By Kaylen Auer
PBN Web Editor
By Kaylen Auer
PBN Web Editor
WARWICK – At an award ceremony held Tuesday, North Smithfield Town Administrator Paulette Hamilton accepted $7,500 and three commemorative street signs on behalf of the town as Rhode Island’s first municipality to complete the Rhode Island Energy Challenge, a community campaign jointly managed by National Grid and the nonprofit SmartPower to promote household energy efficiency.
Launched in May 2013, the Rhode Island Energy Challenge “Find Your Four” initiative challenges cities and towns to get 5 percent of households to take a pledge to improve their energy use habits through simple daily actions such as shutting down computers and unplugging flatscreen televisions, microwaves and cell phone chargers when not in use. The program does not require certain actions to be taken but encourages consumers to find four of them that will make a difference in their energy use.
“Research shows that if someone can take a quick, easy step toward energy efficiency, they will take another one and another one,” said Nick Corsetti, residential program strategy analyst for National Grid. “We’re not asking people to live in cold, dark houses and wear sweaters.”
American households waste close to $100 in energy costs each year per home entertainment console, which may include televisions, DVD players and game consoles that continue to use power when they are shut off but not unplugged, Corsetti said. At a time when “most American homes have more flatscreen TVs than children,” he added, even a small change can go a long way toward conserving energy.
“In this country, energy is like air – we use it so much we don’t realize we’re using it,” said Corsetti. “At the end of the day, it’s about trying to change behaviors and get people to start saving energy in their daily lives.”
About 300 households in North Smithfield signed up to reach the 5 percent Rhode Island Energy Challenge goal. The $7,500 prize will help fund additional energy efficiency projects in the town, and the street signs will be posted around the town on key roads heading into North Smithfield, according to a news release.
More than 1,200 households have joined the campaign in Cranston, Newport and North Smithfield as well. Of those 1,200, more than 90 percent said they have followed through with energy-saving habits recommended under the energy challenge.
National Grid and SmartPower also have partnered with Rhode Island businesses, nonprofits and faith-based organizations, including Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Citizens Bank, Arpin Group, People’s Power & Light, and Rhode Island Interfaith Power and Light.
At the award ceremony on Tuesday, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian committed Warwick to be the fourth Rhode Island municipality to join the Rhode Island Energy Challenge.
“We are completely committed to reducing energy across our city,” said Avedisian. “Wasting energy is not only bad for our economy, but it is hurting our environment. There are simple steps that every resident can do to reduce their energy use, and the Rhode Island Energy Challenge ‘Find Your Four’ is the perfect way for Warwick to become true energy leaders.”
The Rhode Island Energy challenge is only one of more than 10 statewide community outreach campaigns launched across the country by SmartPower, a national organization that considers itself a nonprofit marketing firm for renewable energy. For more information about SmartPower or the Rhode Island Energy Challenge, visit www.findyourfour.com.