by Gene Marrano
An educational and marketing campaign that deals with saving energy has now won awards for its website and print ads, and has received kudos from the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors for a school-based program that encourages students to come up with energy conservation ideas.
The Save a Ton campaign, conceived by Roanoke County’s RC CLEAR committee with help from Roanoke City’s Clean & Green citizen’s group, is all about showing local residents and businesses how they can each save one cubic ton of carbon emissions each year. Now the Save a Ton website (www.saveaton.org), which has won awards recently for its design and message, features an energy savings calculator. Visitors can calculate their annual financial savings by implementing several simple steps – using compact fluorescent light bulbs, driving a bit less, turning the thermostat up this summer and using energy-efficient appliances, for example.
RC CLEAR, the county’s ICLEI-affiliated group, wanted to make sure saving a ton would not be a difficult task. More savings can be realized through additional insulation, weather stripping, etc., something pointed out to local residents and business owners during a round of free energy audits performed by contractors hired by TAP.
“The Save a Ton site offers lots of easy tips to help residents of the Roanoke Valley and beyond save a ton of money on energy costs,” said Anne Marie Green, director of general services for Roanoke County. “Now, with an energy savings calculator, it takes just a few minutes to figure out what you can save.” The calculator also provides the option to calculate carbon emissions.
Save a Ton is a multi-media campaign that encourages people to visit www.saveaton.org to learn about energy savings and share their ideas and results on social media. The website offers tips, links and resources in five categories – lighting, vehicle efficiency, energy conservation, weatherization and water conservation.
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is overseeing administration of the Save a Ton website and the related Facebook page, a task that falls in part to Jeremy Holmes. “The goal there is to provide energy saving tips and show things that have a real impact on household budgets,” said Holmes, “things that save you money pretty quickly.”
In fact appealing to people’s bottom line – for those not necessarily interested in reducing carbon emissions for more altruistic reasons – was a major goal for RC Clear and affiliates when launching the Save a Ton campaign. The website will also guide people to local contractors and retail outlets, where they can find some of the resources needed to make their home or business more energy efficient – from compact fluorescent light bulbs to outfits that can provide energy audits.
Holmes points out that saving on energy costs – and reducing carbon footprints – can be an economic development engine. “We’re finding that there are more and more folks interested in providing these services. We’re trying to build up that program.” Overseeing the website conforms to the commission’s goal of regionalism, since local governments in both the Roanoke and New River Valleys are supporting Save a Ton.
“It just sort of made sense that the Regional Commission…would sort of take on the management of it…and take pressure off the local governments, ” said Holmes, who oversees sustainability efforts for the commission and heads up the Ride Solutions program that encourages alternate transportation methods like bicycling.
The Save a Ton campaign is supported by the Clean Valley Council, Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition, Community Alliance for Energy Efficiency, Ride Solutions, RC CLEAR, Roanoke County, Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, City of Roanoke, City of Salem and Town of Blacksburg.