It all started in 2013 with a simple proposition: Bend should lead the way to a low-carbon, clean energy future.
If we want to leave a healthy climate for our kids and grandkids, we’ve got to start somewhere. Why not right here at home? After all, Bend has abundant sunlight, a strong environmental ethic and an innovative, can-do approach to solving problems. But in 2013, our community lacked a grassroots campaign focused on energy use. So we set out to create one.
The result was The Bend Energy Challenge, Bend’s team in the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national competition to reduce energy use and win a $5 million prize. We launched with this opportunity in mind: Energy efficiency and conservation are zero-emissions “fuels” that can help our community and country meet growing energy needs, often at a lower cost than other fuels.
We asked the community to flex its “Energy Hero” muscles. And flex we did! We turned off lights, changed our thermostat
settings, unplugged appliances, and washed clothes in cold water. We completed energy assessments of our homes, added insulation and replaced old furnaces with super-efficient heat pumps. We installed LED light bulbs and converted to rooftop solar. And we adopted a new policy framework and fossil fuel reduction goals that will shape Bend’s energy use into the future.
The results are in: Together, we saved some real energy and money and reduced our local greenhouse gas emissions.
Thank you for your participation in and support of the Bend Energy Challenge. Read on to see some highlights of what we accomplished together and where we’re going from here. [Click here to view the full report and timeline!]