CONTACT: Andrew Brix, Energy Programs Manager, Ann Arbor Energy Office 734.794.6430 x.43711 firstname.lastname@example.org
CITY OF ANN ARBOR ANNOUNCES FEBRUARY RESIDENTIAL ENERGY CHALLENGE
ANN ARBOR, Mich., January 26, 2011 — The City of Ann Arbor asks residents to take action on climate change by conserving energy and reducing their carbon footprint during the Ann Arbor Residential Energy Challenge this February.
At the heart of the challenge is an interactive Web site—www.a2energy.org—to help residents save energy and reduce their carbon footprint in the energy-intensive month of February. The Web site allows residents to learn about various actions they can take, from taking shorter showers to buying local food, and then track progress and savings throughout the month on four weekly logs. The Energy Challenge month is inspired by the successful getDowntown Commuter Challenge, and was first piloted as a study in October of 2009. Energy Office staff hope that participants will learn emissions-reducing habits and make investments that will continue beyond the duration of the challenge. Feedback from residents during the Challenge month will also help guide future climate action planning efforts in Ann Arbor.
Mayor John Hieftje said, "With the Green Energy Challenge, we have set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Ann Arbor by 20 percent. Meeting this challenge is going to take a community-wide effort and every resident has a part to play."
The Energy Challenge Month asks residents to set a goal to reduce their February carbon footprint five percent, equivalent to avoiding 170 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. If every year residents shaved just two percent off their carbon footprint, Ann Arbor would reach sustainable levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Andrew Brix, Energy Programs Manager stated: "It can be hard sometimes to decide what to do about saving energy or whether your actions will have an impact. This February’s Energy Challenge is a way to say, 'yes your actions have an impact, and here is how much.' We hope that participants will also consider a home energy audit to identify specific measures that go beyond the general suggestions we can make."
Monica Patel, Ann Arbor 350 Organizer for the Ecology Center, who has helped inform and promote the challenge, added: “Scientists agree that the next five years will be crucial for addressing global warming. Rather than waiting for changes in federal policy or international initiatives, there are lots of things we can do now, in our own homes and in our own communities that will have a genuine and significant impact on protecting the environment.”
Our community spends $250 million a year on natural gas and electricity. Reducing this by just five percent would put over $12 million in the local economy, and cutting our community greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent avoids nearly 96 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions – the same as removing 8,300 cars from the road. Whether residents want to save a few dollars, help the local economy, or mitigate our community greenhouse gas emissions, small steps can make a huge difference. Residents interested in participating in the Energy Challenge Month are encouraged to sign up at www.a2energy.org today.
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