CoMo Energy Challenge focuses on family education

5 years 7 months 2 weeks ago Saturday, January 31 2015 Jan 31, 2015 Saturday, January 31, 2015 1:15:00 PM CST January 31, 2015 in News
By: Amanda LaBrot, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - The CoMo Energy Challenge kicked off this weekend, and Saturday's focus was family education.

Barbara Buffaloe, Sustainability Manager for the City of Columbia, said they were seeing more people coming through the store picking up home performance information and learning home weatherization techniques. 

"It's Saturday, so we're seeing a lot more families coming by and people making repairs around the home," Buffaloe said. "Obviously on a weekday at hardware stores, you're seeing the contractors out there that are doing this as part of their job. So we're having a lot more interaction with families and couples that are coming to make improvements because they want to be more comfortable. It's kind of gross weather outside, and so I think they're really thinking about how they can be warmer at home and just be happier."

The Georgetown University Energy Prize competition began on January 1 and will last for the next two years. Columbia will tally energy usage to hopefully win $5 million for the city to improve energy efficiency. It's only one of 50 communities throughout he country vying to win.   

"The Georgetown University Energy Prize is measuring energy usage all together in homes as well as in our city buildings," Buffaloe said. "So we're reporting how much energy is consumed in the whole of Columbia, so one of the things we're asking is for people to help make savings. We have two years though, so every little bit counts."

Representatives from Boone Electric and Columbia Water and Light were on hand to help residents learn about home performance with Energy Star on an individual basis from their utilities employer. Weatherization demonstrations included practicing with the caulking gun and putting film on the windows. Westlake Ace Hardware is hosting a promotion on LED light bulbs in conjunction with the Energy Challenge. Customers can buy three LED bulbs and get the fourth free. Buffaloe says they are comparable to traditional 60 watt bulbs.

Most importantly, Buffaloe says each person's effort is essential to win the prize and to help decide how to spend the money.

"I think the big thing is that every little bit counts. Even if it's just replacing a light bulb to doing something like having an energy audit and adding more insulation. Every little bit counts, and it will help us win the prize but will also make Columbia a better place." 

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