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Challenge Intro/FAQ

25 September 2007

What is the Minnesota Energy Challenge?

The Minnesota Energy Challenge is a website-based program run by local nonprofit Center for Energy and Environment.  Using the website, Minnesota households can  ask the experts their energy questions and pledge to save energy and money in their homes.  Communities also use the Minnesota Energy Challenge team system to educate and motivate around energy efficiency and conservation.  As of November 2009, over 24,000 Minnesota households are taking the Minnesota Energy Challenge!

How do I take the Energy Challenge?

The Energy Challenge is a pledge – you promise to take one or more actions to reduce the annual energy use of your household.  We ask that you pick at least ONE action that you are not already doing to save energy and money in your household, and we’ll show you exactly how much you’ll save.  It’s quick and painless!

There are a few ways to take the Energy Challenge pledge.  First, you can take the EZ Challenge, which is a quick-and-easy way to get onto the website and get an idea of how you can save.  If you are looking for more information, take the Complete Challenge which includes the carbon footprint calculator and many more actions.  If you do not have email, or if you’re interested in signing households up at an event where computers or the internet aren’t possible, you can use various customized paper forms.

Why should I take the Challenge?

You can save hundreds of dollars a year by taking simple actions that also improve comfort in your home AND are good for the environment.  So it’s a win-win-win!  The Challenge just puts all the information you need in one easy place.

I don’t know…I’m pretty attached to my way of life.

Don’t worry – done right, energy efficiency and conservation improves the comfort of your home, improves your indoor air quality and helps you save money.  You don’t have to give up the things you love – and you don’t have to do everything at once!

Well, I’m already doing everything I can. I don’t need to take the Challenge.

Even if you are taking every conceivable action to reduce your energy use, even if you have re-insulated every wall, don’t step foot in motorized vehicles and have solar panels, there’s still one thing left to do to make a difference in Minnesota: take the Challenge. Because the more people who pledge and make a commitment to energy efficiency in Minnesota, the more people will pay attention. So if you’re really that devoted to energy efficiency, stopping global warming and green action – how can you not take the Challenge?

Do you share my information with anyone?


I don’t live in Minnesota.  Can I take the Minnesota Energy Challenge?

Sorry, but no. We are using this website to show the actions of Minnesotans to promote energy efficiency and conservation in our state, so we want to make sure that only Minnesota residents use our website to pledge to reduce their use.

What do you think is the best part of the Challenge?

Good question! After you decide which actions you want to take to reduce your use, you can assign your savings to teams – your business, congregation, neighborhood, organization, whatever. By checking the team standings you can see how many households are pledging to save in your community and how many pounds of CO2 they’re going to avoid by taking action. It’s a great way to support your communities, be part of some healthy competition and show that you are “walking the walk.”

I am interested in promoting the Challenge in my community.

Contact me, Neely, at or 612-335-5852. I can send you a Community Organizer Toolkit, brainstorm ideas, provide you with a variety of materials and help get your Challenge campaign started!  If you’re interested in getting some materials now, visit the Community Organizer Resources section on the website for downloads.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. 6 March 2008 7:36 pm

    I want to know how to measure carbon footprint reductions.

    My organization is applying for a grant that requires us to measure reductions in carbon footprint. We plan to plant trees on denuded blocks in our neighborhood and to have all our volunteers (35) residents and approximately 20 tree recipients take the energy challange. How would we tell the grantors the carbor we are eliminating. Is there some way to measure how much carbon a tree eliminates and is there an average carbon footprint reduction per energy challange participant that we can use in our measureable goals for the grant? We have the volunteers and the heart but not the techincial back ground to do the measuring of carbon footprint reductions. What are the formulas so we can start calculating?


    Nancy Przymus

  2. Karel Fagan permalink
    28 April 2008 6:54 pm

    Please tell me more about buying green energy from my local energy company. Thanks.

  3. Steve Wietgrefe permalink
    30 April 2008 7:48 am

    I’m having a problem entering the changes that I made post-challenge. I don’t see that as a menu option.

  4. 30 April 2008 8:21 am

    Steve: We are constantly updating the website, and we are working on a feature that allows you to mark what actions you have taken. Until that day, don’t uncheck anything! We want to know how much you have saved since you started with the Challenge, and unchecking actions will erase those CO2 savings. We’ll let you know when we update the site.

  5. ella harris permalink
    12 May 2008 10:07 am

    Is there a way to reset a username/password online? I’ve forgotten my username and password. Thank you.

  6. ella harris permalink
    12 May 2008 12:29 pm


  7. ruby3annalee permalink
    6 September 2008 10:36 am

    I am looking to insulate the walls of my home to increase our efficiency- where can i find information on grants available for this sort of project? thank you!

  8. Alison permalink
    1 October 2008 1:16 pm

    An Excel energy energy rep told my roommate that unplugging microwaves isn’t worth her time. That rep is misinformed, right? Doesn’t the clock draw out energy?

  9. 1 October 2008 1:56 pm

    Alison – the clock does use energy while the microwave is plugged in. The Xcel rep might have meant to say that it doesn’t save a big amount of energy. And it’s true – the savings are pretty small, but over time they do make a difference. And why pay for energy that you’re not using!

  10. Scott Ryan permalink
    21 October 2008 8:01 pm


    I was not able to type in more than 5000 for the entry for green energy from electricity; we get 100% of our electricity from Exel w/ windsource. (approx 6300 khw/year). also, I had an error when trying to update the energy challenge part of the website; here was error message from page.

    Warning: extract(): First argument should be an array in /home/httpd/vhosts/ on line 56

    Your Energy Challenge has been updated!
    Following through on your current challenge will save you $1255 dollars and reduce your co2 output by 18287 lbs. annually.

  11. 22 October 2008 8:59 am

    Scott: thanks for letting me know. It’s probably that we never expected someone to put in more than 5,000 kWh for windsource. I’ll talk to our web gurus about expanding that range for you!

  12. dan permalink
    21 July 2009 8:47 am

    The signup said after “taking the challenge” we’d be able to declare what we’re already doing somewhere, but I don’t see that somewhere. Where is it?


    • 22 July 2009 7:30 am

      Dan: When you log onto your Member’s Dashboard in the Energy Challenge, you will see a link for “Your Household Story.” This section is a place for you to share the actions your household is already taking to reduce your energy use or your impact on the environment – and why you took the Minnesota Energy Challenge! Let me know if you have any questions.


  1. I’ve written 600 posts on energy efficiency? « The Minnesota Energy Challenge Blog

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