Bend among 50 elite communities across the nation leading the way on energy conservation and efficiency.
The $5 million Energy Prize competition challenges participating communities to tap their imagination and creativity and work collaboratively to reduce energy consumption. It’s a great fit for Bend’s creative, competitive and entrepreneurial spirit and presents a unique opportunity to organize and build momentum for clean, efficient and renewable energy in Bend according to The Environmental Center.
Earlier this year Bend officially advanced to the semifinal round of the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national competition that is challenging communities across the U.S. to rethink their energy use.
Bend’s local team in the Energy Prize competition is called The Bend Energy Challenge, a collaborative project of The Environmental Center and local utilities, government, schools and private businesses. The Bend Energy Challenge hopes to persuade 5,500 Bend households to reduce their energy use by at least 10 percent, through a combination of low-cost and do-it-yourself energy saving activities, home retrofits and going solar.
They are also working with local government agencies to reduce their energy use by at least 10 percent at publicly owned and operated facilities through-out Bend.
“Everyone in Bend can and should participate in the Bend Energy Challenge,” said Mike Riley, executive director of The Environmental Center. “There are lots of ways each of us can save energy and money, and make our apartments and homes healthier and more comfortable. Businesses can participate too, by developing their own energy savings plan and challenging their employees to do the same.”
Energy efficiency is the world’s most important “fuel” and is a critical zero-emissions resource needed to meet the nation’s growing energy needs. The energy saved through conservation and efficiency has the potential to eclipse the energy generated by any other single fuel source, including coal, oil, gas, biofuels and solar.
Through the Energy Prize competition, Georgetown University is seeking to identify, study, and advance innovative energy reduction practices, creating the tools for cities and counties across the country to drastically improve their energy efficiency. To win the $5 million prize, participating communities will need to demonstrate their ability to not only reduce energy consumption, but also to sustain it over a two-year period. They will also need to demonstrate that their actions are replicable and scalable in other communities.
“Bend and other communities across the country have told us that the Energy Prize gives them momentum to accelerate their energy efficiency efforts,” said Dr. Francis Slakey, founder and executive director of the Georgetown University Energy Prize. “These Semifinalist communities are leading the way for other small- and medium-size cities and counties to secure their energy efficient future.”
All Bend residents and businesses are encouraged to pledge to reduce their energy use by at least 10 percent with the project providing a set of tools, resources and incentives to help reach that goal.
• Establish ambitious goals for energy conservation and renewable energy;
• Identify and remove obstacles to achieve those goals and
• Mobilize the community to take action
• Measurable reduce energy use, through efficiency, conservation and renewables;
• Inspire and engage the community including youth to reduce energy use;
• Create an innovative, replicable model for other communities to follow and
• Ensure continued energy savings in Bend after the two-year competition.
The $5 Million
• Create a revolving loan fund for moderate income families to use clean, efficient energy;
• Establish an energy innovation fund that invests in energy innovation by local businesses;
• Invest in iconic local projects that will measurably reduce our energy use;
• Sustain clean energy education and advocacy in Central Oregon and
• Implement other ideas generated by the community during competition.