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Portsmouth and Keene Initiate Friendly Carbon Challenge


CLICK HERE FOR THE CARBON CHALLENGE WEBSITE

Portsmouth, NH - On April 1, 2009, Keene and Portsmouth are launching a friendly carbon “throw down,” challenging municipal staff in each community to go on an energy diet.  This is a project of the NH Carbon Challenge (NHCC), a ground-breaking initiative of the University of New Hampshire, committed to providing residents and communities with the tools and support necessary to enable households to reduce their energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 10,000 pounds per year.  From April 1-17, municipal staffers in Portsmouth and Keene will sign on their households to the Challenge.  The city with the most employees’ households taking the Carbon Challenge will “win”.
 
The cities of Keene and Portsmouth have long been at the forefront of implementing sustainability measures and addressing climate change action.  By working with the NHCC, Keene and Portsmouth are undertaking a new initiative that targets residential energy and money savings.  The residential sector accounts for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, thus representing a valuable sector to realize energy reductions. According to Portsmouth City Manager John P. Bohenko, “Portsmouth has a long-standing commitment to sustainability. The Portsmouth - Keene employee carbon challenge is another opportunity for each one of us to make a difference in helping to reduce the impacts of climate change.”
 
Roughly half of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from households through their energy consumption for motor vehicles, home heating, and electricity.  Moderate reductions in energy consumption can have a significant impact on reducing the risk of climate change and can save money. By taking the Carbon Challenge, households gain valuable insight into how their families use energy and learn how simple actions can reduce energy consumption and environmental impacts.

Denise Blaha, co-director of the NHCC, emphasizes that it’s easy to think that our individual actions don’t matter; positively or negatively.  “What the NHCC makes clear is that small, individual actions do add up.  In fact, the average household taking the NH Carbon Challenge has reduced energy consumption by an average of 16% and are saving over $800 a year.”
 
Blaha adds that solutions to energy concerns are here now; this isn’t science fiction.  Energy efficiency measures such as lighting upgrades, weatherization and efficient vehicles are available in all communities.  And energy efficiency and conservation is a win all around – lowering greenhouse gases, increasing energy independence, leading to greater national security, and creating green jobs right here in N.H.
 
Once the Portsmouth – Keene employee carbon challenge concludes a Citywide Carbon Challenge will kickoff starting around Earth Day (April 22). Residents, businesses and civic groups in both Cities will be invited to participate. The city with the most households participating in the NH Carbon Challenge will “win” this second competition which will take place over the summer and through the fall.  Residents can learn more about the citywide Portsmouth versus Keene Carbon Challenge at the Portsmouth Sustainability Fair which will take place May 9th at the Portsmouth Middle school. 

There is no cost associated with the Keene - Portsmouth Carbon Challenge.   Keep tabs on the status of the Keene-Portsmouth employee Carbon Challenge at www.nhcarbonchallenge.org. More details on the Citywide Keene – Portsmouth Challenge to be launched later in April will be available.


Posted on March 27, 2009

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