Energy Use Update

I have noticed a significant change in my own daily energy use and my electric bill at my apartment reflects these changes. Even though my roommates seem to leave the lights on often, I always find myself turning them off.  Also, we bought energy efficient light bulbs for most of our lamps as well.  When charging my laptop, I try to make sure it is 100% charged before I go to sleep so that I do not leave it plugged in over night.

I went home a couple of weekends ago and I unplugged everything in my room and bathroom.  The only thing that I need to fix personally is the heat lamp that I have over my snake terrarium.  The bulb is a 100 watt heat light that stays on 24/7 and naturally uses a lot of energy.  Recently a friend told me about a lamp that I could get with a timer so that it will automatically shut off when the terrarium reaches the right temperature.  I plan on looking into finding one of those soon.  This upcoming weekend I plan on attending the Green Energy and Living Expo with the Environmental Coalition to learn more techniques to save energy around the house.

Disecting the US Department of Energy

The US Department of Energy (DOE), located in Washington D.C., has many different important functions.  Their mission, as stated on the website, is to “ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology.”  One of the sectors of the DOE is the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP).  The FEMP uses different service groups to reach their goals.  One of the seven service groups that really interested me was the Interagency Sustainability Working Group (ISWG).  The ISWG was formed in 2001 with the mission of promoting sustainable and energy efficient buildings throughout the United States. They promote weatherization of buildings, decrease energy waste, and invest in ways to make buildings LEED certified. The group currently has 60 members, one from each major federal department agency.  The group works with different architects to spread the interest in sustainable design.  The ISWG uses “You Have the Power” campaigns to reach out to other federal agencies in the country and promote awareness about their ability to help us reach our energy goals.  Alison Kinn Bennett, a board member of the ISWG, is a member of the Enironmental Protection Agency and I am going to try to get in contact with her to discuss the important tasks that the ISWG is currently handling.




Getting Involved and Taking Action

I went to the Environmental Coalition meeting here on campus for the first time last Tuesday and I would have to say it is the best decision I have made all semester.  Just in the past week, I have become so involved within the group and I already feel like I am making a difference.  I attended the camping trip last Thursday in the Jefferson National Forest and had a blast.  At last Tuesday’s meeting, we discussed our further involvement in the Stadium Woods issue and the way the whole group came together to vote and listen to what one another had to say was truly mind blowing.  It is a rare occasion that you get young adults that are so open minded and willing to listen.

This week, I went to the meeting on Tuesday and joined the fundraising group.  We brainstormed tons of ideas for raising money for the Environmental Coalition.  One of our biggest ideas is to make and sell hemp bracelets with the EC logo on a bead.  Since I work with another EC member at D.P. Dough, we were thinking of possibly setting up a table in front of the restaurant to sell our bracelets.  I am also tabling with other EC members tomorrow for Odyssey day in the Squires Plaza tomorrow!  Lastly, Sunday we are doing an invasive species removal mission in Stadium Woods that is going to be a lot of fun!


Public Schools Going Green

While searching for different articles about sustainability and alternative energy resources, I came across this website called  The first article that caught my attention was one about a few Colorado public schools that are switching to solar energy.  The Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) joined forces with the company SolarCity and created new rooftops for 14 schools in the district.  Not only do the new rooftops help the district cut back on energy use, but it also significantly decreases the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.

I think that using alternative energy in public schools is a great way to show the youth that it is important to seek clean energy.  Since the students at the 14 schools in the BVSD will grow up in an area where clean energy is a large part of their daily lives, they will see how much of a difference that it actually can make for the environment.  More school districts should try to seek alternative energy sources for their power.  If Colorado can achieve successful solar energy use, California, Florida, and many other states should be able to as well.





My Thinking Styles

I just completed the “My Thinking Styles” survey that Dr. Zahm sent to us yesterday.  I found it to be really interesting and am glad that I took it now. Over the years throughout high school and my first few semesters at Virginia Tech, I have been sent multiple surveys, such as this one that analyze how we think, what kind of personality we have, and what career choice is best for us.  Out of all of the past surveys, I have found that this one has been the most accurate.  In high school, one of my results said that I was a very punctual and analytical person and it could not have been more wrong.

My results from the “My Thinking Styles” survey showed that my top two thinking styles were Inquisitive and Truth Seeking.  I think this is the perfect result for me because those two styles go hand in hand with each other.  I am constantly questioning certain situations to find the truth behind them.   I consider myself to be a very skeptical person and do not just take everything at face value. I believe this thinking style will benefit me in the future because I will always be confronted with situations that may entail more than what meets the eye.