January 23, 2019

Letters to the Editor

Energy saving strategies for the winter months

Although Vermont is one of the most energy-conscious states in the country, energy usage isn’t at maximum efficiency. Without strategic action, energy scarcity and climate change will undermine Vermont’s economy, environment and way of life. 

Vermont produces only 35 percent of its consumed electricity, making Vermont dependent on power sourced from Canada and the New England grid. Despite the fact that many Vermonters have transitioned to more sustainable sources of energy, renewables only account for 25 percent of the total energy used by residents while 60 percent of the energy used is petroleum based.

There are several simple actions that can reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency in homes and workplaces, especially during winter months.

Closing the damper on your fireplace and investing in storm doors or windows are two ways to decrease heat loss in the home. Likewise, using weather-stripping or caulking to seal gaps and cracks can prevent warm air from escaping and help you save as much as 10 percent on your monthly electric bill.

Additionally, area rugs or carpeted flooring can help trap cold air between the rug and the floor. This makes air in the house easier to warm and helps to raise the overall temperature of the home.

By programming your thermostat to drop about seven degrees, or to an overall temperature of 65 degrees, during the day or in the middle of the night — when it is less important for the space to be a comfortable temperature — you can make significant reductions in the amount of fuel that you use thus, improving your energy efficiency.

Olivia Cottrell 

Senior, Champlain Valley Union High School

Guardians needed for court system

Guardians ad litem (GALs) are trained, court-appointed community volunteers who look out for the best interests of a child going through the court process. These volunteers make a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. National studies have shown that children with a volunteer GAL spend less time in foster care and do better in school than those without a GAL.

Unfortunately, more GALs are needed in both Chittenden County and throughout Vermont.

If you would like to learn more about how to make this important difference in a child’s life, please attend an informational meeting at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 1 at the Costello Courthouse, 32 Cherry Street in Burlington.

Judges, GALs and the GAL coordinator of the Chittenden Family Court will make a one-hour presentation on this extremely worthwhile program.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact me at at Connie.Ramsey@vermont.gov.

Connie Cain Ramsey

Chittenden County
assistant judge

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