October is Energy Month

October is National Energy Awareness Month as designated by the U.S. Department of Energy, and October 6th is Energy Efficiency Day.

Join Henrico Energy Management to celebrate on Wednesday October 6th from 11:30-1:30 in conjunction with the food trucks in the plaza between the Administration Building and the parking deck. Henrico Public Works, Henrico Libraries, Henricopolis Soil & Water Conservation, and Keep Henrico Beautiful will also be there to share information on their environmental programs. Insulated lunch bags (for first 100 visitors) and other fun gifts will be available. Please wear a mask when interacting with the representatives at the tables. If weather or health conditions cancel the food truck event, then the energy event will also be cancelled.

Energy Awareness Month is an opportunity to focus on the ways we use energy in our lives, and to be reminded of ways to save energy that we can practice all year round. Reducing energy use not only saves money, it also has environmental benefits such as improving air quality and conserving natural resources. There are three main energy awareness strategies: conservation, efficiency, and renewables. Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Conservation – reducing energy use through simple behavior changes such as:
    1. Turning off lights that aren’t needed
    2. Setting back the thermostat
    3. Unplugging chargers and electronic devices when not in use
    4. Using power-saving settings on computers and printers
  2. Efficiency – making upgrades to perform the same tasks with less energy such as:
    1. Changing out older light bulbs to LEDs,
    2. Adding insulation or weatherstripping to keep conditioned air in
    3. Installing smart devices that adjust/turn off automatically
    4. Replacing inefficient HVAC equipment with new efficient models
  3. Renewables – changing from traditional utility energy to more sustainable renewable sources:
    1. Evaluate homes, businesses, and institutional buildings to see if they’re good candidates for solar systems

For more information about saving energy at your home or business, there are two local non-profit organizations that offer energy education, energy audits, efficiency measures, and support to go solar. Find resources at Viridiant at https://www.viridiant.org/ and Local Energy Alliance Program at https://leap-va.org/.

To learn more about what Henrico County is doing for energy, sustainability, and the environment, go to https://henrico.us/go-green/.  If you have any questions, please contact Henrico’s Energy Manager Carrie Webster at 804-501-5763 or [email protected].


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Job Burnout: what is it and how the Employee Assistance Program can help

The COVID-19 pandemic has created stress in workplaces. Many workers made significant adjustments to their normal routines. Some worked from home, some were forced to juggle children participating in virtual learning while trying to complete their work, and others were faced with the reality of day-to-day interactions with the public and the increased risk of catching COVID-19. For many people, the stress has accumulated as the pandemic has lingered. A recent research article noted, “COVID-19 has contributed to greater risk of employees encountering job burnout—a chronic stress syndrome, including permanent feelings of exhaustion and a distant attitude toward work”.

The consequences of job burnout can be serious and are compounded by the sense of isolation many people have experienced during the pandemic. Employees may experience decreased job satisfaction, increased irritability and depression, and increased use of alcohol or other substances. In response to job burnout, some workers experience increased physical ailments like headaches, fatigue, and gastrointestinal ailments.

The first step in addressing job burnout is realizing that you are experiencing it. Many workers simply press on with their job paying little attention to their physical and mental health. The Mayo Clinic suggests some questions to ask yourself:

  • Have you become more critical or cynical at work?
  • Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
  • Have you been irritable or impatient with co-workers or customers?

It may be beneficial to check with co-workers or family members and see if they notice changes in your behavior or attitude, too.

When people are experiencing burnout, there are some effective strategies to help manage it. For most individuals, regular exercise, healthy eating and planned opportunities to relax can alleviate the situation. Other people may experience more serious symptoms of depression and may benefit from professional help through a therapist or an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

The Employee Assistance Program also offers free articles, courses, and other resources to help improve your mental and physical health. If you think you are experiencing burnout or simply added stress, please visit the Employee Assistance Program page on the Employee Portal to see what options are available to you and how EAP may help.

Some additional resources include:

Seven Powerful Ways to Beat Burnout (https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2016/11/08/7-powerful-ways-to-beat-burnout/?sh=710f558761e6)

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Breast Cancer – The who, what, where, when, and sometimes, why.

What affects your risk of breast cancer? 

The exact causes of breast cancer are not fully known. No one knows why one person gets breast cancer, yet another doesn’t. However, some things increase (or decrease) the chance of getting breast cancer, called risk factors.

Breast Cancer is complex and likely caused by a combination of multiple risk factors. Some you can control, like leading a healthy lifestyle, while some are out of your control, like getting older.

Since you can only control some factors, you cannot completely avoid the chance of getting breast cancer. Plus, most of the risk factors that can be mitigated have only a minimal effect on the probability of developing the disease. This means no one behavior will prevent breast cancer, but it also means there’s no single factor that will guarantee cancer will develop. The best advice in breast cancer prevention is to talk with your doctor about your risk.

Make healthy lifestyle choices

Most people with breast cancer were at average risk. We don’t know which factors came together to cause breast cancer. However, some healthy lifestyle choices may reduce the risk of cancer:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Add exercise to your routine.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Limit menopausal hormone use.
  • Breastfeed, if you can.

Get the facts about breast cancer

Because the causes of breast cancer are not fully known, there are many myths about the disease. Here are some basic facts to know:

  • The most common risk factors for breast cancer are being female and getting older.
  • Risk factors can vary by race and ethnicity.
  • Most women who get breast cancer don’t have a family history of breast cancer
  • Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Wearing a bra doesn’t cause breast cancer.

Other Resources

Visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. for safe, accurate, and current breast cancer information.

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (the Gail Model) is often used by doctors to estimate risk. Although the tool can estimate your risk, it cannot tell whether you’ll get breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society provides information on breast cancer awareness, diagnosis, treatment, and staying well after treatment.

Join the Challenge – 35 miles in 31 days

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