Friday, March 28, 2014

City to Again Participate in Earth Hour on March 29


On Saturday, March 29 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 for the second year by turning off all non-essential lights at 21 City facilities to include:

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

“I am extremely pleased that Richmond City government will participate in Earth Hour again this year and I encourage our residents and business community to join us in this endeavor,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “My administration continues to be deliberate in making Richmond a more sustainable city. We have worked to make our infrastructure more efficient, replacing older City fleet vehicles with new vehicles that operate on compressed natural gas, building to LEED Silver certification standards, and we are continuing to work with the community on projects such as increased recycling, community gardens and rain barrels.”

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 $2.2 million as a result of its energy efficiency and sustainability efforts. The savings will continue into the future averaging $940,000 per year in annualized savings. These efforts include enhancing the efficiency of the City’s vehicle fleet with new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles; lighting, roof, and facility upgrades in City buildings, including libraries and recreation centers; and the City’s Green Government Team that consist of City employees volunteering to find energy savings within their departments.

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. Lighting timers have been installed on all floors in the interior hallways and elevator lobbies. Lighting controls are currently in the design process for office areas throughout the building.

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 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.