July 1st is our monthly Green Drinks meeting. We will be at Beyond Restaurant and Lounge from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend and share their ideas. This is a no agenda informal time to gather and talk about our community.
There is another event at 6pm at the Ice House Downtown. I encourage you to attend this important meeting: Virginia Energy Plan Listening Tour. This is our chance to voice opinions about what we think is important for the energy future of our state. The Virginia energy plan lays out a long-term strategy for the development and growth of the Virginia energy sector. Through executive order 16, Governor McAulliffe created the Virginia Energy Council to oversee the development of this energy plan. The committee is conduction a listening tour around the state to get input on the plan development.
Sharing your personal stories of how and why you have reduced energy usage through conservation or implemented alternative energy in your life would be very powerful. Talking about how education efforts from the State level and incentives to do more would push our community even further along would be excellent additions to the discussion. My personal hope is that this energy council will go back to the Governor and tell him that the Shenandoah Valley is poised to make major leaps forward in energy conservation and alternative energy implementation with a little help from Richmond. This is the last stop for the tour around the state. If you are not able to attend you can leave your comments online here: http://commerce.virginia.gov/2014-va-energy-plan/
Here are some ideas that a group of us building scientists have developed:
Themes and Agenda for Consideration in the Virginia Energy Plan
1. Building an infrastructure to expand Virginia’s home performance industry
- Creating incentives for homeowners to increase interest in home efficiency upgrades
- Supporting programs or structures for home performance contractors to participate in – this increases employment opportunities and local economic activity.
2. Increasing awareness and education for homeowners and home buyers
- Energy efficiency improvements will often be a lower consideration for homeowners and home buyers (next to location, cosmetic/structural upgrades, and other amenities). Increasing awareness and providing incentives can move energy efficiency improvements up on the list, benefiting both the homeowner and contractors in the home performance industry.
3. Improving Virginia’s energy code and code enforcement in residential new construction – Educating code officials and contractors on the rationale to increase consistent adoption and enforcement
- Raising the bar for energy efficiency, even minimally, adds value for all new homeowners by lowering their utility bills and increasing cash flow for other economic activity.
- Reducing total energy consumption helps defer the substantial costs of bringing new utility generation online.