Tag Archives: energy

Growing energy production from the ground up

In the future, the move toward renewable energy produced in the commonwealth could be a boon for farmers, help industries cut costs, and assist in the battle against climate change. Despite the downturn in fossil energy prices, colleges, hospitals, and companies around the state are tapping into the supplies of biofuels, and researchers at Virginia Tech want businesses and farmers to be able to capitalize on this market.

John Fike, associate professor of crop and soil environmental sciences and an Extension specialist, studies crops such as miscanthus to determine their feasibility as sources of biofuel.

John Fike, associate professor of crop and soil environmental sciences and an Extension specialist, studies crops such as miscanthus to determine their feasibility as sources of biofuel.

“We have the opportunity to grow a number of plant species — both existing crops and new species — that could be used for everything from chemicals and fuel to paper. Dedicated biomass crops may also enhance our existing natural resources portfolio by conserving soil and reducing runoff,” said John Fike, an associate professor of crop and soil environmental sciences and Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist who has been conducting studies on the feasibility and costs of biofuels.

Although the cheap price of oil and natural gas in recent years has slowed development of bioenergy and bioproduct systems, the industry continues to push ahead.

Ken Moss, CEO of Piedmont BioProducts in Gretna, Virginia, notes that earlier business models that were based on fuel production alone don’t work well in today’s economic climate. Piedmont BioProducts has taken a different path and is investigating advanced engineering systems to extract high-value chemicals from plants before turning the post-process residues into fuel oil and soil amendments. Others are going old school, using the biomass as a replacement for traditional sources of boiler fuel.

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Energy Masters Program energizes Arlington County

Volunteers in Arlington County and Alexandria are making a difference — one light bulb and toilet tank at a time. With more than 6,000 hours of volunteer service, these masters of energy efficiency are helping low-income families make their homes more comfortable while reducing their water and energy bills.

An Energy Masters Program volunteer caulks a window to prevent drafts and keep moisture from rotting the wood around the window.

An Energy Masters Program volunteer caulks a window to prevent drafts and keep moisture from rotting the wood around the window.

The Energy Masters Program, funded by the Arlington County Community Development Fund, has made strides in improving energy efficiency for residents living in affordable housing units in Arlington County neighborhoods. The program is a collaboration between the Virginia Cooperative Extension Arlington County Office and two county nonprofit organizations — Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment and Arlington Thrive.

“Training teams of volunteers to go into low-income apartments and do energy- and water-saving improvements helps lower the utility bills of both the residents and the property owners, ultimately improving the environment by eliminating the amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere,” said Jennifer Abel, family and consumer sciences Extension agent in Arlington County. “Since starting the program in 2011, we’ve trained 152 volunteers, and we’ve made improvements in 591 apartments.”

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Energy Masters Program energizes Arlington County

white woman installing a shower head.

A Master Energy Volunteer installs a low low-flow shower head.

Written by Emily Halstead, a senior in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and a communications intern for Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Volunteers in Arlington County are making a difference — one light bulb and toilet tank at a time. With more than 6,000 hours of volunteer service under their belts, these masters of energy efficiency have been helping low-income families improve their comfort levels and reduce their water and energy bills.

The Energy Masters Program, funded by the Arlington County Community Development Fund, has made strides in improving energy efficiency for residents living in affordable housing units in Arlington County neighborhoods. The program is a collaborative effort between the Virginia Cooperative Extension Arlington County Office and two county nonprofit organizations — Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment and Arlington Thrive.

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Energy Masters Program energizes Arlington County

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There are more than 125 trained volunteers in the program.

Written by Emily Halstead, a junior in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and a communications intern for Virginia Cooperative Extension.

The Energy Masters program, funded by the Arlington County Community Development Fund, has made strides in improving energy efficiency for residents in affordable housing units within Arlington County neighborhoods. The program is a collaboration between Virginia Cooperative Extension in Arlington County, and two county non-profits: Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment and Arlington Thrive.

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