Columbia asks citizens for green New Years resolution

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COLUMBIA - The CoMo Energy Challenge starts January 1. Columbia is one of 52 cities competing for the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a 2-year competition for cities to reduce the most energy.

City organizations with environmental goals in mind, like COMO Connect, the City of Columbia Recycling Program, and the city's Stormwater Program have all teamed up with the CoMo Energy Challenge to promote greener habits residents can practice. Together, they will make up a "City Green Block" to hand out information. These organizations will host booths at Columbia Eve Fest on New Year's Eve at United Methodist Church.  

The CoMo Energy Challenge will ask residents to make a New Years resolution for a greener lifestyle. 

"Maybe it'll be a resolution they can keep," said Brenna Reed, the city's sustainability coordinator. "We're encouraging people to come down to make a resolution to change out their light bulbs and replace them with LEDs...or resolve to take COMO Connect more often or take their bike to work."

Columbia is competing for the Georgetown University Energy Prize. The $5 million grant will go to the city that reduces the most energy over the two-year span between 2015 and 2016. The city starts measuring energy use January 1.  

Reed said the Energy Challenge will use many pre-existing programs the city has already put in place. Reid said the city's efforts to go greener may give them an inside track on winning the competition.

"We're really tapping into those resources and promoting participation in those," Reed said. "It will give us a competitive edge." 

The city will measure its own buildings as well as residential areas within the city limits.

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