News in Cortland NY

2013 Energy Challenge Program

Cortland and Oswego to Compete on Energy Savings

Mayor Brian Tobin has announced the launch of the 2013 Central New York Energy Challenge program. The Challenge welcomes neighborhood groups, businesses, and community organizations to form teams to take action to reduce energy waste. Mayor Tobin has issued his own challenge to Mayor Gillen of Oswego to see which community can garner the most participants; the losing Mayor has agreed to make the trip to the opposing city and pick up the tab for dinner! May the best city win!

“This program presents an opportunity for citizens in our community to learn about energy conservation measures, to save money and to take steps to lower their environmental impact in a way that builds community and sets an example for their neighbors,” said Mayor Tobin, “Cortland has a unique perspective and passion for the environment. I challenge our citizens to bring that passion into their neighborhoods and work collaboratively around saving energy.”

For the Energy Challenge, the greater Cortland community is encouraged to form teams of 5-8 households who work together through a 5-unit curriculum over a period of 6 weeks to learn about energy use and take energy saving actions within the home. The typical household in Central New York wastes about 30 percent of its energy consumption. The Challenge Team program is designed to reduce that energy waste. Participants’ energy consumption will be tracked over a period of months to determine how effective the overall program is for reducing energy consumption.

An informational public meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 7:00 PM in the Common Council Chamber of City Hall, 25 Court Street. Representatives from the City of Cortland and partner agencies will be in attendance.

The Energy Challenge Team program was developed in partnership with the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNY RPDB) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Office of Energy Efficiency and Exploratory Research based on several findings released in the US Department of Energy Driving Demand report. The DOE study determined providing information and financing tools is not enough to encourage the adoption of positive energy behaviors. Individuals need to develop an understanding of appropriate energy behaviors, make a public commitment to change, and be provided with feedback on their efforts. The Energy Challenge Team program encourages peer-to-peer conversations and collective action to generate a “buzz” in the community about energy efficiency.

“We are pleased to partner with the cities of Cortland and Oswego to provide assistance to households within these two cities to reduce their energy waste. The Energy Challenge Team model has proven to be effective – with participants reducing household electric consumption by 30 percent,” said Samuel Gordon, Energy Challenge Coordinator with the CNY RPDB, “In one way this is a simple task – because 30 percent of the energy that our homes use is wasted – on the other hand we often need support from our friends and neighbors to make even small changes in our daily routines. The Energy Team model provides just that vehicle.”

“Many of us simply don’t make the link between our actions and our energy use. The bill comes once a month and we often forget the specific actions that resulted in our usage. By using a team approach, the Energy Challenge Team program offers a promising new strategy for reducing energy consumption. By working together, groups of friends, neighbors, or co-workers can really see a difference and help make saving energy easy, fun, interesting, and engaging. ” said Professor Wesley Schultz, co-author of Social Marketing to Protect the Environment: What Works and scientific advisor to Action Research, a consulting team working with the project.