Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open to visitors by appointment only. Please call or email from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

703-324-7136
TTY 711

12000 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 533
Fairfax, VA 22035

Kambiz Agazi,
Director

HomeWise Monthly Update: December 2021

The Fairfax County HomeWise program is closing out its first full operational year and looking ahead to 2022. In December, staff in the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination (OEEC) completed recruitment for the program’s second class of volunteers. HomeWise volunteers come from across the county and bring a range of skills and experiences to the program. The newly recruited class of 2022 volunteers will begin training in January and will join the existing class of volunteers for community engagement events and efforts in the spring.

On December 20, staff and volunteers gathered virtually for an end-of-year celebration. Attendees reflected on a year full of ups and downs, unexpected changes and challenges, and collective success. The COVID-19 pandemic shook up program plans at various points throughout 2021, but the inaugural class of volunteers remained engaged and committed and are ready to continue fulfilling the program mission in 2022.

Program staff within the OEEC worked throughout December to prepare training materials for new and existing volunteers for the New Year. The new volunteers will complete a 10-week virtual training and a hands-on demonstration session between January and March. The existing volunteers will take part in enrichment activities and education designed to boost their knowledge and understanding of the psychology of behavior change and habit formation.

Staff also spent time in December working to recruit new members of the HomeWise external advisory council and connected with members of the internal advisory council about outstanding questions pertaining to event and outreach planning for 2022.

WHAT’S NEXT

In January, program staff will host a virtual orientation session for the new class of volunteers to provide administrative and organizational information. New volunteers will then begin training, covering a different topic or subject area each week. Examples of training topics include big picture concepts around water conservation, a deep dive into energy vampires, and indoor environmental quality issues and concerns.

Enrichment for the existing volunteers will likely launch in the same time frame and may include virtual session with one or more guest speakers as well as optional reading and videos around habit formation and human behavior. The purpose of this enrichment is to empower HomeWise volunteers to have productive conversations with county residents about their energy and water use habits at home. Apart from making physical improvements to an apartment or house, behavior change is the single most powerful means of conserving resources. Habits can be hard to form and hard to break, so it’s important that HomeWise volunteers understand the ins-and-outs of habit creation and destruction.

This article is part of a series. A new HomeWise Monthly Update will be published roughly every four weeks and will provide a snapshot of work completed and anticipated activities in the weeks ahead. Check out our Home Energy Savings news feed, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with all the latest HomeWise news.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant