As public interest in energy conservation and alternative fuels grows, Virginia’s consumers now have an online resource the will help them find the most reliable information about energy.

The Energy Resource Guide for Virginia, a new Web-based project from Virginia Cooperative Extension, connects online visitors with valuable information on energy efficient homes, transportation, cost-saving energy management for businesses, and renewable energy.

“We at Virginia Cooperative Extension are very proud to provide this important resource at a time when domestic energy production and conservation are priorities for everyone,” said Mark McCann, director of Virginia Cooperative Extension. “This energy resource guide provides valuable and timely information for consumers, farmers, and youth of the commonwealth.”

Martha Walker, community viability specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Central District, developed the Energy Resource Guide for Virginia. “It is a Web-based collection of the best energy resources for residences, farms, businesses, and schools,” Walker said. “Whether you are looking for information on biodiesel, biomass, wind or solar energy, or ethanol, you can find it with the help of our resource guide.”

Virginia’s middle-school students and teachers will profit from the resource guide.

“Because the Virginia Standards of Learning require middle school students to understand energy concepts, I included materials that will not only help students find links to resources on energy but also help educators fulfill the SOL requirements in the classroom,” Walker said. She added that visitors will discover curriculum suggestions, practical activities involving electricity, online workbooks on alternative fuels, and creative ideas for science projects.

Robert Grisso Jr., machinery specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension and professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech, highlighted the importance of the energy conservation information in the resource guide.

“Discussions about energy today often revolve around finding alterative fuels like biomass or ethanol, but our first step should always involve conserving the energy resources we already use,” said Grisso, who reviewed the resource guide to ensure that it included the latest and most accurate links on the Web.

Agricultural producers will especially benefit from the wealth of information on the Energy Resource Guide for Virginia.

“From an agricultural standpoint, we found the best resources that will help farmers use renewable resources, make energy-efficient choices with their tractors and other equipment, and save fuel in their facilities,” Grisso said.

Walker developed the resource guide in partnership with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy; the Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives; and American Electric Power. Walker said that in addition to providing many of the resources, these partners also agreed to link their websites to the resource guide for increased Web traffic.

Despite the focus on Virginia, the information on the resource guide is useful outside the commonwealth. In fact, many of its materials originate from national databases and agencies. “It’s a Virginia resource, but anyone can benefit from it,” Walker said.

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based agents, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 13 agricultural research and extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.

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