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Online Voters to Choose $25k Energy Retrofit Winner

February 8, 2013 By Jessica Lyons Hardcastle

A lucky Evanston, Ill. nonprofit will win a $25,000 energy-efficiency retrofit and up to $85,000 in rebate and incentive offerings from Nicor Gas to be used towards a community project — and city residents will pick the winner.

The city is participating in the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program Community Challenge, which runs through April and has the goal of reducing community energy usage. The challenge aims to help foster energy efficiency awareness and action within Evanston and Oak Park, Ill. It plans to expand to other communities in the future.

By enrolling new participants in one of six existing Nicor Gas programs, Evanston will raise up to $25,000 in prize money plus the incentive offerings from Nicor Gas.

It works like this: First, vote online for one nonprofit. The city will facilitate the voting process. Eligible organizations are the Child Care Center of Evanston, Evanston History Center, McGaw YMCA and the YWCA Evanston/North Shore. Final selection of the specific energy-efficiency project to be funded by the contest is subject to approval by Nicor Gas.

Next, sign up for an energy-efficiency program. For every homeowner or business that participates in one of several Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, $50 will be added to each community’s final prize, up to a total of $25,000 per community.

The Community Challenge ends April 30, at which point the Evanston will distribute the apportioned prize money from the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program to the local energy conservation project that received the most votes.

Evanston is not the first to use healthy competition to encourage energy-efficiency.

A group in Wilmington, Ohio, is creating an online game — Dropoly — for homeowners to share energy efficiency ideas and find out how much they can save by implementing changes. Dropoly stands for drops in cost, carbon and kilowatts. The group tested the game last month.

Also, an air conditioning business and a nonprofit in Sacramento, Calif., are offering prizes to students who can think of energy conservation projects that would benefit their community. The West Sacramento Educational Foundation has partnered with Beutler Air Conditioning and Plumbing to host the contest; the class with the best idea will win $500.



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