Category Archives: HT Blog Post

Over 17,000 residents reached through WPP

thank-you-local-businesses

Thank you to all of our MCEC Workplace Partners for being catalysts for positive change in our community! With 24 dedicated partners, we have been able to provide over 17,000 Monroe County residents with energy saving tips, information, and opportunities for free energy assessments and weatherization. We have been invited to speak at all-employee meetings, host special events and energy fairs, as well as to participate in on going efforts to ‘green’ businesses.

Our current partners include:

Investing Partners

  • Harrell-Fish Inc
  • South Central Community Action Program
  • Vectren Energy
  • City of Bloomington

Advanced Partners

  • CFC
  • Cook Medical
  • IU Athletics
  • Ivy Tech
  • Old National Bank
  • Richland Bean-Blossom School Corp
  • Monroe County Public Library
  • Global Gifts
  • Bloomington Hardware
  • Lennie’s
  • The Project School

Basic Partners

  • IU Credit Union
  • Bloomington Chamber of Commerce
  • IU SPEA
  • MCCSC
  • Wonderlab
  • MC Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Black Lumber
  • True Value
  • The Chile Woman

Thank you for being such strong community leaders!

Interested in having your business join the MCEC Workplace Partners Program? Click here to see our options for involvement.

CITYOFB_MoCoEnergyChampionYardSign-WorkplacePartner

Project Porchlight Launch 10/1!

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MCEC will launch its newest energy initiative, Project Porchlight on October 1st!

FREE LEDS! When, where?

Come out on Saturday, October 1st, from 11-2pm to Rev Ernest D. Butler Park (in the Near West Side neighborhood) and get a free LED, sign up for free home energy assessments, pedal our energy bikes and have fun!

Can’t make the launch?

Don’t worry! We will be hosting a variety of energy fairs and events at local hardware stores and neighborhood parks to distribute the LEDs throughout the month of October. Come visit us at any of the following events:

  • Saturday, October 8, 11-2pm: Bloomington Hardware
  • Saturday, October 15, 10:30-1pm: Black Lumber
  • Sunday, October 16, 10:30-1pm: True Value (Ellettsville)

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Duke Energy is also helping with the effort by offering 26,000 Bloomington residents 6 free LEDs! Keep an eye out for the mailer below, if you receive one send it back and Duke will mail you 6 free bulbs, no strings attached!

duke-free

CFC Joins the WPP as an Advanced Partner!

CFC Properties  joined the MCEC Workplace Partner Program as an Advanced Partner,  making them our 23 community partner! We are thrilled to have such a dedicated organization on board!

IMG_20160615_120025For more than 40 years, CFC Properties has been a leader in the historic restoration, promotion and revitalization of downtown Bloomington, Indiana.  They have also taken several steps to improve their environmental stewardship. Most recently, they have upgraded all of their lighting to LED and offered educational opportunities for employees to learn about improving home energy efficiency and helping connect them to free energy assessments.

Learn more about CFC Properties at https://www.cfcproperties.com/ or follow them on facebook.

CITYOFB_MoCoEnergyChampionYardSign-WorkplacePartner

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.

Staying Warm, Staying Green, and Saving Money

The Monroe County Energy Challenge  and MCPL are partnering to  host ‘Staying Warm, Staying Green, and Saving Money’ at the Monroe County Public Library  on Sept 18 from 2-4pm. The MCEC team will teach simple, low-cost weatherproofing techniques that can keep your house warmer, reduce your energy consumption, and save you money this winter.

MCPL fair

We will also bring our adult and kiddy energy bikes, our new walk-through Energy Bus, and have and plenty of hands-on energy activities for kids! Don’t miss this awesome opportunity to learn how to keep warm this winter and get your kids involved in energy savings.

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Renters can make a difference – by Ian Champ

Since I became a renter six years ago, I’ve constantly heard from friends and fellow renters that we have little control over our apartments.  And for a long while I believed that.  I’ve had great landlords in the past, but like most renters today I’ve also had pretty bad landlords.  Especially when it comes to upgrading my unit’s aging appliances.
So, I get it.  It’s easy as a tenant to feel like you have very little, if any, control over how your apartment is maintained and when your super-inefficient appliances are going to be replaced with more efficient models.  But stick with me through these short paragraphs and I’ll tell a true story about how you can make those changes, helping yourself and future tenants.
I recently moved into a five bedroom house with four friends and we’re all fairly energy conscious for various reasons.  Regardless of that, however, we’re all pretty standard renters in that we want to keep our utility bills as low as possible.  So, the first thing we did when we moved in was do some digging and find out what the previous tenants had spent on energy bills.  Seeing a $200 average bill, and being pretty competitive people, we took it as a challenge to see if we could spend less.

We renters may feel helpless when it comes to upgrading our apartments and cutting utility bills, but if you put in a bit of legwork and take some ownership of your place and its maintenance then the landlord is much more likely to help you get what you want.


We started small, installing CFLs instead of incandescents and working on our water heater (which was set to the highest temperature).  All of our windows had insulation that looked like it was from the mid-90s.  This is where we took matters into our own hands and simply bought new window weatherstripping.  For about $15, we put weatherstripping and insulation in every window and wall power outlet we could find.  As it’s gotten colder, we still have yet to spend over $120/month on energy and have noticed our furnace doesn’t kick on too often now that the house has a better seal.  So, that was $15 well spent.
Building on this win, we turned our attention to our biggest user, the furnace.  Noticing it had not been serviced since 2012, we started by calling our landlord, politely pointing this out and asking then to check it out and change the filter.  Which they did, and we even had one of the maintenance guys thank us for taking an interest in the house.
Knowing that two years without servicing had probably messed with it though, we called a local specialist and set up an appointment to have it tuned up.  $69 was pushing it for our budget, but we had a feeling it would pay off.  And it definitely did. The specialist found not only a loose wire (which could have shocked us if we touched the furnace while it was on) but also that the motor had collected a large amount of dust and had become out of balance.  When we asked if that’d make the furnace use more energy, he said “oh yeah!” with wide eyes and everything.  Having our quote in hand, we took it straight to our landlord, asking the landlord to fix the problem since we had paid to find it.  Win-win for everyone!  We’ve spent less than $100 on increasing the energy efficiency of our house and already seen more than that in savings.
So, my message is this.  We renters may feel helpless when it comes to upgrading our apartments and cutting utility bills, but if you put in a bit of legwork and take some ownership of your place and its maintenance then the landlord is much more likely to help you get what you want.  This may not be true with every landlord, but I’ll definitely be doing this in every apartment I have from now on.

The Education Committee for the Monroe County Energy Challenge is off to a bright start!

A community effort, the MCEC Education committee includes MCCSC Schools, Richland Beanblossom Schools, the Project School and Harmony School.

Pam CunninghamThird/fourth grade teacher Pam Cunningham in front of the Energy bulletin board at The Project School 

Marlin Elementary School teachers Angela Harding and Rachel Melnick started the Lights Out challenge, which teaches students math skills in addition to energy conservation. Now that spring is here and days are longer, classrooms, as well as staff offices, are striving to flip their lights off when they can and optimize the use of natural light.

Student Council members have been running the challenge, says Harding.

Students made “Lights Out” posters to post by light switches as energy-saving reminders. Students and staff record the minutes spent without the use of light bulbs. At the end of each week, student council members calculate and announce the amount of energy saved. While Marlin is focusing on working together to save as much energy as possible, there is a small competition between classrooms to see who can save the most.  Many classes are getting into the spirit. Some classrooms have had students tape down the light switches and challenge themselves to use no lights at all.

If other schools are looking for an easy way to start promoting saving energy in their buildings, “Lights Out” is an easy way to get things rolling, says Harding.  It is as simple as announcing the challenge to the school and creating a tracking sheet for students and staff to record minutes of “Lights Out.”

Schools play a vital part in the Energy Challenge.  School buildings are big users of electricity and gas, paid for by taxpayers.  Schools are also where our children learn about the world—and our world runs on electricity and gas.  Understanding energy is an important part of their education.  And when they come home? Your kids may even start turning out the lights when they leave the room, without you reminding them!

If you would like more information about this challenge or resources to get your school started feel free to email Angela Harding at aharding@mccsc.edu.

MCEC Launches Community Blog in the Herald Times!

The Monroe County Energy Challenge now has a Community Blog post at the Herald Times website! Follow the blog here.

Our first blog post is below:

 

Monroe County could win $5 million

Monroe County has a shot at winning $5 million.

All we have to do is save more energy than 49 other communities across the country.  That’s a 1-in-50 chance – better than any lottery you’ll ever find.

Here’s how it works:

Georgetown University has put up the $5 million Energy Prize and kicked off the two-year competition in January 2015.  That gives us until the end of 2016 to show what we can do – by saving energy (and money!) in local homes, government facilities, and K-12 schools

How will we know how we’re doing?  That’s the thing – there’s no way to fake it, because the information will come straight from our energy utilities.  Usage from all residential, government, and K-12 meters in Monroe County will be aggregated quarterly and compared to the 49 other communities competing.  The first report will come out in May, and we need help from households all over the county.

Start simple.  In April, change out a few lightbulbs for super-efficient (and mercury-free, and super-cheap at the Duke Energy Savings Store) LED bulbs.  In May, service your AC unit and clean your refrigerator coils.  We’ll share one task each month to help you save energy and money, and to help the community win $5 million.

Follow us here for frequent updates on the Challenge, and find more information on our website (www.mocoenergychallenge.org), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mocoenergychallenge) or on Twitter (@mocoenergy).   We’re competing for $5 million and CHANGE.