Beginning January 1 through September 30, 2011, the City of Gardner participated in the Take Charge Challenge (TCC) against Ottawa, Paola and Baldwin City to see which city could become the most energy efficient. Each community was scored in three categories: home energy audits, light bulb and programmable thermostat switches, and community participation in TCC events.
Funding for the City was provided with $25,000 grants from both Efficiency Kansas and Johnson County. Throughout the Challenge, the City earned points by making presentations to community groups and elementary schools, holding weatherization classes, organizing a grand opening celebration for the TCC Headquarters in Gardner, and hosting informational booths at local events, such as the Earth Day/Arbor Day Cleanup and the Festival on the Trails. The City also handed out a variety of free items, such as 350+ weatherization kits, 300+ programmable thermostats and 3,000 CFL light bulbs. These efforts contributed to the 58,204 light bulbs switched, 1,066 thermostats installed, 142 events and 144 energy audits completed for the northeast region
Unfortunately, Gardner was not the winner for the northeast region. Gardner wishes to congratulate Baldwin City on their win and to the citizens of Gardner for helping make our community more energy efficient!
To view the final fact sheet, please click HERE.
Congratulations to the Winners of the $1,000 Appliance Rebates!
During the Take Charge Challenge, Gardner residents were encouraged to participate in home energy audits. Ten winners were selected from a list of 40 households and will receive a $1,000 rebate to use towards the purchase of an Energy Star appliance!
Congratulations to our winners:
- John & Alisha Harding
- Bill & Vivian Johnson
- James Shown
- Timothy Bengfort
- John Bolyard
- Brad Anson
- Valentine Williams
- Troy Bortz
- Audrey Sparks
- Rick Breitenbach
Funding Cut from Efficiency Kansas Program
A recent article from ksnt.com announced that “the Kansas Energy Office is pulling funding from the Efficiency Kansas Program. This program loans money to Kansans to make energy efficiency upgrades to their homes. Once an energy audit is complete, the loans are financed through utility companies or banks.”
Because of this development, the City of Gardner is unable to pursue a utility partnership to provide funding for repairs/upgrades identified during a home energy audit.
However, the State is still offering $100 home energy audits AND the City is still offering a chance to win one of ten $1,000 rebates for those who complete an audit before September 1, 2011. Rebates can be used to purchase Energy Star appliances that can help lower energy bills.
The article goes on to explain why funding has been cut, with Cara Sloan-Ramos of the Kansas Corporation Commission saying, “The state of Kansas was given funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act but if the money given wasn't used up by March 31st, 2012 it would be given back to the Federal Government. Ultimately the goal was to make sure all those monies were spent in the state to benefit Kansas and once it was determined that that wasn't going to be able to happen then the through the Efficiency Kansas Program they were just reallocated to other projects, renewable energy projects that were shovel-ready and that money was going to stay here in the state.”
As of now, the State has no intention to shut down the Efficiency Kansas program. Ramos also noted, “We are working and are committed to finding those alternate sources of funding. It's just going to be a little bit of a slow down [sic] period while we identify and access those while we get the program ramped back up."
Currently the State has not identified a new funding source to make loans through utilities for efficiency upgrades.
Efficiency Kansas has received $1.5 million back from the reallocated funds!
This amount should cover the loan applications that have been submitted to Efficiency Kansas through the end of August, which EK has been holding until additional funds were located. These loans will be processed in the order in which they were received, and new applications will be funded on a first come, first serve basis.
View the full article at:
Congratulations to the Winners of the Bookmark Challenge!
During the Take Charge Challenge, young Gardner residents were asked to participate in the Bookmark Challenge! This coloring contest, for kids in preschool through fifth grade, gave them a chance to get creative about how Gardner can "Go Green with Greenie!" Four winners were selected and will receive a gift bag and a $25 gift card to Domino's Pizza. Congratulations to our winners: John Neddersen, Nalleli Rollf, Jon Wayne Rollf and Aubrey Pillow!
To view the winning bookmarks, please click here!
Want a FREE Weatherization Kit?
You can help keep hot air from leaking into your home during these summer months by making some simple and inexpensive improvements, for example, sealing any cracks or openings around your doors and windows. This can be done by using items such as weatherstripping, caulk or spray foam insulate. During the Take Charge Challenge, the City of Gardner will be offering FREE weatherization kits, which include some of these items, to help our citizens make their homes more energy efficient.
Weatherization kits can be picked up starting August 1st at the Utility Billing counter in City Hall on a first come, first serve basis, while supplies last.
Wanting to Upgrade Your Home Appliances?
Upgrading your appliances is another way you can become more energy efficient. Buying an energy efficient model of an appliance can help you save water and energy, as well as lower your utility bills. Check out the website below for some great resources on upgrading your appliances (special thanks to Maria Perrillo for referring us there):
To find out which of your appliances could use an upgrade and how to make your home more energy efficient overall, participate in a home energy audit! During the Take Charge Challenge, Gardner residents are encouraged to utilize the Efficiency Kansas program, which offers Kansas residents the opportunity for energy audits at a discounted rate. For only $100 you can receive a complete audit with action steps prioritizing the biggest savings for your hard earned dollars AND be entered to win one of ten $1,000 rebates for energy efficient appliances!
Take Charge Challenge Headquarters Grand Opening Celebration
Members of the Gardner Take Charge Challenge Committee and the Gardner Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as City and County officials, were on hand June 23rd for the ribbon cutting at the Home Energy Efficiency Demonstration and Learning Center (also known as the Take Charge Challenge Headquarters).
The unique facility, located at the Shell Station at 191st and Gardner Road, offers on-site demonstrations and various insulation examples and was developed by American Energy Auditors (AEA).
Citizens were invited to join the City and guests for a grand opening celebration at the facility that included catered barbeque, tours of the new facility, free weatherization kits and CFL light bulbs, activities for the kids, a special appearance by Greenie and an opportunity to win a free home energy audit.
Special thanks to the following that helped make the night a success:
- American Energy Auditors
- Gardner Area Chamber of Commerce
- Smoke'N Babes Barbeque
Check out some pictures from the event below:
Take Charge Challenge Committee Members Participate in the Festival on the Trails!
Members of the Gardner Take Charge Challenge Committee hosted a booth in the Kids Zone at the Festival on the Trails held June 11th.
The booth, in conjunction with American Energy Auditors (AEA), helped citizens learn about how to make their homes more energy efficient. Volunteers handed out free CFL lightbulbs, coloring sheets and information on how citizens could sign up for a $100 home energy audit AND be entered into a drawing to be one of ten homes to receive a $1,000 rebate for an Energy Star appliance! Even Greenie, Gardner's mascot for the Take Charge Challenge came out to join in on the fun. Check out some of the pictures from the event below:
Ever Considered an Energy Audit of Your Home or Business?
Ever Considered an Energy Audit of Your Home or Business? To help Gardner win the Take Charge Challenge, residents are encouraged to participate in the Efficiency Kansas program, which offers Kansas residents the opportunity for energy audits at a discounted rate. For only $100 you can receive a complete audit with action steps prioritizing the biggest savings for your hard earned dollars AND be entered to win one of ten $1,000 rebates for energy efficient appliances!
Efficiency Kansas offers loan programs to complete the work at a low interest rate as well, for those with big projects that can be discovered during the audit process. By taking advantage of this program, you would be eligible for a $500 rebate if you spent $1,000 on the improvements recommended in the audit process.
To be eligible for the rebate drawing, you must participate in an energy audit during the Take Charge Challenge before September 1, 2011. Residents and small businesses that have already completed their audit as part of the Take Charge Challenge that began on January 1, 2011, will also be entered into the drawing for one of ten $1,000 rebates. Names will provided by the Kansas Energy Office and winners will be announced during the month of September.
A total of 10 winners will be selected at random from those that complete the $100 energy audit. Winners will receive a $1,000 rebate to use towards the purchase of Energy Star appliances, which include washing machines, dishwashers, dehumidifiers, freezers, refrigerators, water coolers, room air cleaners and purifiers. For more information on energy efficient appliances, please visit www.energystar.gov.
Are You Switching to CFL light bulbs? Learn more about them here.
Take Charge Challenge Committee Members Participate in Earth Day and Arbor Day Event!
Members of the Gardner Take Charge Challenge Committee hosted two booths at the local Earth Day and Arbor Day Event.
The first booth, in conjunction with American Energy Auditors (AEA), helped citizens learn about how to make their homes more energy efficient. Volunteers handed out free CFL lightbulbs, programmable thermostats and information on how citizens could sign up for a $100 home energy audit. Also on display was a blower door used in home energy audits.
The second booth gave kids the opportunity to take pictures with Greenie, learn about the Bookmark Challenge at the Gardner Library, pick up Greenie coloring sheets and enjoy some tasty lightbulb cookies!
A big thanks to everyone who came to help clean up the Greenway and learn about the Take Charge Challenge!
Schedule a Home Energy Audit Today!
In conjunction with the Take Charge Challenge, the Energy Office has received approval from the Department of Energy to extend the following programs:
1. The $100 Audit Program: The $100 Audit program will be extended until October 1, 2011, with an unlimited number of audits. Audits must be submitted on or before that date, and the post-audit must be performed before December 31, 2011 in order for the Energy Office to also pay for the cost of the post-audit.
You can find a list of participating auditors at http://www.efficiencykansas.com/auditors_list.php including AEA, LLC and Kansas Energy Pro, both of which operate in Gardner and its surrounding areas.
2. The $500 Rebate Program: The rebate program will be extended until December 31, 2011. Work must be complete by this date in order to qualify. The number is still limited to 1,500.
Greenie Visitis the Gardner Library!
On Wednesday, April 20th, Greenie the Dinosaur, Gardner's official mascot of the Take Charge! Challenge, visited the Gardner Library for its Preschool Storytime. The children in attendance read stories with "green" themes before singing, playing and taking pictures with Greenie.
Also introduced was the Bookmark Challenge, which is a coloring contest for preschoolers through fifth graders. Pick up your bookmark to color at the Gardner Library and return it before May 20th for a chance to win a pizza party with Greenie! Winners will be announced during the Festival on the Trails on June 11th. Don't miss out on your chance to get creative about how we can "Go Green with Greenie!"
How Much Energy are your Incandescent Light Bulbs Costing YOU?
On display in City Hall (shown in picture below) is a meter that displays the energy used by incandescent, LED and CFL light bulbs. Each meter started at zero and is turned on during business hours. Stop by City Hall during the Take Charge Challenge to see how the light bulbs compare and to pick up your FREE CFL light bulb from the Utility Billing Counter!
Want a FREE Programmable Thermostat?
Did you know you can save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours?
By installing a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. As a result, you don't operate the equipment as much when you are asleep or when the house is not occupied. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.
During the Take Charge! Challenge, you can pick up your FREE programmable thermostat at Gardner City Hall while supplies last. In addition, you will receive a gift certificate from Santa Fe Air Conditioning to have your new thermostat installed for $25.
For more information on programmable thermostats, please visit www.takechargekansas.org.
Gardner Joins Take Charge Challenge —Let’s Go 66030!
The City of Gardner is fired up and is asking you to join the enthusiasm about the Take Charge Challenge to save on energy use in Gardner and the 66030 zip code. This is a friendly challenge between the City’s of Gardner, Ottawa, Paola and Baldwin City starting January 1 through September 30, 2011. If Gardner wins, it will receive a $100,000 prize to apply to a large energy saving project to benefit our community!!
The Details of the Challenge:
WHAT TAKE CHARGE! CHALLENGE is a statewide energy savings challenge involving more than 275,000 Kansans from 16 different communities. Winners chosen from four different regions will each win a renewable energy or energy efficiency project worth $100,000 benefitting their community. Each participating community also receives up to $25,000 in energy efficiency block grant funds to host the Challenge.
From January to September 2011, residents and small businesses will compete to see who can save the most energy, as measured in three categories:
• Whole house energy efficiency - energy audits, efficiency improvements, federal weatherization, etc.
• Lighting changes – switching to energy efficient light bulbs
• Community partnerships - utility rebates, public education and outreach
WHO TAKE CHARGE! is a community effort. Led by mayors and city managers, community leadership teams offer quarterly events and energy efficiency presentations to schools and community groups, classes for real estate agents, building operator certifications, and DIY home energy audit seminars, as well as host booths at community trade shows and briefings for local policymakers on energy efficiency building codes.
University Region: Manhattan, Lawrence
Northeast Region: Paola, Baldwin City, Ottawa, Gardner
Southeast Region: Fort Scott, Chanute, Iola, Pittsburgh, Parsons
Northwest Region: Goodland, Colby, Oakley, Hoxie, Wakeeney
The 2011 TAKE CHARGE! CHALLENGE also involves 16 school districts, 5 universities, 6 community and technical colleges, 11 different utilities, and the local governments of 16 counties and 16 cities.
TAKE CHARGE! is sponsored by the Kansas Energy Office and coordinated by the Climate and Energy Project (CEP), creator of the original Take Charge! Challenge. Funding comes from grant dollars provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). These funds are grants, not loans, and they do not have to be repaid.
UTILITIES AND PARTNERS Efficiency Kansas, Westar Energy, Kansas City Power and Light, Midwest Energy, with municipal utilities of Baldwin City, Ottawa, Gardner and Goodland plus the Kansas Power Pool in partnership with the cities of Chanute and Iola. FOR MORE INFO www.takechargekansas.org
How Can you Help Gardner Win??
The City is asking how you can help in this effort… organize a project within the neighborhood or at your local business, work with the local boy or girl scout troop, ask how the church as participate in saving energy and then do something fun to start saving. Once the project has been put together, there will be a place to log the efforts and to help Gardner win the Take Charge Challenge or by contacting Melissa Mundt, Interim City Administrator, so we can make sure your efforts get counted toward a Gardner victory for energy savings! So strike up that Gardner pride and the can do spirit to see how much energy Gardner can save and help the environment too. Groups can get credit for Gardner by organizing events that promote energy savings ideas and concepts to share with others in the community, not just for the actual savings from projects. Contact Melissa Mundt, Interim City Administrator, if you are organizing an event for how to get credit for Gardner!
Ever considered an energy audit of your home or business? Well, there are reduced cost for the audit through federal funding, if you are participating in Gardner’s Take Charge Challenge within the 66030 zip code. Visit www.efficiencykansas.com to learn about this great deal on a home energy audit that will run through September 2011 for Gardner participants. For only $100 you will receive a thorough audit with action steps prioritizing the most bang for your hard earned dollars. Then track your participation and help Gardner show how it is kicking the energy monster out of town. Visit www.takechargekansas.org to log your CFL light bulb conversions!
Efficiency Kansas --Get an Energy Audit for a Reduced Price and help Gardner while finding the energy monster in your home.
- All Kansas residents may participate in the program, which is sponsored through the Kansas Energy Office. The program uses $37 million in federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. To participate in this significantly reduced cost audit: (1) your home or small business must located within the state of Kansas, (2) you are deemed creditworthy by participating utilities or banks (should you want to use the loan program for improvements), and (3) the home is in need of energy conservation and efficiency improvements (proposed improvements must meet program guidelines). The cost of an energy audit will vary based on the different market conditions across the state. However, for a limited time, the Kansas Energy Office is offering the $100 Energy Audit Program. The auditor fees can be rolled into the loan, if you choose to use the special loan program that is available through this program.
Here is an example of what to expect from an audit....Video on Home Energy Audit Process
Energy.gov--Check out the information on Energy Efficiency from the United States Department of Energy.
- The Department of Energy is committed to reducing America's dependence on foreign oil and developing energy efficient technologies for buildings, homes, transportation, power systems and industry. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
EERE leads the Federal government's research, development, and deployment efforts in energy efficiency. EERE's role is to invest in high-risk, high-value research and development that is critical to the Nation's energy future and would not be sufficiently conducted by the private sector acting on its own.
Program activities are conducted in partnership with the private sector, state and local government, DOE national laboratories, and universities. EERE also works with stakeholders to develop programs and policies to facilitate the deployment of advanced clean energy technologies and practices.
- Energy Savers --A great site on Energy Saving Tips from the United States Department of Energy.