How did Bend do in the national competition for $5 million?
In January 2015, we said “If we win, we win. And if we lose, we still win.” We were confident that our work would result in real reductions in energy use that paid off for Bend, both in cost savings and reductions in climate pollution.
Although Bend did not win the competition, we ranked 17th among the 49 competing communities and were recognized as one of several “high-performing communities” that are leading the way for other cities and counties across the country.
The competition data show that, while Bend’s total energy use went up, the energy use per household went down. Rapid growth, plus several new public facilities that came on line during the competition, drove the increase in total energy used. It was the actions of homeowners and renters, together with local home builders and remodelers, and energy efficiency and solar contractors, that really made the difference. Local governments also reduced energy use and began paying more attention to how they can save energy over the medium- and long-term.
We’re proud of the results we achieved and the momentum we generated! We educated and engaged a lot of Bendites and elevated the discussion about energy use in Bend. We helped our community begin the transition to a low-carbon, clean energy future.
Where are we going from here?
Our grassroots work is now more important than ever. The profound reality of our changing climate is that meaningful action is needed at all levels to reduce the pollution that drives global warming. The other reality is that the responsibility for leading the way has shifted to states and local communities.
Energy use remains one of the largest sources of global warming pollution in Oregon. To leave a healthy climate for our kids and grandkids, we need to radically reduce our use of fossil fuels and make the shift to renewable energy.
Bend Energy Challenge was an important first step in that direction. Our LED installation program demonstrated the collective power of “Doing Just One Thing.” And we elevated the discussion about energy use to the policy level at the Bend City Council.
But much work remains. We’ll continue to educate and advocate in Bend. We’re also going to expand our reach. From La Pine to Madras and Sisters to Prineville, we plan to engage citizens, businesses and elected officials in The Energy Challenge.
We believe Central Oregonians are up to the challenge of reducing use, going solar and doing their part to leave a healthy climate for future generations. Please join us!
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Thank you thank you thank you!