Category Archives: Challenge Updates

The EnergyMobile hits the road!

The brand spankin’ new EnergyMobile will hit the roads of Monroe County this Wednesday (May 27) with a tour of several local schools.

The vehicle will start out at Bloomington High School South at noon, then Marlin Elementary at 1pm, and Edgewood Primary School at 2pm.  Come check it out and learn more about the Energy Challenge!



Follow our progress on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Want to schedule the EnergyMobile for your own event? Just submit this form with all the details.


CCC grant will help lower lighting costs in schools

Monroe County Community School Corporation and Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corporation participated in a successful 2015 Community Conservation Challenge grant request headed up by the City of Bloomington.


The school corporations’ share of the grant proceeds will go to cost-saving LED lighting upgrades and motion sensors. LEDs draw far less power than existing lighting and motion sensors automatically turn out the lights after occupants leave a room. Lighting is a major operating expense for the schools.

Project Pavegen

Students at Bloomington High School South launched Project Pavegen on May 12, 2015. The launch marks the culmination of a year-long project involving scores of high school students, school administrators, two granting organizations, and one innovative international company.

Pavegen tiles “harness and convert kinetic energy from footsteps into a sustainable energy source.”  The energy will power LED display boards and real-time power statistics on the energy generated by walking on the tiles.  This will be a field trip destination for MCCSC students starting in Fall 2015, and it is a first for any public school in the U.S. Get the full story.

The student project team was composed entirely of volunteers, directed by Amanda Figolah, AP Environmental Science teacher at BHSS. Team members are shown here stepping onto one of the Pavegen tiles.

Pavegen_project team

Lights out

Marlin Elementary School’s Student Council, led by Rachel Melnick and Angela Harding, kicked off their first energy saving challenge this March. It is called “Lights Out.” 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. They have been making “Lights Out” posters to post by light switches to serves as energy saving reminders. Second graders Elyssa  Moore and Nash Bruner show their posters in this photo.



Students and staff are recording their 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 really getting into it. 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. 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.”

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

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

Earth Day with the Monroe County Energy Challenge and a Magical Popcorn Machine

Come out on Earth Day, April 22 and help the community win $5 million!  Stop by to take a pledge, take a photo, and eat delicious fresh popcorn while learning the secrets of saving energy at home and at work.

City Hall (401 N. Morton):  10am – 2pm
Utilities Building (600 E. Miller) : 2:30pm – 4pm

This event will be open-house style, so come by for whatever amount of time you like.

No need to RSVP!  Just come on by…

Opportunities to work with the MoCo Energy Challenge

The Energy Challenge has a number of opportunities to get involved.

  1. Apply for the MoCo Energy Challenge internship! Deadline extended to April 7, 2015.
  2. Become an Energy Ambassador.  We’ll provide a half-day training, and then ask you to commit 2-4 hours per month to help connect MoCo Energy Challenge to people throughout the county.
  3. Join one of our committees.  There’s Engagement, K-12 Education, Residential, and Data.

Email for more information.

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 (, on Facebook ( or on Twitter (@mocoenergy).   We’re competing for $5 million and CHANGE.

Work with the Energy Challenge! Apply for our internship by 3/31

The Energy Challenge is hiring!  Help support this huge community effort and get paid too.  Have questions?  Email us at the address below.




Position: Monroe County Energy Challenge Intern – starting April/May 2015

Department: City of Bloomington Department of Economic & Sustainable Development

Duration: Approximately 2 years (may be split into shorter periods depending on availability)

Compensation: $12/hr; average 10 hours/week (hours can be higher in summer)

Deadline to apply: March 31, 2015

Send resume and cover letter to:

This position will provide critical support to the Monroe County Energy Challenge, a community collaboration aimed at winning the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize. This Energy Prize competition brings together 50 communities across the country to reduce residential, municipal, and K-12 energy usage over a two-year period.


  • Spearhead programming, staffing and other logistics for the EnergyMobile, an energy-efficient vehicle that will travel to neighborhoods throughout the county to share energy efficiency materials and information and provide technical assistance to local residents.
  • Enhance and implement the existing outreach plan with the goal of engaging as many people as possible in the Challenge effort to achieve measurable reductions in energy use.
  • Create outreach and educational materials to support the Challenge
  • Create and track measures of participation and success.       Evaluate results and rework programs as needed.
  • Work in close collaboration with the Sustainability Coordinator and community task force.
  • Attend meetings, functions and events with and as directed by the Sustainability Coordinator.
  • Take all reasonable steps to maintain a safe work environment.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Skills desired

  • Ability to process complex information in order to identify and prioritize strategies
  • Well organized with strong attention to detail. Ability to maintain accurate records and files.
  • Ability to work under minimal supervision, under pressure and with deadlines.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, in diverse contexts.
  • Moderate to strong comprehension of spreadsheet functions, Word documents, and ability to learn software as required
  • Volunteer management experience
  • Knowledge of basic data analysis
  • Strong problem-solving capabilities
  • Ability to operate standard office equipment including computer terminal and related software, fax machine, copier and telephone
  • A clean driving record and current car insurance

Level of Supervision and Responsibility

Duties are performed according to standard departmental procedures and operations. The position is supervised by the Sustainability Coordinator. Level of supervision varies with scope and nature of the assignment. Many tasks are executed with minimal direct supervision.

Difficulty of Work

The position performs duties in a modern office environment with no unusual physical demands. Work follows a schedule determined according to availability by incumbent and supervisor. Work is performed in a highly visible environment and requires occasional evening and weekend work.

Personal Work Relationships

The position will maintain frequent contact with Department personnel, City employees, local organizations, media and members of the general public for the purpose of giving and receiving assignments and information. Contact occurs during varied situations and circumstances, requiring tact and professionalism.

March Task of the Month

Each month, the Monroe County Energy Challenge will present a Task of the Month for people who are helping us save energy and work toward winning the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize.

The March  March Task of the Month Poster

Properly sealing your home is one of the easiest ways you can save energy and money.  The cost of sealing your home is $15-$300, with many low-cost options – like caulking and canned spray foam –  to get you started.

For more information, see our  March Task of the Month Poster.

As you take this or other actions to reduce your energy use, we invite you to take our pledge.