Now’s the Time to Conserve Energy

by Carrie Webster, Energy Manager, Department of General Services

As we approach heating season and electricity and natural gas prices increase, there is no better time to practice energy conservation and efficiency at home and work. According to Dominion Energy, the average home energy bill will increase by $12-$20 per month due to rate increases approved by the State Corporation Commission in September. Richmond Gas Works also notified its customers in July of price increases that will add, on average, $38 to the monthly bill for homes that use gas heat.  

Here are some cold-weather energy tips to consider:

  • Keep your thermostat set at 68 degrees or below, per the US Department of Energy heating recommendations.  
  • Open blinds and curtains that let in sunlight during the day, and close the blinds and curtains at night to keep heat inside the building.
  • Look for gaps and cracks around doors and windows that can be sealed with weatherization products such as caulk or foam.
  • Replace HVAC filters. Dirty filters reduce efficiency and make forced air systems work harder. Check filters monthly and replace them as needed (at least every three months is recommended).
  • Change incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs to LED for energy savings, longer lamp life, and better light quality in any season.  
  • Change the ceiling fan direction to clockwise to push air up and redistribute stratified warm air.
  • Conserve energy by doing the following:
    • Turn off lights, computers, and devices you aren’t using.
    • Unplug chargers and seldom-used equipment between uses.
    • Keep doors and windows closed when it’s colder outside than inside.

For more information about saving energy at your home, there are two local non-profit organizations that offer energy education, energy audits, efficiency measures, weatherization, and guidance to go solar. Find resources from Viridiant at https://www.viridiant.org/ and the 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.gov/go-green/. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Henrico’s Energy Manager, Carrie Webster, at 804-501-5763 or [email protected].