The Energy Masters program received awards for leadership in energy efficiency from the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference Awards and the state’s inaugural Virginia Energy Efficiency Awards, attended by Governor McAuliffe.
Energy Masters, a joint program of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE), Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) and Arlington THRIVE, was honored on November 17, 2016, at the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference, with the Best Affordable Housing Energy Conservation Effort award, which recognizes innovative, effective efforts that address housing needs in the state. The program received a second award from the first-ever Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards on November 29, 2016. The program was awarded third place in the Low-Income Category. This award acknowledges demonstrated commitment to energy conservation and prudent use of resources in the renovation of affordable housing properties. Affordable housing properties that have participated in the Energy Masters program are realizing benefits from the energy and water saving services performed by volunteers through increased energy efficiency and a decrease in utility bills totaling $39,623 that was reflected in a 2016 analysis. The program serves residents in Arlington County and the City of Alexandria.
Energy Masters program coordinator, Laura Garcia Olson, acknowledged how important these awards are for the growth of the program: “The Energy Masters program is an example of actions individuals can take to impact climate change in our community. We’re hopeful that the awards recognition will help bring more attention to tactics to save energy and the importance of adopting a sustainable lifestyle.”
The Energy Masters program is a highly successful model that educates citizens how to save energy and conserve water and provides community engagement and volunteer activism. It directly addresses climate change and water conservation, improves the lives of residents living in affordable housing and builds stronger community connections by engaging volunteers in service projects. The program provides volunteers with extensive training in energy efficiency and water conservation, which they use in service to the community by making improvements to affordable housing buildings and by providing education. It also helps low-income families reduce their energy and water bills and improve the comfort of their homes. Energy Masters encourages behavior change in residents of all ages, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of the residents and conserving resources, which benefits the entire community.
To learn more about Energy Masters and how you can get involved, visit the website at http://www.arlingtonenvironment.org/.