Monroe County ranks 27th in national energy competition

Monroe County is currently ranked 27th out of 50 communities competing in a national competition to increase energy efficiency.

The winner of the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a nationwide, two-year-long competition aimed at increasing energy efficiency in homes, government buildings and schools, will receive a $5 million reward. If the Monroe County Energy Challenge wins this money, they will use it to create an energy endowment, an energy-focused revolving loan fund and an energy efficiency grant program for Monroe County, according to a press release from Jacqui Bauer, sustainability coordinator for Bloomington.

“We’re pleased, but we know we can do better,” Bauer said in the release. “We learned a lot in 2015 and will really ramp up our efforts in 2016 for the last year of the prize competition.”

Organizing 70 events, assessing 260 home and knocking on 2,500 doors were some of the accomplishments in this competition during 2015. Free home assessments remain available throughout Monroe County.

Through a grant from Partners and Places in 2015, a new outreach coordinator position has been created to boost the Challenge’s visibility and reach, according to the release.

MCEC is interested in participating in two new programs in its 2016 efforts, according to the release.

The first of these two programs is the Workplace Partners Program, which would allow local businesses to be involved in the competition. Their assistance comes in the form of distributing the information to their customers and employees.

The first members of the Workplace Partners Program were Old National Bank and Harrell-Fish Inc. in February.

The second program is a new Energy Leader program that allows community members to nominate those who have assisted significantly in improving energy efficiency. Those who are selected are recognized and their ideas on energy efficiency are shared with others in the community.

“Everyone can take steps to save energy,” Energy Outreach Coordinator Jackie Duemler said. “It’s easy and saves you money too. These new programs will help us encourage community members to make simple changes that have a large impact."

Cody Thompson

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