Oswego and Cortland to Compete on Energy Savings

OSWEGO, NY – Mayor Tom Gillen has announced the launch of the 2013 Central New York Energy Challenge program.

The challenge welcomes all citizens, neighborhoods, business groups and community organizations to form teams to set goals and reduce energy costs.

Cortland's Mayor Brian Tobin and Oswego's Mayor Tom Gillen, right, take on the Central New York Energy Challenge September 17.
Cortland’s Mayor Brian Tobin and Oswego’s Mayor Tom Gillen, right, take on the Central New York Energy Challenge September 17.

Mayor Gillen has issued a challenge to Mayor Tobin of the city of Cortland to have some fun with the competition and rally more participation among Oswego’s citizens.

Which community can garner the most participants?

Mayor Gillen is asking all Oswegonians to participate to lower their energy bills and show Cortland that we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and lower our energy bills.

Both mayors have agreed that the losing city mayor will then make the trip to visit the opposing city and pick up the tab for dinner.

May the best city win!

“This program presents an opportunity for citizens in to learn how to cut their energy bill, save money and lower our environmental impact in a way that is fun and builds our community,” said Mayor Gillen, “Oswego has always generated a lot of energy and our proximity to energy and nature makes us passionate about the environment. I challenge our citizens to bring that passion into our neighborhoods and work as a team to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas.”

For the Energy Challenge, everyone in the greater Oswego community is encouraged to form teams of five to eight households to work together for six weeks with a five-unit book.

The workbook explores energy use and suggests energy saving actions to use at home. A typical household in Central New York wastes about 30% of the electric and gas it pays for every month.

The workbook for each team is designed to reduce energy waste. Team members’ energy bills will be tracked for 36 months to see how much energy is saved each month.

The Energy Challenge Team program was developed in partnership with the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Office of Energy Efficiency and Exploratory.

Research was based on the US Department of Energy Driving Demand report. The DOE study shows that providing information and funding did not help consumers adopt energy conserving behaviors.

Families first need to understand and then need a support team to change energy wasting behavior into energy saving behavior.

The Energy Challenge Team program encourages neighbors and friends to act on their knowledge and generate a “buzz” in the community about reducing energy costs.

“We are pleased to partner with Oswego and Cortland to assist households to reduce their energy waste. Energy Challenge Teams have proven to be effective – with households reducing their electric consumption by 30 percent,” said Samuel Gordon, Energy Challenge Coordinator for Central New York.  “Really this is pretty simple – most households waste 30 percent of their electrical energy. We only need some team effort and support from friends and neighbors to make the small changes in our daily routines. Energy Teams provides just that support.”

“We need to make the link between our actions and our energy use. The bill comes once a month and we may forget what triggered all that electric use. By using a team approach, the Energy Challenge Team program offers a promising new strategy for reducing energy consumption. By working together, groups of friends, neighbors, or co-workers can really see a difference and help make saving energy easy, fun, interesting, and engaging,” said Professor Wesley Schultz, co-author of Social Marketing to Protect the Environment: What Works and scientific advisor to Action Research, a consulting team working with the project.

The first meeting for the CNY Energy Challenge will be held on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Oswego Public Library, 120 E. Second St.

The city of Oswego Community Climate Action Plan Committee, the Regional Planning Board and partner agencies will present the program and sign on members who will recruit Oswego energy teams.

Call the Community Development Office at 343-3795 for more information.