Thursday, June 26, 2014

Upgrade Athens

Chris Chmiel has a clever, fun, and yet meaningful way to engage Athenians in saving energy-- playing a game for five million dollars! What's not to love? We loose, we still reduce our energy habit. We win, $$$.

The trick is to get everyone to play and to play in earnest. For details on the game, see the Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP). The application is due in days. If we get selected, the game starts 1 January, 2015. There is loads to do in the meantime so put on your thinking cap!

My five freezing winters in Japan made me value things like insulation, double paned windows, and the need to squeeze every bit of warmth possible from yen spent on fuel. Living through a nuclear meltdown, also in Japan, made me aware of the costs of energy in so many more ways. So, life experience makes me an easy sell. I'm guessing we need to figure out how to reach the less receptive crowd to win this game. Like most adventures in life, the fun is in the doing, the connecting, and the just seeing how the bar can be moved.

When I listened to Chris' presentation, he made the point that the most obvious impact on energy consumption, is to focus on energy efficiency. How efficient are you? It's time to get an energy audit.

Here's the spiel he sent me about the next stage:

If GUEP approves the application, Athens County will move into the Stage 2 (July-November, 2014) development of an action plan for 2015-2016.  The plan must specify how we will work together to reduce utility use in residences, public buildings and schools throughout the county.  Of particular interest will be efforts to provide resources and information to residents that help reduce or control rising household utility costs.  This effort will engage an array of partners, including local schools and higher education institutions, private businesses, non-profit organizations and local technical expertise.
To help county residents, businesses and organizations current with competition activities, the initial planning committee is developing a web site:  http://athensguep.org.  

Consider where you can help Athens upgrade-- home, work, school, church, institution? Individuals could start here-- Thousand Home Challenge. I'm wondering about someone's nightlight? It might be a good idea to schedule a home energy audit (Columbia Gas 1-877-644-6674).