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How to take the Minnesota Energy Challenge

26 September 2007

The Minnesota Energy Challenge can be a wonderful tool to help you save money and energy, reduce your environmental impact and support your communities…if you know how to use it. And while we are always working to improve the Challenge, it isn’t quite perfect (yet). So here’s your guide to taking full advantage of the Challenge:

Step One: Go to and check out our website. Explore – you can ask the experts your energy question, look at our resources, see where your teams stand, etc. When you have explored to your heart’s content, click on Take the Challenge on the top tool bar and get this party started!

Step Two: boring administrative stuff. Create a username, password, what city you live in, your email…blah blah blah. We don’t give any of this information out to anyone, so it’s all safe.

Step Three: now you can calculate your carbon footprint. This section will ask you how much you are paying for electricity and natural gas annually, how often you drive and for the gas mileage of your vehicle(s). If you don’t have all the answers, don’t sweat it. You can always come back and change your information if it changes or you finally figure it out. This is why we provide the numbers for the average Minnesotan family so you can ignore this step if it is too complicated.

(I will say, however, if your household has less than two vehicles, to zero out the emissions of the second car, put the miles driven annually to zero. That should get rid of that car. If your household has more than two cars, comment here or email me.)

So at the end of this process, you will have your carbon footprint and the amount of money you are spending on energy every year.

Step Four: action! This page will show you all our recommended actions along with the exact amount of CO2 and money you will save every year by taking these actions. When you click on an action, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and see what kind of impact it has on your carbon footprint. This page is for actions you haven’t taken yet. If you are already taking energy saving actions (high five) there is a separate page to enter those in.

Step Five: assign your savings to a team. Your savings are automatically added to the city that you live in, but you can choose up to three teams after that. There are teams for businesses, neighborhoods, schools, congregations, environmental organizations, government agencies – and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always create your own team!

Step Six: um, DO IT. Once you’ve taken the Challenge, your numbers are added to our totals, but it’s up to you to take action to make the savings real. Here are some good tactics to make your pledge real:

  • Put the Challenge website as a bookmark, favorite or your homepage so when you use the internet, you are reminded about the Challenge.
  • Have an energy night with your family: eat good food, talk about the actions you want to take and assign everyone something to do.
  • Be creative! Write the actions you pledged to take on a big colorful piece of paper and stick in on your fridge; write the actions on post-it notes and stick them next to light switches or randomly on walls; put up some reminder to yourself.

There you go! In roughly five minutes you can run through our website, learn how to save money and energy in your home and start reducing your impact on the environment today. So easy, so good.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom Spielman permalink
    26 September 2007 9:09 pm

    Like It !

  2. Pat Mosites permalink
    24 April 2008 5:04 pm

    We replaced our 10 year old double glazed wooden windows with triple glazed vinyl windows in 2007. Also front door with an steel insulated one. How do I calculate energy savings for electricity and gas since I do not have a years data yet.

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