The Energy Challenge of Central Oregon

The Energy Challenge was created to help everyone in Bend save energy and make their homes healthier, more comfortable, and more environmentally friendly.

First launched as the Bend Energy Challenge in 2015, we competed for a  $5 million prize in nationwide energy-saving competition throughout 2015 and 2016. We are still vying for the final prize.

In 2017, we’ve taken on a new name and are expanding our borders to serve beyond Bend. First up, the expansion of the free LED light bulb program to Tumalo, Redmond, and beyond city limits. Stay tuned for more programs coming to your area soon!

The Energy Challenge is a project of The Environmental Center.

The $5 million Energy Prize Competition 

The Bend Energy Challenge was Bend, Oregon’s team in the Georgetown University Energy Prize — a national competition to reduce energy use. We competed in a two-year competition, in 2015 and 2016, and the $5 million prize will be awarded by the fall of 2017 to the community that lead the way in reducing energy use. 50 cities and counties across the country are competing for the Energy Prize.

Map of Georgetown University Energy Prize competing cities


The Georgetown University Energy Prize challenged participating communities to tap their imagination and creativity and collaborate to reduce energy use. It was a great fit for Bend’s creative, competitive and entrepreneurial spirit, and presented a unique opportunity to organize and build momentum for clean, efficient and renewable energy in Bend. Throughout the competition, we worked closely with our local government entities and utilities and built new partnerships that we will carry forward past the competition.

The way we see it, even if Bend does not win the competition, coming close will still be a real win for our community: we will significantly raise the visibility of energy efficiency and its benefits, and we will dramatically reduce our community’s energy use and carbon footprint. Win-win.

Our Team 

Lindsey Hardy

Program Director, The Energy Challenge
[email protected]
541-385-6908 x 11

Lindsey has her BA in Environmental Studies from Ithaca College. She thinks helping to save the planet makes for a pretty cool job and loves that she gets to help people realize that we can all make this world a better place.

She has worked as the Assistant Manager at a green living store in Ithaca, NY, served a year in AmeriCorps as the Solarize Pendleton Coordinator in Pendleton, OR, and most recently was the Outreach Director for a local solar company. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of Energy Trust of Oregon. In her spare time she likes to be outdoors running, riding bikes, hiking, skiing, or snowboarding. If she has to be inside, she doesn’t mind playing board games and reading books.

Neil Baunsgard

Project Manager, LED Program
[email protected]g
(541) 385-6908 x 26

Neil joined the Environmental Center team in 2015 and studied Environmental Studies, Economics, and Energy Policy at Western Washington University. He has worked in corporate sustainability management and is very happy to be living close to both family and the outdoors in Bend. When he is not geeking out about LED lighting, you can find himtrail running, XC skiing or climbing. He will be hard to miss, as he is often sporting colorful shorts or running tights.

Krystal Benn

Project Assistant, The Energy Challenge
[email protected]
541-385-6908 x 26

Krystal joined the Environmental Center in 2016 as the Project Assistant for the Bend Energy Challenge. She studied Sustainability at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and is continuing her degree at Oregon State University. She finds it very rewarding to be employed by a non-profit whose values and goals are in line with her own. Krystal enjoys gardening, hiking, traveling and snowboarding.