Take Charge Madness: Week 1

This month, eight local businesses are taking charge to help spread the word about the $5 million energy prize competition and encourage Corvallis residents to save energy and money at home. They’re participating in Take Charge Madness campaign, a competition that mimics the annual college basketball tournament. Each business enters as its own team, and they earn points by collecting energy-saving pledges from employees and customers. The participating businesses are a diverse bunch: High Quality Compassion, Timberhill Athletic Club, Block 15 Brewing Co., Old World Deli, Coffee Break Café, Heartland Humane Society, First-Alternative Natural Foods Co-op, and Corvallis Grocery Outlet.

As of January 2016, Corvallis ranked number 10 out of 50 US cities competing to win the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP). To advance to the finals, the City must remain in the top 10 in per capita energy savings. Once a spot in the finals is secured, the top contenders will submit detailed reports on their programs and outreach efforts during the 2-year competition.

Sarah Spangler, coordinator of the Corvallis campaign gives insight into the strategy she hopes will give Corvallis the upper-hand in the finals. “We know Georgetown is looking for three key elements in each city’s campaign: diversity, innovation, and replicability. We’re starting to be more creative in how we engage people in energy efficiency and inspire them into action. We’re looking at Corvallis as a whole and asking ourselves, ‘Who haven’t we connected with yet? How do we help that community save energy, and how do we do it in a way that would work for other communities as well?’”

On Wednesday, March 2nd, the first of three rounds kicks off. Businesses will be paired up and go head-to-head to see who can gather more energy-saving pledges on the Communities Take Charge website. Pledge actions can be as simple as upgrading to LED light bulbs or as ambitious as installing solar panels. Winners of each round and the new matchups for the week will be announced Wednesday mornings in March, with the final winner to be announced Friday, March 25th.

To make your energy-saving pledge and support your favorite local business’ effort to become the Take Charge Champion, visit www.CommunitiesTakeCharge.org. When the website prompts you to select a group, click “March Madness 2016” and then choose which team you’d like your savings to count toward.  For updates on the Take Charge Madness competition, follow Take Charge Corvallis on Facebook.

Take Charge Corvallis is co-led by the Corvallis Environmental Center and the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition. To get involved or learn more about GUEP, click here. Every watt of energy saved takes Corvallis one step closer to winning the $5 million prize.

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