Department of Family Services – Older Adults

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-7948 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 708
Fairfax, VA 22035
Trina Mayhan-Webb

10 Ways to Take Climate Action on Earth Day and Every Day

Article by the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination

(Posted 2024 April)

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Photo collage showing items and actions to protect the planet and support the environment.Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22nd, is a global event to demonstrate support for environmental protection. You can join the effort to protect our planet – and support a healthier and more resilient Fairfax County – by taking these 10 climate actions suggested by the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination! 

  1. Estimate your current carbon footprint using an online calculator. Many of our daily activities like driving a car, disposing of waste and using electricity cause greenhouse gas emissions. It’s an increase in these greenhouse gas emissions and their ability to trap heat that is leading to hotter temperatures worldwide and causing issues such as the melting of the polar ice caps, rising sea levels, weirder weather, and much more. A carbon footprint calculator like the one from the Environmental Protection Agency will help you estimate your household’s emissions so you can take actions to reduce them – and save money on energy too! 
  2. Learn about Fairfax County’s climate plans, policies, and initiatives. From plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resiliency community-wide to a sweeping environmental vision that addresses the conservation and protection of natural resources, these plans and policies help to define a sustainable future for all residents. View the plans at
  3. Sign up for Fairfax Alerts to stay informed about emergencies in Fairfax County, including weather events. Fairfax Alerts is managed by the Department of Emergency Management and Security (DEMS), and you can choose to receive alerts by email, phone or text. 
  4. Hire a professional to conduct an energy assessment (audit) of your home to see where improvements can be made. Federal tax credits for energy audits are available.
  5. Adjust your thermostat during hot or cold months. 
    - Thermostat settings during warm months: Turn your thermostat up a few degrees (78F recommended) during the summer months to reduce energy used by air conditioning. 
    - Thermostat settings during cold months: Turn your thermostat down a few degrees (68F recommended) in the winter months to save on heating. Wear an extra layer of clothing. 
  6. Replace your incandescent and CFL bulbs with LED light bulbs, which are much more energy-efficient while producing the same amount of light. They last much longer, too!
  7. Buy and install weather stripping and caulk around your doors and windows to reduce air leaks that create annoying drafts. Common culprits for air leaks include doors, windows, exterior outlets, ducts, and connections to the outside such as cables or plumbing fixtures. Sealing air leaks helps you reduce energy use and save money. To help you identify air leaks in your home, check out a thermal camera from Fairfax County Public Library!
  8. Drop off your food scraps (compost) at any Farmer's Market location in Fairfax County, at the I-66 transfer station or I-95 landfill. Composting reduces emissions from our landfills. Visit to find the Farmer’s Market locations and schedule. 
  9. Consider ENERGY STAR® or a WATER SENSE models when replacing or upgrading home appliances like refrigerators or washers and dryers. These models are guaranteed to improve efficiency and save money in the long run. 
  10. Switch to an electric vehicle (if feasible for you.) Be sure to take advantage of federal tax credits and other incentives available for EVs. 

This list of actions is just a sample of what you can find on the Fairfax County Climate Action Checklist – an interactive checklist designed to help you track your progress in adopting sustainable habits and making environmentally conscious choices that can also save you money. This Excel spreadsheet offers a list of 70-plus actions you can take, along with their cost up front and yearly savings in both money and carbon emissions. There are also links to incentives and resources to make taking actions cheaper and easier.

You can also download our topic-based checklists, for actions specific to home energy, transportation, waste, natural resources and building climate resiliency. 

Visit for more information. 

Want to find other ways to make an impact? Come to Earth Day Fairfax 2024 – Fairfax County’s largest Earth Day celebration! The event is Saturday, April 20, 2024, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Sully Historic Site. Visit to learn more!

This article is part of the Golden Gazette monthly newsletter which covers a variety of topics and community news concerning older adults and caregivers in Fairfax County. Are you new to the Golden Gazette? Don’t miss out on future newsletters! Subscribe to get the electronic or free printed version mailed to you. Have a suggestion for a topic? Share it in an email or call 703-324-GOLD (4653).

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