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Building Safety Month focuses on energy and green building

Building Safety Month focuses on energy and green building
Learn how you can make your home and business more energy efficient

Hagerstown, MD (May 7, 2012) - Washington County Government proudly celebrates Building Safety during the month of May. This week's focus is Energy and Green Building and will highlight ways the public can make homes and offices more energy efficient. In addition, Washington County will share how its Division of Public Works Engineering and Construction Department received training and implemented energy saving practices in County buildings using Federal grant money.
Energy and Green Building Tips
* Heating and cooling uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in the home. Approximately 43% of utility bills cover heating and cooling. Close curtains and shades at night to keep warmth in and keep them open during the day.
* Try new lighting control technologies like motion-sensitive or timed off switch lighting. Using these new options can reduce lighting use by 50% - 75% and save the lighting portion of energy bills that account for 11% of overall household energy consumption.
* Replace ordinary light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs. If every household replaced just one light bulb with a CFL bulb, America could save enough energy to light nearly three million homes.
* Install a programmable thermostat to keep your home comfortably warm in the winter and comfortably cool in the summer.
* Replacing windows can save between 7% and 24% of the household heating and air conditioning costs.
* Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips, and turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use as TVs and DVDs in standby mode still consume several watts of power.
* Choosing energy-efficient products can save families approximately $400 a year while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Chose ENERGY STAR(r) certified products when you buy or replace household appliances.
* In the workplace, buy and use ENERGY STAR labeled office equipment, and other products. Be sure that the "stand-by mode" function is activated as this automatic "sleep mode" saves energy and money when the equipment is not in use.
* Regularly change the filters in the heating and cooling system of your home or office as dirty filters can cost up to $5 a month extra, overwork the equipment and result in dirtier indoor air.
* Consider purchasing "electrostatic" filters, which are washable, long lasting, and provide cleaner air. Clean or change filters more often if smokers or pollution sources are present.
Energy Efficient County Buildings
In 2009, the Division of Public Works Engineering and Construction Department applied for an Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) from the U.S. Department of Energy and the County was awarded $438,300. Utilizing the grant funding during the past two years, the following energy efficiency improvements were completed:
* Division of Public Works and Division of Plan Review and Permitting employees received International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) training
* Energy Study completed for six County buildings
* Energy efficiency improvements implemented on mechanical equipment at the 33-35 West Washington Street and 100 West Washington Street County buildings
* Energy efficient lighting and energy saving thermostats installed in several County buildings
Using Federal dollars to complete this project, the County was able to train employees such as Engineers and Inspectors on the latest energy saving practices without using local funding. As more green buildings are constructed, the County will be a resource on energy efficiency information and implementation.
Connect With Us for Information
Connect with us daily for safety tips on Facebook, and email to "Ask the Expert" questions on building safety. To learn more about building code and safe structures, visit
Next Week's Building Safety Topic
Week of May 14th: Disaster Safety and Mitigation - Learn how the County's Emergency Services team alerts citizens during major emergencies and ensures safety.
About Washington County, Maryland Government
Washington County, Maryland Government strives to fulfill its duty to the citizens of Washington County with regard to operational efficiency, fiscal responsibility, and responsiveness to the needs of the community. This vision is used to ably assist the Board of County Commissioners of Washington County in achieving goals for moving the County forward as present needs and future plans are addressed.
According to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, the Washington County General Fund has the lowest cost per capita for services provided of all 23 counties and Baltimore City. This is attributed to the efficiency, staffing levels, and cost containment exhibited in Washington County Government operations. Visit for more information.
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