TPS Joins the WPP

Thank you to The Project School which joined the Workplace Partner Program in this summer!

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The Project School is a chartered public school designed to empower students and their families, create individualized educational experiences and to create educational equity. These values are infused into everything happening in the school. Social justice and environmental sustainability are paired with educational excellence in the classrooms and curriculum, family programming, and special events.

Last fall, Pam Cunningham, a TPS teacher worked with MCEC  to teach her 3/4/5th graders about energy efficiency. Students guessed how much electricity various small appliances use – a hairdryer, phone charger a lamp.  Then they plugged the appliances into a handheld energy monitor to reveal the actual amount, along with the dollar cost and carbon emissions from generating that amount of electricity from fossil fuels.

Students learned to use the energy monitors to take readings all around the school – including the aquaponics tanks used for science projects.  Students began turning off the lights whenever possible and recorded the impact on the school’s utility bills.

We are thrilled to have such a dedicated community partner on board!

Monroe County businesses and non-profits can now easily become active participants in the Monroe County Energy Challenge by joining our Workplace Partners Program.

The Workplace Partners Program (WPP) is based on the idea that workplaces can be a catalyst for positive change in our community. Commercial and institutional meters aren’t included in the competition, so the focus of the WPP is on encouraging a shift in employee behaviors at home. Sign on to become an MCEC Workplace Partner, and we will provide you with materials and information you need help your employees and customers save energy in their homes, while also making them more mindful of their energy use at your business!  Click here to see our options for involvement.

Attic Insulation Program: Week 3

This summer, the Monroe County Energy Challenge is providing free or low cost attic insulation and air sealing  thanks to a generous grant from Vectren Energy!  The program prioritizes low income families and Section 8 (low income) rental properties. In the first 3.5 weeks of the program our NCCC Americorps team insulated 15 Monroe County homes and reduced participants utility bills by a combined $3,898 this year! This represents an accrued savings $61,682 over a 10 year period*. The program has also helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35,004 lbs/year!

14040176_1824261091142549_4400182731791323188_nIn additional to their phenomenal contribution to the Challenge, the NCCC team has also spent a great deal of their free time volunteering within the community. Sarah Feyers, an NCCC team member wrote the following piece, describing the team’s experience in Bloomington so far:

In addition to our work with the MCEC, NCCC‬‘s Oak 7 has participated in three ISPs (individual service projects) in Bloomington this past week. The first was at the Monroe County YMCA, participating in a two week long renovation project by chipping old paint from showers. The second was at the Bloomington Housing Authority’s Step Up office, landscaping and cleaning up front yards to prepare the office for a yearly inspection. The third was at the local Bryan Park, helping out with eradicating invasive plant species.

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The team has worked non-stop through their last weekend to participate in full day ISPs around the city. When asked how a team member felt about the long ISP hours and the effect the team has on Bloomington through individual service, Oak 7 member Jenna Uretsky had much to say. “Bloomington is offering us many new experiences in regards to ISPs. Every organization we have worked with has been so welcoming and appreciative of our help and we feel that we are really becoming a part of the community. Our ISP work has also been a much needed break from attic work. Although we have filled our days off with ISPs, we are keeping our energy high and pushing ourselves and each other to reach our goals.”

MCEC has partnered with AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) in order to provide this opportunity to residents in Monroe County. NCCC strengthens communities and develops leaders through direct, team-based national and community service.

If you are interested in participating in the attic insulation program, please call (812) 349-3558 or e-mail MoCoEnergyChallenge@gmail.com to schedule an initial assessment. Space is limited and priority will be given to low-income households. This can save residents up to $600/year on utility bills and up to $1,400 in contractor fees. This is a great opportunity to save money and make your home more comfortable at the same time!

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  • Assuming a 10% increase in energy costs per year

Victoria Hilkevitch Bedford: Energy Leader

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Victoria was nominated as an Energy Leader because of her dedication to improving her home energy efficiency while actively encouraging community members to live sustainability.

 Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Has all energy efficient appliances and products including a 97% efficient furnace
  • She replaced 2 entry doors with well-insulated ones and installed a storm door that converts to a screen in the summer.
  • She regularly maintains her furnace, air conditioner, and filter replacements, as well as re-caulkes or re-paints the window trim every few years to keep the windows sealed.
  • She dries clothes outside or, when weather is a problem, on racks inside.
  • She keeps a water barrel for watering plants and composts appropriate food waste, which enriches her soil.
  • She’s a member of Bring Your Bag Bloomington, with the goal of reducing the number of plastic single-use shopping bags
  • She walks whenever feasible

We are so proud to have such an inspiring woman in our community!

Know someone in the community who is making a huge difference? The Energy Leader award is presented to individuals that have shown significant achievements in energy efficiency and sustainability in Monroe County. Help us recognize these community all-stars by nominating an Energy Leader today!

Energy Leader Criteria:
To be considered for an Energy Leader award, individuals must display commitment to one or more of the following areas that have resulted in meaningful outcomes (on any scale):

– Improving home energy efficiency
– Sharing energy saving knowledge within the community
– Developing or utilizing innovative energy saving techniques
– Energy Ambassador certification or a member of a MCEC       committee dedicated to reducing energy consumption in Monroe   County.

Know an Energy Leader? Click here to make a nomination

RBBSC Joins the Workplace Partners Program!

Thank you to Richland Bean-Blossom Community School Corp, which joined the Workplace Partner Program in May!

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Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corporation (RBBCSC) is a school system serving nearly 3,000 students in northwestern Monroe County, Indiana.

Their  mission is to work in cooperation with the community and families to provide students with an education that promotes responsible citizenship, develops critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.

We will be joining them at the Colt’s Kickoff event on August 26th to teach students ways to reduce energy use at school and at home and share energy savings information. Students will also have the opportunity to power our energy bike and learn about energy efficiency!

We are thrilled to have such a dedicated community partner on board!

Click here to learn more about RBBCSC,  or follow them on Facebook (Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corporation).

Monroe County businesses and non-profits can now easily become active participants in the Monroe County Energy Challenge by joining our Workplace Partners Program.

The Workplace Partners Program (WPP) is based on the idea that workplaces can be a catalyst for positive change in our community. Commercial and institutional meters aren’t included in the competition, so the focus of the WPP is on encouraging a shift in employee behaviors at home. Sign on to become an MCEC Workplace Partner, and we will provide you with materials and information you need help your employees and customers save energy in their homes, while also making them more mindful of their energy use at your business!  Click here to see our options for involvement.

Pete Lenzen and Kyung-Hee Mun: Energy Leaders

20160628_145705-2Pete and Kyung-Hee were nominated as Energy Leaders because of their dedication to improving their home’s energy efficiency and sharing knowledge with community members.

 Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Installed additional insulation, a WiFi enabled thermostat, LED lighting and upgraded to energy efficient appliances. They also installed Low-E (low emissivity) coating on their windows to improve thermal efficiency
  • Helped to coordinate an energy assessment blitz in their neighborhood in May
  • Coordinated MOCO presentations for local church groups
  • Pete participates in SIREN Going Solar programs and visits future solar owners to share insight on solar feasibility for their homes.
  • He is also a Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light educator liaison with churches on the H-IPL program, “Using Energy Prudently”.
  • He provides consultation for churches to reduce energy usage, develop upgrade options and cost justification for more difficult ceiling fixtures and solar panels.

We are so proud to have such an inspiring couple in our community!

Know someone in the community who is making a huge difference? The Energy Leader award is presented to individuals that have shown significant achievements in energy efficiency and sustainability in Monroe County. Help us recognize these community all-stars by nominating an Energy Leader today!

Energy Leader Criteria:
To be considered for an Energy Leader award, individuals must display commitment to one or more of the following areas that have resulted in meaningful outcomes (on any scale):

– Improving home energy efficiency
– Sharing energy saving knowledge within the community
– Developing or utilizing innovative energy saving techniques
– Energy Ambassador certification or a member of a MCEC       committee dedicated to reducing energy consumption in Monroe   County.

Know an Energy Leader? Click here to make a nomination

Attic Insulation Program: Week 2

photo 4This summer, the Monroe County Energy Challenge is providing free or low cost attic insulation and air sealing  thanks to a generous grant from Vectren Energy!  In the first 2 weeks of the program we insulated 10 Monroe county homes and reduced participants utility bills by a combined $3,000 this year! This represents an accrued savings $47,588 over a 10 year period*. The program has also helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 27,748 lbs/year!

20160720_101007-2MCEC has partnered with AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) in order to provide this opportunity to residents in Monroe County. NCCC strengthens communities and develops leaders through direct, team-based national and community service.

If you are interested in participating, please call (812) 349-3558 or e-mail MoCoEnergyChallenge@gmail.com to schedule an initial assessment. Space is limited and priority will be given to low-income households. This can save residents up to $600/year on utility bills and up to $1,400 in contractor fees. This is a great opportunity to save money and make your home more comfortable at the same time!

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  • Assuming a 10% increase in energy costs per year

RentRocket a finalist in MIT”s Climate CoLab

Make it easier for renters in Bloomington to be green! Our RentRocket proposal is a finalist in MIT”s Climate CoLab and needs your vote. Help us win a $10,000 grant by voting here!
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Click here to watch the full news story

Full article:

JULY 18, 2016, BY

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The city of Bloomington hopes the public will help earn it an extra boost for a project aimed at helping renters save money.

The rentrocket.org project is a finalist for a $10,000 grant through Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Climate CoLab competition.

The website, used in more than a dozen cities and spearheaded in Bloomington, uses public data and self-reporting to show every rental in the city, its utility costs, and green, cost-saving measures like access to public transportation.

“Most rental websites tell you if there’s laundry and if you can have pets. They leave out a lot of important details that renters don’t think about before they move in,” Assistant Energy Outreach Coordinator Alex Otto said.

Otto admitted, not every landlord is on board, as some don’t think the city should tell them what to do. He said it’s voluntary, though, and is only meant to incentivize landlords and renters to consider cost-saving green upgrades.

“It’s supposed to be a tool and nothing more. If landlords feel incentivized to make utilities more of a focus because of our tool that’s okay, and if they don’t that’s also okay. We just want renters to understand the full scope of renting,” Otto said.

The website also aligns with Mayor John Hamilton’s initiative to make housing more affordable across the city. Bloomington has one of the highest average rents in the state, largely due to its student population.

“We’re trying to make sure, from our administration, that we keep this city affordable to people from all walks of life,” Hamilton told FOX59 last week.

Rent Rocket is looking for more renters and landlords to send in their utility costs and information online, as it expands into a more public phase.

You can vote for the project to win the $10,000 grant at the link here.

Cliff Burk: Energy Leader

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Pictured: Cliff and Bonnie Burk and their 37 panel solar array

Cliff was nominated as an Energy Leader because because his long term dedication to improving his home energy efficiency, sharing solar knowledge, and actively helping community members to reduce their energy usage.

 Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Cliff was one of the first solar owners in his neighborhood and has added PV capacity with phase 2.
  • He has presented Going Solar programs to churches and civic groups.
  • He is a renewable energy advisor to SIREN
  • His home is very energy efficient with geothermal and LED lights
  • He is an advocate for state and local policies encouraging solar energy

We are so proud to have such an inspiring couple in our community!

Know someone in the community who is making a huge difference? The Energy Leader award is presented to individuals that have shown significant achievements in energy efficiency and sustainability in Monroe County. Help us recognize these community all-stars by nominating an Energy Leader today!

Energy Leader Criteria:
To be considered for an Energy Leader award, individuals must display commitment to one or more of the following areas that have resulted in meaningful outcomes (on any scale):

– Improving home energy efficiency
– Sharing energy saving knowledge within the community
– Developing or utilizing innovative energy saving techniques
– Energy Ambassador certification or a member of a MCEC       committee dedicated to reducing energy consumption in Monroe   County.

Know an Energy Leader? Click here to make a nomination

Amanda Figolah: Energy Leader

Congratulations to Amanda Figolah for becoming an MCEC  Energy Leader!

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Amanda was nominated as an Energy Leader because she inspires local youth to be energy conscious, active citizens. She is a teacher at Bloomington High School South.

 Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Amanda’s Environmental Science classes have taken on ambitious projects to reduce energy use and improve the environment. This spring they developed a school toolkit for Lights Out, an Energy Challenge initiative in the school.
  • In the winter trimester, her students laid the groundwork for a sustainability plan for BHSS.
  • She helps students write and receive substantial grants as part of their capstone class projects; one student won a grant for a “green bathroom” at South.
  • The class as a whole won funding for a permaculture planting on MCCSC property.
  • Amanda also co-wrote a grant for a teacher training workshop on education that brought in ~$29,000 in grant money and a very extensive energy tool lending library.

We are so proud to have such an inspiring teacher in our community!

Know someone in the community who is making a huge difference? The Energy Leader award is presented to individuals that have shown significant achievements in energy efficiency and sustainability in Monroe County. Help us recognize these community all-stars by nominating an Energy Leader today!

Energy Leader Criteria:
To be considered for an Energy Leader award, individuals must display commitment to one or more of the following areas that have resulted in meaningful outcomes (on any scale):

– Improving home energy efficiency
– Sharing energy saving knowledge within the community
– Developing or utilizing innovative energy saving techniques
– Energy Ambassador certification or a member of a MCEC       committee dedicated to reducing energy consumption in Monroe   County.

Know an Energy Leader? Click here to make a nomination

New Model Solar Neighborhood project!

The Monroe County Energy Challenge recently partnered with SIREN (Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network) and ICEY (Interfaith Community of Environmentalist Youth) to create a model solar neighborhood for the city and state!

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Darrell and Kathleen Boggess outside their solar powered home in Bloomington

The Elm Heights/Bryan Park area was chosen because of the high concentration of solar panels that already exist there, but we hope to expand this project to other neighborhoods in the future.

SIREN will hold a forum to inform Elm Heights/Bryan Park residents about the process of going solar and what the bulk deal will look like. The forum is targeted at home owners in this area, but others are also welcome. The forum will be held on June 26th at 918 E. University St. The event will start at 6pm and refreshments will be provided.  RSVP to at sirensolar.org/rsvp/ or send an email to contact@sirensolar.org

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We are so excited to be a part of this momentous project!

ICEY is a group of environmentally conscious middle and high schoolers who see climate change as one of the greatest problems our generation will have to deal with, and strive to do everything in our power to prevent it. 

SIREN has been a leading educator and promoter of renewable energy and energy conservation in Indiana. Independent, non-partisan, and volunteer-run, SIREN focuses on promoting solar power for homes and other buildings.