Current Energy Leaders

March 2016

Molly O’DonnellMollyO Energy LeaderEnergy Leader Achievements:

  • Performed free home energy assessments and helped train new Energy Ambassadors
  • Hosted a weatherization workshop at The Project School in March
  • As part of Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, Molly has taught numerous “Using Energy Prudently” workshops in congregations from South Bend to Evansville
  • Active member of the MCEC Residential Committee

Interfaith Community of Environmentalist Youth (ICEY)

WP_20160320_17_21_39_ProEnergy Leader Achievements:

  • Taught and performed weatherization for dozens of local homes
  • Reached out to youth across Indiana to teach them weatherization skills that they then applied to homes
  • In the spring of 2015 they were the only high school group to attend the Lobby Weekend run by the Friends Committee of National Legislation in Washington DC

Caryn Hojnicki

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Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Improved her home energy efficiency through a MCEC energy assessment
  • Helped to make IU Athletics a MCEC Workplace Partner
  • Installed a Nest thermostat, insulated hot water pipes in the basement and installed insulation in the outlets of outer walls
  • Has been diligent about turning off the lights and reminding her children to do the same!

    April 2016

Scott and Ruth Sanders


Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Installed solar panels and a new high-efficiency furnace/AC which reduced their energy use by 65%!
  • Increased energy efficiency by installing double-paned windows, low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators, R7 curtains, and adding an insulating blanket to the hot water heater.
  • Shared energy and sustainability knowledge with neighbors and community members

 Energy Usage Data: 2000-2016

*High-efficiency furnace installed 2007: Solar panels installed 2013

Sanders Data Graph

Haley Kinserenergy leader

Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Haley is a member of the South Central Community Action Program’s first Weatherization class
  • With her new weatherization skills, she sealed up her son’s room and her mother’s new apartment to help save energy and increase their comfort
  • She volunteered on Valentine’s Day during a snowstorm to help weatherize additional houses
  • Haley also volunteers to bring others who don’t have transportation to class.
  • She has been an enthusiastic member of our program and is a great ambassador for MCEC and SCCAP

Woodie Bessler 

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Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Installed solar panels in 2011, added more in 2013 and has produced surplus electricity since 2013
  • Installed a Geothermal system to replace the gas furnace in early 2015 (see graph below for NG usage vs. heating degree day)
  • Active member of the Monroe County Energy Challenge Residential Programs team
  • Performed free energy assessments
  • Original author and a frequent presenter of the Going Solar program which has since been given over 50 times to approximately 1,000 people in Bloomington and across Indiana.
  • As a mentor to youth, Woodie has coached MCCSC robotics teams, trained teenagers to weatherize houses, and visited classrooms.

    Energy Usage Data: 2007-2015

    * Geothermal system replaced gas furnace in early 2015

Slide1Amanda Figolah


 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.

May 2016

Darrell and Kathleen Boggess


Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Installed a solar air heater for his house in the mid-80s, his first step to drastically reducing his home energy usage
  • Installed solar panels in 2011 and has been producing surplus electricity since March 2012!
  • Upgraded to an energy efficient refrigerator, removed 2nd rarely used refrigerator, and switched from a full size upright freezer to a chest freezer to save energy
  • Contributor to the Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network (SIREN) and a popular presenter of SIREN’s Going Solar program. See for more information
  • Helped many homeowners, his own church and many other congregations in Bloomington and statewide to make energy efficiency improvements and go solar.
  • Advocated to preserve net metering, which gives utility customers the right to fair compensation when they send excess power they generate from wind and sun to the electrical grid.

Madi Hirschland

20160506_101710-2Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Installed solar panels, which have reduced both electricity and natural gas energy use in her home
  • Helped found the local and statewide interfaith groups Earth Care and Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, for which she wrote several grants that helped fund solar panels for two dozen Indiana congregations.
  • She mentored her daughter and other young adults to take action in our community and beyond. They formed the group ICEY, Interfaith Community of Environmentalist Youth, which has been recognized as Energy Leaders in their own right

Alex Jorck

Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Installed high efficiency lighting and an Ecobee3 smart WiFi thermostat
  • Performed an energy assessment and completed small amounts of necessary sealing
  • Added thick curtains to help maintain interior temperatures
  • Installed a low-flow showerhead and outlet gaskets around the house
  • Designed his own energy efficient, custom-built gaming PC
  • Is a member of the MCEC Residential Committee

Kathy Ruesink

20160516_151052Energy Leader Achievements:

  • During a home energy assessment she discovered that her attic required additional insulation and hired Doug Clausman of Advance Energy Solutions (AES) to install insulation and seal the attic.
  • Doug is the only contractor in Monroe County who can apply for both Duke and Vectren rebates for attic insulation ($700 combined rebate). Doug also supports MCEC, and is offering a 10% discount to groups of five or more neighbors who hire him to insulate their attics.
  • When Kathy recently had to re-side her house she used the opportunity to install insulation in the walls, in an uninsulated space at the top of the lower level walls and in the crawl space, further reducing her use of fossil fuels to heat and cool her home.
  • At her church, she is part of a committee working toward adding solar panels to their church building this spring.

June 2016

Libby Gwynn and Lee Mysliwiec

Lee Libby2

Energy Leader Achievements:

  • A home energy audit found only a few air leaks.
  • Their crawl space has been sealed, they have double paned windows and a tankless water heater.
  • A whole house fan helps cool in the summer when air conditioning is seldom used.
  • Their furnace is energy efficient and solar panels have produced all of their electricity for many years with Duke net metering.
  • They also have a garden which produces hundreds of pounds of organic vegetables and countless flowers each year. Five rain barrels can be found on their property which reduce the strain on municipal water supplies while lowering their water bill.
  • They bike and walk as much as possible, keeping significant CO2out of the atmosphere

Bridie Mac and Chris Clark

20160601_141111-2Energy Leader Achievements:

  • They are remodeling a home with the intention of using it as a realtor’s office.
  • Installed 100% LED lighting
  • Installed a low flow toilet (0.8 gpf) and smaller, more energy efficient appliances in the kitchen
  • The home is very well insulated, keeping them warm in the winter and cool in the summer
  • They also have a garden which produces most of the vegetables they need, helping our community become more sustainable

Cliff Burk


 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

    July 2016

Pete Lenzen and Kyung-Hee Mun


 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.

Victoria Hilkevitch Bedford


  • 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

August 2016

Ann Hedin


Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Motivated in part by wanting to pass on to her grandchildren a sustainable planet, Anne has been a solar owner since 2012
  • She has been an active volunteer with SIREN since 2013, and active with the MCEC since its beginning
  • She’s particularly passionate about gaining solar for schools, educating young people about solar, and incorporating energy & solar education into the MCCSC curriculum
  • She was a member of the MCEC Education Committee who planned and carried out the teacher training at South High School
  • She assisted with an energy efficiency training for parents at The Project School

Marcia Veldman

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Energy Leader Achievements:

  • She has switched to LED’s, added insulation, fixed leaks and installed low flow water faucets throughout her home. In 2009 she installed a solar thermal hot water heater, followed by a geothermal HVAC system in 2010.
  • In 2012 she installed solar panels at her home that provide 100% of her electricity, including charging her partial electric car.
  • In 2007 she helped form Earth Care, a Monroe County interfaith climate advocacy group, that then went on to form the state-wide group, Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light.
  • In 2009 she co-founded the local Green Drinks, where experts are invited to present a talk on current environmental issues each month.
  • In 2012 she helped apply for, and raise matching funds for the first Indiana Office of Energy Development grant to help power six Indiana congregations’ with solar panels. Tied to that grant was a pledge for at least 1/3 of their members to reduce their household energy use by 14% and to reduce the church building’s energy use by at least 25%. (Counting the energy from the solar panels the church has lowered their energy use by over 50%.)
  • In 2013 she co-founded a local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), and is currently the state outreach coordinator. By building constructive, working relationships with members of Congress, CCL seeks passage of a Carbon Fee and Dividend, a climate change solution that bridges the partisan divide.

Pam Cunningham


Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Pam engaged all of her students at The Project School in energy conservation. Their excitement soon catapulted into a school-wide energy assessment, with the support of MCEC.
  • She inspired students to compare current TPS energy usage to previous years, and make determinations about why energy was going up (a new fridge, oven and 10 fish tanks were culprits).
  • Pam invited MCECC and SIREN representatives to meet with students. They undertook numerous studies of TPS and their homes, and then organized educational opportunities for all of the school’s parents, teachers and staff.
  • The students, with Pam’s support, made recommendations for our school to implement, including changing out light bulbs, replacing traditional light switches with automatic ones, closing all doors tightly, and more. All of their recommendations are now being implemented.
  • As we enter the new school year, our students are going to continue their school and home energy assessments and monitoring, and will make continued recommendations to the school leadership and to their families.

September 2016

Dan Woodside


Energy Leader Achievements:

  • He has upgraded to new low wattage LED bulbs as old incandescent bulbs fizzled out
  • He purchases energy efficient Energy Star appliances
  • In the summer he keeps the air conditioner above 74 degrees and never leaves unnecessary lights on
  • In his office he uses smaller LED’s rather than overhead and turns off his computer monitor each night

In the winter:

  • He keeps the thermostat between 62 to 65 degrees
  • He opens the dishwasher to let the moist, humid air warm the kitchen rather than having the machine dry them
  • He never uses the fan in the bathroom while showering so humidity is maintained in the room

Gracia Valliant20160921_113314-2

Energy Leader Achievements:

  • During the summer, she keeps her thermostat set above 75 degrees all the time and has a programmable thermostat.
  • She washes her clothes in cold water and regularly air dries them
  • Had an energy assessment completed and air sealed all of her windows and doors
  • She also consistently ensures that Global Gifts, her workplace is saving energy as well!

Robyn Cornwell


Energy Leader Achievements:

  • She uses LED lights instead of fluorescent bulbs (that have mercury) or incandescent bulbs (that produce heat)
  • She regularly uses a toaster oven instead of a full oven
  • As her windows face West, she closes the shades and drapes at 3:00 pm when the sun is reaching her side of the building
  • She unplugs appliances that are only needed occasionally, and always unplugs the rest as soon as she is finished using them
  • She only runs her water distiller (that gives off heat) at night when 1) it is cooler, and 2) there is less demand on the grid – especially in the summer

Sierra Reed20160818_160834Energy Leader Achievements:

  • She built her own Tiny Home in Bloomington and will be living there throughout her college career
  • She bikes to work every day
  • She is currently leading an effort to establish a tiny house neighborhood in Bloomington
  • She is working with city officials to find ways to allow the Tiny Neighborhood
  • Dedicated to energy efficiency and minimizing her carbon footprint while going to IU.

    October 2016

Allan Edmondsenergy-leader-allan_cropEnergy Leader Achievements:

  • For many years, Allan has represented his congregation in Earth Care, a nonprofit bringing Hoosiers of faith together to help curb global climate change.
  • In addition to making his house as efficient as possible, Allan had a 3.5KW photovoltaic array installed on his home in August 2011.
  • Allan usually rides his bikes to meetings and errands, in all kinds of weather, as well as riding many miles for pleasure, and is the blog editor and an active member of the Bloomington Bicycle Club.
  • Active for environmental causes for many years, on September 21st2014 Allan rode in a bus with a group from Bloomington to take part in the People’s Climate March in New York City in support of the UN Climate Summit.

Taryn Gilrien


Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Taryn strives for her workplace to use less paper and become more environmentally conscious
  • She was instrumental in getting her department to shift toward keeping electronic medical records and also requested a shredder in the MD offices so they recycle more often.
  • She has been an ambassador for the workplace Green Team and is always reminding co-workers to recycle.

Sarah & Neil Kopper

Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Sarah and Neil save energy and set an example by walking and biking for transportation
  • They use their A/C minimally and keep the thermostat low in the winter
  • They also save energy by only hang drying their laundry
  • Currently upgrading to LED light bulbs
  • They use minimal appliances to save energy

    November 2016

Brenda Seibel


Energy Leader Achievements:

  • The Seibels upgraded their stove & refrigerator to Energy Star models, installed high efficiency windows, and replaced a toilet with a water saving model
  • Installed ceiling fans in the living room and 3 bedrooms to reduce AC use in the summer
  • They installed attic insulation, switched from electric heat to gas heat, and from an electric water heater to gas heater
  • Currently upgrading to LED lighting
  • Most of their yard decorations are solar and they just purchased LED Christmas lights for their Christmas tree
  • Brenda helped to organize an MCEC Energy Fair at the library to help teach local residents how to weatherize their homes for the winter and conserve energy
  • She also creates fun, informative displays at MCPL to illustrate simple ways to save money and energy

Harmony Environmental Science Class 2016

Energy Leader Achievements:

  • These 14 incredible students helped teach over 370 local students about renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power through engaging in hands-on activities through the MCEC Solar, Wind & Watts Roadshow
  • They visited 17 classrooms across 6 schools and gave out over 350 LED lights to young students to help them educate their families about energy efficiency and to help reduce utility bills at home.
  • They have shown themselves to be leaders, teachers, and catalysts for positive change in our community.

Sarah Swartz

Energy Leader Achievements:

  • Her environmental science class at Harmony school helped teach over 370 local students about renewable energy through the MCEC Solar, Wind & Watts Roadshow!
  • She inspired her students to become community leaders and teachers in energy conservation
  • She helped train her students to give presentations on solar and wind energy to 2-4th graders, as well as to teach engaging activities on energy conservation.
  • This year her students have used less paper in the classroom and have become more environmentally conscious

Albrecht Holschuh and Deborah MeaderEnergy Leader Achievements:

In return for spending about $4,700 for energy efficiency over eight years, their house so far has saved $3,600 in electricity cost, and every year now saves about $750 more, even without further effort. They have a unique way of funding their energy efficiency improvements and have inspired others to do the same! Read their story here.