Feb 19

Energy Efficiency Help for Small Business

Posted on February 19, 2021 at 9:23 AM by Bob Lazaro

picture of air conditioning unitWhile there are several programs to help families reduce their home energy use, there are also programs offered by Dominion Energy to help Northern Virginia’s small business community.

According to Dominion Energy website a Small Business Improvement assessment will be conducted to help you identify ways you can make your business more energy efficient and even have part of the improvement costs refunded to you by Dominion Energy.

A contractor will perform an on-site energy assessment of your facility. They will then make recommendations on what measures can be installed and/or what re-commissioning can be performed to make your facility more energy efficient.

After the measures are installed, you will receive a personalized report showing the estimated energy savings you can expect – and once you’ve provided documentation of the improvements, a portion of your installation costs will be refunded to you.

The energy assessment provides you with many benefits:

  • Access to pre-qualified contractors who can perform both the assessment and the recommended improvements.
  • An on-site analysis of your business’s energy use
  • A report containing cost-effective options and easy-to-follow recommendations to help reduce energy usage.
  • Assessment and improvements scheduled at your convenience.
  • Financial incentives that help to offset cost for installing the recommended improvements.

Areas included in assessment:

  • Direct Install Lighting
  • Variable Frequency Drives
  • Efficient Heat Pumps
  • Efficient Air Conditioning Units
  • Prescriptive Re-commissioning

For eligibility requirements and for answers to frequently asked questions please visit the Dominion Energy web site: https://www.dominionenergy.com/virginia/save-energy/small-business-improvement or you can call 888-366-8280.

Feb 12

Is Green Infrastructure Critical Infrastructure? - Corey Miles

Posted on February 12, 2021 at 8:09 AM by Bob Lazaro

Green Space Photo
When you think about infrastructure, transportation networks, water treatment plants, sewer systems, electrical grid, etc. is typically what comes to mind. The Department of Homeland Security identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors1 . Natural landscapes and green infrastructure are not included in their list.  However, as the climate changes, it has become more apparent that green infrastructure such as wetlands, forests, and streams are just as critical and provide many benefits to a city and its residents.

For example, urban parks can be designed to act like sponges during storm events and decrease flooding while filtering pollutants. A range of Low Impact Development (LID) practices such as rain gardens, bioretention areas, and permeable pavement can be installed in parks and public spaces. Cities all over the world are leveraging green infrastructure to complement the gray infrastructure such as large underground networks of pipes and tunnels.

In addition to reducing the risk from runoff, parks and open spaces can help to preserve the urban tree canopy and provide a place for native plant gardens. A healthy tree canopy in an urban area can improve air quality, reduce the heat-island effect and create close-to-home opportunities for outdoor recreation and experiences with nature.

Beyond the challenges emanating from a changing climate, many areas are also facing a national health crisis. Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. have chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and 1 in 3 children is obese or overweight. Mental illness affects more than 46 million adults in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Mental Health2 .

Physical activity can reduce or prevent serious health problems, and a nearby park equipped with the right facilities and programming can help get people outside and moving. Spending just 20 minutes outdoors, especially in green spaces, can improve overall health and happiness. It’s been shown to lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate, while encouraging physical activity and buoying mood and mental health.3 Some research even suggests that green space is associated with a lower risk of developing psychiatric disorders. 

[1]   Department of Homeland Security, Critical Infrastructure Sectors https://www.cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors

[2] The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Statistics on Mental Illness https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml

[3] Hon K. Yuen & Gavin R. Jenkins (2020) Factors associated with changes in subjective well-being immediately after urban park visit, International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 30:2, 134-145, DOI: 10.1080/09603123.2019.1577368

Aug 20

Virtual Safe Walking Summit A Success - Debbie Spiliotopoulos

Posted on August 20, 2020 at 9:01 AM by Bob Lazaro

Walkability Summit SlideThe Northern Virginia Regional Commission, with America Walks, hosted a virtual safe walking summit on August 19 for 86 attendees, showcasing data and multi sector initiatives to reduce crashes and increase community safety and health in Virginia.

Presenters included Virginia Departments of Transportation, Motor Vehicles, and Health, and Arlington County, Fairfax County, City of Fairfax, Prince William County, AARP, and Inova Trauma Services.

Panels presented new initiatives and approaches to reduce incidents, engage communities, evaluate crashes through the lens of public health, and make safe walking and transit more equitable across communities.

The event ended with conference calls among smaller groups to solve how better to engage communities, what training materials would support efforts, and using community based information such as walk audits and SRTS projects.

NVRC will produce a resource list, video recording, and Q&A from the summit to be posted on the NVRC and Share VA Roads web sites.

This project was funded by a federal highway safety grant from Virginia DMV.