Energy efficiency has its day(s)

by Liz Gamache, Director of Efficiency Vermont

There are some big events happening around the concept of energy efficiency this fall. October 5, 2016 is Energy Efficiency Day, the first national day of recognition for conserving energy resources. In October, we also celebrate National Energy Awareness Month, a national effort to underscore how central energy is to our national prosperity, security, and environmental well-being. While awareness and celebration of energy efficiency happens across the country in October, Vermont has its own celebration happening in early November with Button Up Day. Button Up Day Vermont is a partnership between Efficiency Vermont, Capstone Community Action, Brighter Vermont, Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network, Green Mountain Power, and Burlington Electric Department.

Taking actions to save energy

On November 12, thousands of Vermonters will take energy saving actions to get ready for the coming winter by participating in Button Up Day. This day is a bookend event to the statewide Green Up Day efforts that happen in the spring. Much like Green Up Day, Button Up Day brings communities together to make Vermont a better place to live and work. I’d like to congratulate 8 Vermont communities that are going the extra mile to help their residents save energy this winter. Barre, Bethel, Glover, Hartford, South Burlington, Wallingford, Weybridge, and Woodstock have all committed to community events and outreach to assure their residents and businesses benefit from energy efficiency on Button Up Day. 

Seeing the invisible, celebrating success, and taking action to save

It is exciting and inspiring to see the focus in the coming months on something I am so passionate about. As National Energy Efficiency Day approaches, we have ongoing reason to celebrate here in Vermont. Recently, Vermont was named the third most energy-efficient state in the 2016 State Scorecard from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). We have made investments in energy efficiency because we know it is the key to unlocking deeper cost savings and allowing businesses to innovate and thrive. It’s also a vital link in helping to keep energy bills for all Vermonters stable and affordable.

Still, some folks may not even realize they are benefiting from energy efficiency. Efficiency touches nearly every facet of Vermonter’s lives. For instance, the milk we use for our morning cereal (stored in an ENERGY STAR refrigerator!) comes from a farm where the cows are more comfortable because of improved barn ventilation and lighting. The milk is bottled in a facility that has streamlined its process to reduce energy usage and waste. And that same milk was purchased in a grocery store whose refrigerator cases are lit with LEDs instead of inefficient fixtures that produce heat and can make food spoilage more likely.

illustration of energy efficiency in dairy process

So, let’s celebrate energy efficiency in October. Participate and follow along on social media and you’ll see a lot of success stories from around the nation that I hope will be inspirational to Vermonters. You’ll learn more about how energy efficiency equals money in your wallet. According to ACEEE, by 2020, businesses and individual consumers will save $64 million each year as appliances become more energy efficient. Consumers already save an average of $500 per year on utility bills thanks to strong energy-efficiency standards for appliances. 

Come November, Vermonters can roll up their sleeves and, take energy-saving action on (or around) November 12th. I urge you to commit to an energy-saving task this year as well, to help lower your energy costs and help Vermont reduce its overall demand for energy. Get started by creating a customized “To-do” list at buttonupvermont.org.

Comment below with your thoughts.

Energy Efficiency Day is a collaborative effort of regional and national organizations working to promote energy efficiency, including the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Advanced Energy Economy, the Regional Energy Efficiency Organizations, Appliance Standards Awareness Project, E4TheFuture, Natural Resources Defense Council, and many others.

Button Up Day Vermont is a partnership between Efficiency Vermont, Capstone Community Action, Brighter Vermont, Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network, Green Mountain Power, and Burlington Electric Department.

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