Carbon Challenge teams face off with support from local businesses

Posted Sept. 05, 2011, at 8:24 p.m.
Matt Clark of Rockport puts up a poster as part of the Green Sneakers/Future Homeowners Community Carbon Challenge.
Matt Clark of Rockport puts up a poster as part of the Green Sneakers/Future Homeowners Community Carbon Challenge.

ROCKLAND — People have begun to pick their teams and sign up for the student-led, Green Sneakers-Future Homeowners Community Carbon Challenge.

At the launching event, high school student interns Keira Haining and Kristina Alex, both of Rockport, announced prize incentives and demonstrated how the My Energy Plan website guides users through a selection of actions that would bring down their energy use and thereby reduce their carbon footprint. The three-month competition is sponsored by the Green Sneakers Project, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Camden Public Library and the University of New Hampshire’s My Energy Plan website.

Over the summer, high school students of the Green Sneakers Future Homeowners group and Green Sneakers midcoast coordinator Nancy Glassman met at the Camden library to make their plans, and approached community leaders about getting involved in their Carbon Challenge. There was immediate support for their enthusiastic efforts. Dan Bookham, executive director of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, pledged to reduce his carbon footprint, as head of the Mount Battie team. Stuart Smith and The Lord Camden Inn are leading the Bald Rock team, with their efforts. Everyone is invited to sign up for either team, make pledge choices and join the fun.

Student interns approached businesses, who rallied to provide prizes to participants:

• Evergreen Home Performance, of Rockland, will give a six-pack of 13-watt CFLs and a free one-hour, home energy consultation to all participants.

• Sunrise Guide and Evergreen as co-sponsors will give the Sunrise Guide coupon book, a $20 value, to all who complete the challenge. The Sunrise Guide contains a coupon from Evergreen for $250 off a project that will save 250 gallons of oil, or the equivalent. The first 25 people who sign up and register their pledge on the site will have their names entered into a raffle for more prizes.

• Penobscot Home Performance of Belfast will donate a two-hour home energy audit with a blower door test, infrared camera inspection and walk-through, worth $400.

• Revision Energy of Liberty will give a TED 1000 Series, (home energy detective) complete with installation, for a value of $360. This unit shows how much and where the kilowatt hours in a house are used.

• From Efficiency Maine, there are LED nightlights for the first 30 people who sign up.

“We are so impressed with the way the students have pulled this plan together and so grateful for the community response,” said Glassman. “The Future Homeowners group really got behind the idea for establishing the challenge and it was their inspiration to set it up this way. It’s exciting to see how everyone is putting in their part. And of course, saving energy saves money and puts more back into the local economy, while improving our global impact.”

It is the hope of the group that the actions taken during these three months will be lasting. They encourage participants to stack their teams with everyone they can get to join.

To sign up for the challenge, go to http://myenergyplan.net. Click on Personal Energy Planner. Fill in that you live in Maine and scroll down to select your town.

After telling a couple of details about your household, scroll to Sneakers Future Homeowners, as your Challenge group. Then select your community. It’s important that you then scroll down and pick your team. Continue to fill out the required fields, then click next. The site will prompt you through the steps and show you how much those steps would progress you toward carbon reductions and money savings. On several of the pages, you can choose to click on More for additional opportunities to reduce energy use.

It is also crucial that you register with your email address on the Web. That is how the websites will track the teams. Your personal information will not go to anyone. You will receive an email reminder to complete the challenge.

The Future Homeowners group also has been training students in building science and helping their families learn how to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Green Sneakers is a neighbor-to-neighbor home energy project created by Maine Partners for Cool Communities, a collaboration of the Sierra Club-Maine Chapter, Maine Council of Churches and Physicians for

Social Responsibility-Maine. The partnership works with communities and their residents throughout Maine to implement municipal and neighborhood strategies to solve global warming and improve air quality. Green Sneakers has been partially funded for one year through a grant from the Better Tomorrow Fund. Green Sneakers Midcoast has established a desk at the Island Institute’s offices on Main Street in Rockland.

To learn more about Green Sneakers, and how to join a team, call Nancy Glassman at 322-9147 or email greensneakersmc@gmail.com.

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