Thursday, March 21, 2013

City to Participate in Earth Hour on March 23 at 8:30 p.m.


On Saturday, March 23 at 8:30 p.m. the City of Richmond will participate in the global initiative known as Earth Hour. Earth Hour is a World Wildlife Fund campaign that encourages individuals, businesses and governments to turn all non-essential lights off for one hour. Through this symbolic action, participants show leadership and make a commitment to ongoing change that reduces their impact on the environment.

The City of Richmond is participating in Earth Hour by turning off all non-essential lights at 22 City facilities to include:

            • John Marshall Courthouse                     • Manchester Courthouse
            • Juvenile Courts Building                         • Juvenile Detention Center
            • DPW Fleet Garage (Hopkins Rd.)          • Parker Field Warehouse
            • Parker Field Auto Shop                            • Marshall Street Plaza
            • Police Training Academy                        • Southside Community Services Center
            • Emergency Operations Center               • Main Library & all Branches
            • DPU Jefferson Davis Operations           • Public Safety Building
              Center (Engineering & Administrative     (Except Lock-up & Evidence)
              Offices only)

The City will also be instructing employees in other City buildings to turn off all task lighting, computers, printers, copiers, etc. to further illustrate the administration’s dedication to reducing the City’s carbon footprint as well as being a better steward of city tax dollars through efficiency and sustainability.

“My administration has been steadfast in the desire to make Richmond a more sustainable city,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “We have worked internally to make our infrastructure more efficient, we are building to LEED Silver certification standards and we are working with the community on projects such as community gardens. The City’s participation in Earth Hour is an exciting extension of our efforts and I encourage our residents and business community to join us in this endeavor.”

The City of Richmond is also a proud participant in the Earth Hour City Challenge. The Challenge invites cities to submit their innovative actions towards creating a greener, cleaner and more sustainable city via an internationally recognized carbon reporting platform.

Since 2010, the City has saved over $1.9 million as a result of its energy efficiency and sustainability efforts. The savings will continue into the future averaging $640,000 per year in annualized savings. These efforts include replacing the City’s garbage truck fleet with new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles, lighting and equipment upgrades in City facilities including libraries and fire stations, and converting signalized intersections in the city to LED lights which are safer, last longer and cost less to maintain than incandescent lights.

In addition to the previous initiatives, the City is also in the process of upgrading lighting controls at City Hall to enable non-essential lights to be turned off in the building after business hours and on weekends. The lighting controls will be installed in offices and the common areas on each floor. These upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of 2013 and will greatly add to the City of Richmond’s growing portfolio of sustainable infrastructure.

As the City participates in Earth Hour and continues to pursue increased sustainability, it also encourages residents and businesses to find ways they can become more sustainable. Here are just some ways residents and businesses can start saving money and reducing their environmental impact:

  • Turn thermostats down in the winter and up in the summer
  • Install more efficient heating and A/C units
  • Install energy saving lights and devices and turn off non-essential lights during the day
  • Replace windows with high efficiency windows
  • Caulk & weather-strip your home or business
  • Upgrade insulation
  • Change washer temperature settings from hot or warm to cold
  • Carpool to work
  • Buy an alternate fuel vehicle or a fuel efficient vehicle (getting 30+ mpg) or get frequent tune-ups and air filter changes on your current vehicle
  • Recycle 
  • Install rain barrels and rainwater harvesting tanks to water gardens and lawns
For more information on Earth Hour go to www.earthhour.org.

For more information on the City of Richmond’s participation in the Earth Hour City Challenge go to www.earthhour.org/citychallenge.

To learn more about Richmond’s RVAgreen: A Roadmap to Sustainability plan go to www.RichmondGov.com/sustainability.