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Latest News: Virginia Leads the Way for LEED States

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The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has just announced its annual list of the top 10 states for new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications in 2012. LEED is a rating system to determine how “green” a building is; buildings are judged based upon how efficiently they use resources, safeguard the health of their occupants, and reduce waste and pollution.
The list includes Washington, DC – and indeed, DC tops the list with the most square feet of certified LEED space certified per resident (an incredible 36.97 square feet per resident). But Virginia is the #1 state in the survey, moving up from 3rd place in last year’s listings. The results are a clear indication of Virginia’s belief in the importance of energy conversation and environmental responsibility. 
But even if your home or business isn’t LEED certified, there are plenty of energy-saving measures that you can take that will save you money and help to protect the environment. Here are a few.
Replace your HVAC filters. This is a relatively easy way to keep your energy costs down, and you can do it yourself. Simply change (or clean) your filters monthly, and watch your bills decrease. You’re conserving energy at the same time, by improving your system’s efficiency (it has to work harder to heat or cool your house if the filters are dirty).
Raise – or lower – your thermostat. A few degrees of temperature can make a huge difference in your HVAC system’s energy output. If you can manage to turn your thermostat down a little in the winter and up a little in the summer, you’ll save energy (and money). “The rule of thumb is that you can save about 3% on your heating bill for every degree that you set back your thermostat” full time, says Bill Prindle, deputy director for the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
Fix your faucets. Leaky faucets are more than simply a nuisance. They can waste hundreds of gallons of water a month! Contact your Plumbing contractor for help in fixing faucets that drip.
Be lighting-conscious. How many times have you left a room with its lights turned on? We’ve all done it – but it’s a drain on your finances as well as on your overall energy consumption. Just remembering to turn off the lights (or perhaps installing a timer on certain lights so that they’ll turn off automatically) makes a big difference.
Check out more energy saving tips from SSI.