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Community Energy Challenge: EPA Promotes Energy Efficiency and Renewables in Cities and Towns

Release Date: 03/15/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan - (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass - March 15, 2007) - EPA is stepping up its efforts to promote increased energy efficiency and cleaner air by challenging all New England communities to scrutinize their energy use, take action to improve energy efficiency, and seek out renewable energy choices that reduce air pollution while saving money.

The New England Community Energy Challenge is an opportunity for municipalities across New England to identify simple and cost-effective measures that increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use across the region. Every community that chooses to participate in this program can receive EPA assistance in their efforts.

“Energy efficiency and renewable energy sources are important to communities throughout New England because they save money, cut pollution and reduce strain on energy resources,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “Every community has opportunities to improve energy efficiency and increase their use of renewables.”

Given the high cost of energy in New England, communities across the region are finding that a growing portion of their town’s budget goes to energy bills. A typical town of 25,000 spends more than a million dollars each year on electricity and heating fuel for town buildings. If the town operates a drinking water or wastewater treatment plant, the costs are considerably higher. For many towns and cities, energy costs are second only to personnel in the budget. EPA estimates that – on average – about 30 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings, including public buildings, is wasted. Fortunately, opportunities abound to pursue cost saving measures.

Communities that take the Challenge will make a commitment to improve energy efficiency. Steps involved in the Energy Challenge include: assessing the energy performance of all municipal buildings, schools and/or waste water treatment facilities; setting a goal to reduce energy use by 10 percent or more; and promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy to companies operating in the community.

The benefits of energy efficiency go beyond saving money. Energy use is the leading source of air pollution in New England and the United States. Burning fossil fuels to produce energy is by far the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Making towns more energy efficient saves money and helps protect our environment for future generations.

EPA will provide all participating communities with free, live web-based training in benchmarking and energy management, including follow up technical support and tracking overall progress of community achievements. Many municipalities may be eligible for national EPA recognition depending on their activities and success.

More information: EPA New England Energy Challenge and Sign Up (epa.gov/ne/eco/energy/energy-challenge.html)