Tomorrow, between 2 and 3pm, employees across Grounds are being encouraged to reduce their energy consumption by powering down appliances where possible. The University is aiming to reduce electricity usage from the grid by six megawatts, or 11% of UVa's peak electrical demand.
When UVa had a similar event last summer, it reduced its draw by just under three megawatts, both by reducing demand and using generators in some cases. Both methods will be utilized tomorrow, and with more members of the University community aware of this conservation effort, it is UVa Sustainability's hope that individuals will make an even greater difference by choosing to switch off lamps and appliances that aren't in use.
For more information, check out the UVa Today article on tomorrow's power hour.
Try to switch off just one item in your work space -- maybe saving energy will become a habit. As an additional incentive, UVa Sustainability is giving away LED desk lamps to people that share their plan to reduce power on the Sustainability Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. I know I'll be checking the page to see what good ideas people have in mind for tomorrow!
Update: Virginia Tech is hosting their own demand response program this Thursday from 3 to 4pm, and they have the same reduction goal as UVa. Perhaps this will spark a bit of friendly (and productive) competition...?!
- Power strip to plug in one's laptop, printer, and lamp (so all can be turned off and disconnected from the power source with ease at the end of the work day)
- Reusable mug + reusable mug punch card for all of your coffee or tea needs
- Reusable water bottle so you can stay hydrated on these hot days
- LED desk lamp that uses less energy than incandescent or even flourescent bulbs
- Post-it notes made with 30% recycled paper
- Clips, rubber bands, stamps, folders, desk organizers and more, all from the R.O.S.E. (Reusable Office Supply Exchange) Program
Dining provided tasty refreshments like local beef sliders and veggies and hummus, and people snacked and mingled for a good portion of the afternoon.
Perhaps most tellingly, prominent words of advice underneath the newly revealed plate include "Enjoy your food, but eat less" and "Drink water instead of sugary drinks."
What do you think about the overhauled guide? Will there be pushback from the companies that produce the foods that now fall into the "Empty Calories" category? Will Americans finally have a clear sense of what to put on their real plates, or will confusion linger?
UVa Dining's Nutritionist, Paula Caravati, has long touted a plate-based method of promoting healthy eating, in particular adapting such recommendations provided by the American Institute for Cancer Research as aiming for a meal composed of less than one-third animal protein. AICR illustrates this transition to a "New American Plate" with the following images:
We hope that UVa students and community members will keep some of these guidelines in mind when making healthy food choices!