tec_ledcar1-smallIt all started in 2013 with a simple proposition:

Bend should lead the way to a low-carbon, clean energy future.

If we want to leave a healthy climate for our kids and grandkids, we’ve got to start somewhere. Why not right here at home? After all, Central Oregon has abundant sunlight, a strong environmental ethic and an innovative, can-do approach to solving problems.

But in 2013, our community lacked a grassroots campaign focused on energy use. So we set out to create one.

The result was The Bend Energy Challenge, Bend’s team in the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national competition to reduce energy use and win a $5 million prize. We launched with this opportunity in mind: Energy efficiency and conservation are zero-emissions “fuels” that can help our community and country meet growing energy needs, often at a lower cost than other fuels.

We asked the community to flex its “Energy Hero” muscles. And flex we did! We turned off lights, changed our thermostat settings, unplugged appliances, and washed clothes in cold water. We completed energy assessments of our homes, added insulation and replaced old furnaces with super-efficient heat pumps. We installed LED light bulbs and converted to rooftop solar. And we adopted a new policy framework and fossil fuel reduction goals that will shape Bend’s energy use into the future.

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 energy use, going solar and doing their part to leave a healthy climate for future generations. Join us and stay in the loop with our newsletter and get updates on new resources, program expansions, and exclusive deals.

The Energy Challenge is a project of The Environmental Center.

How did Bend do in the $5 million Energy Prize Competition?

Map of Georgetown University Energy Prize competing cities


See the full results