the winter, open drapes and blinds on the sunny side of the house during the day to warm your home. Close them at night to retain heat.

HHS RELEASES EMERGENCY ENERGY ASSISTANCE FUNDS

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson announced December 23 that $100 million in emergency funds will be immediately provided to states, territories and tribes from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help low-income families pay their heating bills.

The funds will provide states with extra assistance, over and above the $1.2 billion sent to states last October, to help with winter heating costs. The $100 million uses one-third of the contingency funds made available by the FY 2005 omnibus appropriations bill. The remaining $200 million in contingency funds will be reserved for future heating and cooling emergencies.

In Virginia – state law requires that 15% of any LIHEAP allocation to the state, including contingency funds, be transferred to the Virginia Weatherization Program. So the program will receive $325,000 in additional funds to provide weatherization services across the state.

U.S. GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS INCREASE

According to a recently released report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased by .07% in 2003, from 6,891 million metric tons to 6,936 million metric tons. Emissions of carbon dioxide from energy consumption and industrial processes grew by 0.8%, from 5,825 million metric tons in 2002 to 5,870 million metric tons in 2003. Since 1990, energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide have risen 16%.

Greenhouse gases, which include methane, nitrous oxide, as well as carbon dioxide, are the leading cause of global warming and are the result of the burning of fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. This burning of fossil fuels is also responsible for releasing fine particulate matter into the air, which according to the American Lung Association is causing thousands of pre-mature deaths in America.

So the good news will be when we actually begin to decrease greenhouse gas emissions through conservation, greater efficiency, and a broader application and use of renewable energy.

DOE LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a new website with detailed information and tips on how to save money by developing smart energy habits. The site, www.EnergySavingTips.gov serves as a consumer-friendly portal to detailed energy saving information from various federal agencies. There will be information on where to buy Energy Star appliances, where to buy the cheapest gasoline, comparisons of vehicle fuel efficiency, information on buying hybrid cars, and what federal, local, and state tax incentives and utility rebates are available, and much more.

WIND POWER QUADRUPLES IN GROWTH

Wind power accounted for only about one-tenth of 1 percent of total U.S. electric power generation capacity in 2003, but wind power capacity quadruples between 1990 and 2003. Most of the nation’s wind potential remains untapped. Wind power’s growth will depend largely on the continued availability of federal and state financial incentives, including tax credits, and expected increases in prices for fossil fuels.

CALIFORNIA SETS NEW ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS

California has approved new appliance efficiency standards that will save consumers money and reduce pollution. The standards will save more than 5,000 gigawatt/hours of energy per year, more than the amount of electricity used by all San Francisco residences.

The new standards will apply to external power supplies, swimming pool pumps, electronic products, TV set top boxes, refrigeration, and certain lighting products. These new regulations will save consumers about $2 billion by 2020 by reducing energy consumption through more energy efficient appliances.

ENERGY TIP

Drive Sensibly. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.

HHS RELEASES EMERGENCY ENERGY ASSISTANCE FUNDS

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson announced December 23 that $100 million in emergency funds will be immediately provided to states, territories and tribes from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help low-income families pay their heating bills.

The funds will provide states with extra assistance, over and above the $1.2 billion sent to states last October, to help with winter heating costs. The $100 million uses one-third of the contingency funds made available by the FY 2005 omnibus appropriations bill. The remaining $200 million in contingency funds will be reserved for future heating and cooling emergencies.

In Virginia – state law requires that 15% of any LIHEAP allocation to the state, including contingency funds, be transferred to the Virginia Weatherization Program. So the program will receive $325,000 in additional funds to provide weatherization services across the state.

U.S. GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS INCREASE

According to a recently released report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased by .07% in 2003, from 6,891 million metric tons to 6,936 million metric tons. Emissions of carbon dioxide from energy consumption and industrial processes grew by 0.8%, from 5,825 million metric tons in 2002 to 5,870 million metric tons in 2003. Since 1990, energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide have risen 16%.

Greenhouse gases, which include methane, nitrous oxide, as well as carbon dioxide, are the leading cause of global warming and are the result of the burning of fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. This burning of fossil fuels is also responsible for releasing fine particulate matter into the air, which according to the American Lung Association is causing thousands of pre-mature deaths in America.

So the good news will be when we actually begin to decrease greenhouse gas emissions through conservation, greater efficiency, and a broader application and use of renewable energy.

DOE LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a new website with detailed information and tips on how to save money by developing smart energy habits. The site, www.EnergySavingTips.gov serves as a consumer-friendly portal to detailed energy saving information from various federal agencies. There will be information on where to buy Energy Star appliances, where to buy the cheapest gasoline, comparisons of vehicle fuel efficiency, information on buying hybrid cars, and what federal, local, and state tax incentives and utility rebates are available, and much more.

WIND POWER QUADRUPLES IN GROWTH

Wind power accounted for only about one-tenth of 1 percent of total U.S. electric power generation capacity in 2003, but wind power capacity quadruples between 1990 and 2003. Most of the nation’s wind potential remains untapped. Wind power’s growth will depend largely on the continued availability of federal and state financial incentives, including tax credits, and expected increases in prices for fossil fuels.

CALIFORNIA SETS NEW ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS

California has approved new appliance efficiency standards that will save consumers money and reduce pollution. The standards will save more than 5,000 gigawatt/hours of energy per year, more than the amount of electricity used by all San Francisco residences.

The new standards will apply to external power supplies, swimming pool pumps, electronic products, TV set top boxes, refrigeration, and certain lighting products. These new regulations will save consumers about $2 billion by 2020 by reducing energy consumption through more energy efficient appliances.

ENERGY TIP

Drive Sensibly. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.