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Albemarle and Charlottesville Team Up for Conservation Challenge

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

July 28, 2008

Dale Abrahamse steps into one of the new homes on Druid Avenue in Charlottesville and cannot help but think about his company's initiative, just over a year ago, to bring efficient energy and high air quality homes to Charlottesville.

He calls them high efficiency houses.

"We expect this house will use half as much energy as a house that is built just to code these days," said Abrahamse, who is President of Abrahamse & Co. Builders.

That is the kind of thing Albemarle County officials want to hear. They are challenging their employees and residents to change the world by adopting their new energy efficiency challenge.

Albemarle county is asking for people to save energy, for starters by using fluorescent light bulbs. The county is offering free compact fluorescent light bulbs to the first 50 county residents who ask about the Change the World Challenge at the Visitors Assistance Center.

But it is not just electricity, there is an effort to save water too. WaterSense is the center of a new partnership between the City of Charlottesville and the Environmental Protection Agency, offering has free water conservation kits at the utility billing area in City Hall.

"Some people think when it rains, it's a renewable resource, but it's still a resource that we need to conserve," said Charlottesville Director of Utilities, Lauren Hildebrand.

Hildebrand and others want people to look for the WaterSense logo, which means the product is at least 20% more water efficient and just as effective.

"It conserves water resources for future generations which is all about sustainability," said Hildebrand.

The average person uses 100 gallons of water a day, but the EPA says you can save 30,000 gallons a year with conservation techniques. That can translate into $115 to $170 a year off your bills.

"I think we all need to participate as we can in terms of reducing our energy uses," said Hildebrand.

According to Abrahamse, green building and conservation as a whole is not a fad; it's our duty as home builders, buyers, and community members.

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