October is Energy Month!

by Carrie Webster, Energy Manager- General Services

October marks the start of energy action month, a national effort to raise awareness of energy conservation and efficiency.  There are many ways to save energy at work and in your personal lives so that you’ll not only be conserving resources and improving the environment, you’ll also save money! 

The difference between conservation and efficiency is an important distinction to know.  Conservation refers to using less energy with the tools and technologies that you already have.  Examples of conservation include turning off the lights or setting back the temperature on your thermostat.  Efficiency means improving on your systems to perform the same function while using less energy.  Examples of efficiency include changing out light bulbs to more efficient LEDs or adding insulation to a building.  Conservation measures cost nothing—they are simple behavior changes.  Efficiency measures may come with a cost but in time you will see a return on investment with energy savings. 

Here are five simple conservation measures that you can practice at work or at home:

  1. Turn off the lights when not in use.  You’ve heard it 1000 times and it remains the easiest way to conserve energy! 
  2. Put your computer in sleep mode when not in use.  Despite their name, screen savers do not save energy. Sleep mode uses practically no energy and allows you to return to your work fairly quickly.  You could also turn your monitor(s) off when not in use if you prefer that to using sleep mode.
  3. Think before printing.  Do you really need to print that?  Printing uses energy and paper.  If you must print, use the shared office printer instead of individual desktop printers so only one piece of equipment has to be kept on. 
  4. Use your window blinds smartly.  To avoid heat gain in warm weather and make the most of passive heat in cold weather, lower blinds on hot days and raise them on cold days. Also, close them on cold nights before leaving the office or when you are at home.
  5. Unplug chargers and electronics when not in use.  Small amounts of electricity, called standby power or vampire power, are drawn by chargers, small appliances and electronics when plugged in.  Unplug or use a power strip that can be switched off when these items aren’t needed.

The Henrico County Energy Management program strives to reduce energy use and costs in County buildings and operations, and to foster a culture of sustainability and stewardship.  The Energy Fair is held twice a year to help County employees, residents and businesses learn about energy and sustainability products, services and resources available in the Richmond area. 

This year’s fall fair will be held at the Western Government Center on Friday October 19 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  The fair is free and open to the public.  Gifts and goodies will be available for all attendees while supplies last.  This year’s gift is a portable power bank—get there early to make sure you get one!  You can learn more at https://henrico.us/calendar/fall-energy-fair/. If you have questions, please contact Carrie Webster by email at [email protected] or by phone (804)501-5763.