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Community Coalition Launches Monroe County Energy Challenge as Part of National Competition

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Jan. 14, 2015

For more information, please contact:

Jacqui Bauer, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Bloomington Department of Economic and Sustainable Development, 812.349.3837,

Mike Farmer, Utility Superintendent, Town of Ellettsville, 812.327.8030,

Julie Thomas, Monroe County Commissioner, 812.345.0707,

Dean Walendzak, Energy and Environmental Specialist, Monroe County Community School Corporation, 812.330.7700 ext. 50462,

Jason Bletzinger, Assistant Superintendent, Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corporation,

Community Coalition Launches Monroe County Energy Challenge as Part of National Competition

Bloomington, Ind. - A broad community coalition announced today that the Monroe County Energy Challenge (MCEC) has been selected as a semifinalist for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize.

Along with 49 other communities across the country, Monroe County will compete over the next two years to save energy in local residences, municipal facilities, and K-12 schools. The winning community will receive $5 million to be used for additional energy projects.

"We're just thrilled to be a part of this effort," said Mike Farmer, Utility Superintendent for the Town of Ellettsville. "It's really brought our communities together."

Partners include both local school corporations, Monroe County Government, the City of Bloomington, and the Towns of Ellettsville and Stinesville. Vectren, Duke Energy, the South Central Indiana REMC and the Utilities District of Western Indiana are also supporting the effort.

"Bloomington's real challenge is going to be our huge number of rental properties. We need to find champions out there who will help us lower energy use in both rentals and owner-occupied homes," said Jacqui Bauer, Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Bloomington.

Monroe County Commissioner Julie Thomas added, "Five million dollars is a huge motivator and just gives more momentum to projects we've been working on already."

The effort is being lead by a multi-organizational task force as well as a number of subcommittees. The group is still seeking partners to help spread the word, share information on an energy-saving "Task of the Month" program, make improvements in their own homes or create teams to work together to save energy. Committee members are needed as well.

Both households and schools will be critical components of the effort, and the team urged people across the community to get involved.

"Everyone can do something, even small things, that will make a difference," said Dean Walendzak of the Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC).

MCEC volunteers will be at the Winter Farmers Market on Jan. 17, at Harmony School Gymnasium, 909 E. Second St. Both homes and volunteers are still needed for a Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day Weatherization Service Project on Jan. 19. Information about the volunteer project taking place on MLK Day can be found here.

For additional information or to follow the competition, please contact or 812.349.3837. The effort will also be updated on MCEC's Facebook page, on Twitter (@mocoenergy) or MoCo's Energy Challenge website.