David Eckert and Annette Mills had a 3.85 kW solar array installed on their home in November 2014. By April 2015, their solar generation exceeded the amount of energy used in the home—by 3 times on most days! Since the extra energy goes back into the grid, that’s a huge savings in both energy and money. (Dave checks the meter every day and keeps track of how much energy is coming from the sun!)
This is only one of the many stories Corvallis residents are telling as part of Take Charge Corvallis.
What is Take Charge Corvallis?
It’s a challenge to reduce the amount of electricity and natural gas used in our homes and municipal buildings. Corvallis is among 50 cities competing to win $5 million from Georgetown University. Take Charge Corvallis is a joint initiative of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and Energize Corvallis, a program of the Corvallis Environmental Center.
The larger goal is to find innovative and replicable ways to motivate all community members to reduce their residential and municipal electricity and gas use, so Corvallis can serve as a model to other cities.
When will this be happening?
It’s already started! In 2013–2014 we took a baseline measurement of the amount of gas and electricity used in Corvallis. During 2015–2016 we’ll work to reduce the amount of energy used. If we’re among the top 10 cities in reducing energy use, we’ll submit a final report on how we did it. If we’re chosen, based on our report, we’ll win $5 million!
What will the $5 million be used for?
The money will be used for investments in programs and infrastructure that further help our community save energy for a healthier, more secure future.
OK. Sounds great! How can I help?
Visit Take Charge Corvallis to find ways you can reduce the energy used in your home. Actions range from easy and cheap (or free!) to more complex with more investment. You can also help spread the word. Tell your family, friends, coworkers—everyone! You can also become an Energizer. More on that below.
Are there local programs to help us in our energy-saving efforts?
Yes, there are a number of programs that can help you get started or take your energy savings to the next level. For example, through Energy Trust of Oregon, you can access financial incentives for weatherization, heating systems and other home upgrades. Visit Take Charge Corvallis for a list of programs and offerings.
What will give us the edge to win the finals?
Demonstrating diversification, innovation, and replication will set us apart. We need to reach all kinds of people—home owners, renters, college students, schools, employees of local businesses, etc to get as many people involved as possible. We need to find innovative ways for all of these people to participate. And we need to show that our efforts can be replicated in other cities, so our good work can help communities across the nation.
OK, I’m saving energy at home and telling all my friends. This is great! What else can I do?
You can become an Energizer and share information with your friends or with groups in the community, such as church groups, sports teams, service clubs, book clubs—any group! Tools are available to help you spread the word. Find out more by contacting the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition at . You can also make a donation to the Corvallis Environmental Center to help fund our program director for Take Charge Corvallis efforts. To donate, go to corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org.
What happens at the end of the Take Charge Corvallis energy saving challenge?
Energy saving actions in 2015 and 2016 will continue to save energy well into the future through our new energy saving habits, efficient equipment, and renewable energy projects. We expect to impact long-term energy use as the people of Corvallis learn more ways to save natural gas and electricity.
It’s a Win-Win: Whether we win the money or not, Corvallis still comes out a winner!