CoMo Energy Challenge gears up for last two months of competition

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COLUMBIA – Columbia residents only have two months left to participate in a nationwide energy-reducing competition.

The CoMo Energy Challenge is Columbia’s campaign for the Georgetown University Energy Prize: a 2-year national contest to see which city can reduce the most energy.

Columbia is one of 50 cities competing for the $5 million prize to help make its community more energy efficient.

Sustainability Educator James Cole said Columbia currently ranks 10th or 11th compared to other cities in the competition, and he is pleased with the city’s progress so far.

“We’ve moved up six or seven spots in just a year’s time,” Cole said. “We are still moving in the right direction.”

Cole said the city measures energy data by looking at residential electricity use and residential gas usage.

Mid-Missouri Peaceworks Director Mark Haim said he thinks the challenge advocates for sustainability.

“This is one nice project,” Haim said. “What we’re talking about is making a transformation.”

He said there are two basics of going green: efficiency and renewability, and it is sometimes difficult to achieve those.

“It’s two sides of a coin,” Haim said. “We have a lot of work to do.”

Cole said if Columbia wins the competition, the city will hold a public forum to ask for input on how it can best invest the $5 million.

“We have our ideas, but we'd really like for the community to help shape that direction,” Cole said.

“I think there’s this perception that when we talk about saving energy, we’re talking about going to live in a cave,” Cole said. “And that’s not even close to the case.”

He said there are easy ways residents can participate in the competition these last two months and help Columbia win.

 

  • Wash clothes in cold water
  • Hang clothes up to dry
  • Turn off lights
  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn down thermostat
  • Change cooling system’s filter every 1-2 months

 

Cole said one of the biggest resources the city has is Columbia Water and Light’s education programs.

These programs allow Columbia Water and Light to come into your home and help you understand how efficient or inefficient it is.

The CoMo Energy Challenge also launched its #savingenergy2win competition early last month. The voluntary contest consists of turning in a checklist and commenting on how that checklist has helped make your home more energy efficient.

Cole said this is an effort to get more people involved in reaching that No. 1 competition spot. The campaign, #savingenergy2win, will run through the end of November.

“I try to practice what I preach,” Cole said. “I can tell you from personal perspective, it’s not a sacrifice at all.”

Cole said the announcement of Columbia's final ranking will happen in February or March of next year.

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