VES_GoGreen- As you’re swapping out that old incandescent bulb for an LED or weatherizing your home ahead of a major snow storm, it may not be clear at first how that energy efficient bulb can have a domino effect on other areas of your life. While taking steps toward energy efficiency benefits you, it also helps your neighbors, your community, and your country – it can even make an impact globally. Here are some unexpected ways that practicing good energy saving habits may accomplish even more than you thought. Big Benefits for the Environment When less energy is used by consumers and companies, power plants produce less energy based on reduced demand. This ultimately translates into less pollution, reducing the overall impact on the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the residential and commercial sectors accounted for 12 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, with emissions coming mainly from electricity usage and fossil fuel consumption. Saving energy through rebates is one way to cut back on electricity use and in turn, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Go Green to Save Green While it’s not a shock that saving energy also helps you save money, you might not realize how much of an impact practicing greater energy efficiency can have on your wallet. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Saver Guide, the typical U.S. household consumes about 11,280 kWh per year, costing an average of $1,340 annually. So making a few changes at home really adds up – and it doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Switching to LEDs that use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent lightbulbs or setting your programmable thermostat to heat and cool based on when you’re at home can reduce your energy bill. While you may not see any immediate difference in your bills, your wallet will ultimately thank you for taking these steps that lead to long-term savings. By Powering Down, You Help the Economy Power Up Energy efficiency upgrades reduce your energy bill and on a larger scale, help businesses, cities, and states save money through decreased energy costs. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. in 2014 required only 6,110 BTUs of energy to produce each real dollar of GDP, the least amount of energy needed in U.S. history. In addition, energy efficient standards for buildings, appliances, and other goods we consume daily create jobs, thus aiding in lowering the U.S. unemployment rate. One other way energy efficiency benefits the economy is through increased innovation across industries. As standards called for light bulbs to be more energy efficient, companies and industry leaders have developed new bulbs that use up to 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. We may not always directly see the impact of our efforts to save energy, but we can rest assured that we’re helping ourselves and everyone else in the process. By taking simple steps at home and at work to reduce energy consumption, your will reduce your energy bill, help the environment, protect your health and boost the economy. Visit our website for more information on how you can take action be energy efficient.  

Lesson Plans
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Get your students energized about responsible energy use! In partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, we’ve created fun, multi-day, Lesson plans to help you teach your students how to understand and conserve energy! They’re classroom-ready and free to use!