Evanston Awarded 21,650 CFLs as CUB Kicks Off Contest That Pits City's Top 7 Employers in Battle for Biggest Home Energy Savings

Mar 07, 2011, 12:39 ET from Citizens Utility Board

CUB Energy Saver Nation's Only Website That Tracks Actual ComEd Bill Savings, Grants Shopping Deals, And Awards Top Prizes Of Free Power For A Year

CHICAGO, March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) on Monday awarded Evanston 21,650 light bulbs and kicked off a contest pitting the city's top seven employers in a battle over who can rack up the biggest home energy savings with www.CUBEnergySaver.com, the nation's first online service to pay people rewards for cutting their power bills.

The winning teams in the "Big 7 Savers Challenge" will get special recognition from Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, and two people will win a year of free electricity, courtesy of CUB. The benefits go beyond that, however. All participants get a personalized plan to cut their utility costs, and they will be rewarded with points for cutting their Commonwealth Edison bills that can be redeemed for gift cards or discounts at hundreds of local and national businesses.

"Evanston's top employers are leaders in the community, so what better group to lead the charge in a campaign to cut residential electric bills than the 'Big 7,'" Mayor Tisdahl said. "Nobody thinks their utility bills are too low, so everybody's a winner in this contest because everybody's saving money."

"CUB Energy Saver has something for everyone—and it's absolutely free, no strings attached," CUB Executive Director David Kolata added. "It promotes energy efficiency that protects our planet, it helps cut utility bills, so it's great for our bottom lines, and it sparks the local economy with a rewards program that brings people to Evanston business counters."

Mayor Tisdahl and Kolata stood with representatives from the "Big 7"—St. Francis Hospital, Rotary International, Northwestern University, NorthShore University HealthSystem, District 65, District 202 (Evanston Township High School), and the city—before a backdrop of Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs.

The bulbs were among the 21,650 CFLs CUB awarded Evanston as top prize for last year's CUB Energy Saver Community Challenge. The bulbs have a total savings potential of about $1.1 million over their lifetime.

Evanston residents received the bulbs and the consumer group's "Super Savers" award by besting hundreds of other Illinois communities to save the most electricity, 50,321 kilowatt-hours, enough to power 125 refrigerators for a year and cut carbon-dioxide pollution by more than 85,000 pounds. That also meant $6,542 in real savings.

Evanston also won the contest for the most members, with 330 participants. Officials hope to increase CUB Energy Saver's Evanston membership tenfold with the new competition.

In the "Big 7 Savers Challenge," one prize will go to the institution that recruits the most people—employees or non-employees—to sign up for CUB Energy Saver through a special, webpage personalized for that institution. Another prize will go to the team whose members rack up the biggest energy savings.

Anyone in ComEd's territory who signs up through one of these pages automatically becomes part of that institution's team. So the contest encourages employees to get friends and family to join and help their institution win. To sign up for a particular team, go to CUB's website, www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org, and click on the "Big 7 Savers Challenge" link.

Winning teams get a plaque from the mayor. As an added incentive, a person from each winning team will be randomly selected to win a year of free power, up to $1,800, from CUB. 

"We applaud Evanston, these community institutions, and the Citizens Utility Board for this really bright idea," said Jack Darin, director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter. "At a time when Illinois and America are looking for smart energy solutions, Evanston and CUB are giving thousands of ratepayers a fun and easy way to save energy."

CUB Energy Saver, launched in June of 2010, is the result of a partnership between CUB and two New York City-based companies: Efficiency 2.0 and Recyclebank. In just seven months, this state-of-the-art service saved Illinois families $114,091 and 877,624 kilowatt-hours of electricity—enough to power the average Land of Lincoln home for a century.

Those are confirmed savings, not estimates, because CUB Energy Saver links to actual ComEd bills. Just as Netflix gives people personalized movie recommendations, CUB Energy Saver suggests hundreds of money-saving actions that are personalized for a particular home.

The service then rewards families two points for every kilowatt-hour of electricity they save. Those points can be redeemed for gift cards, museum passes, and restaurant and shopping discounts. People can get rewards from national brands, such as Huggies, and CVS/Pharmacy, but also local businesses, such as LuLu's, The Olive Mountain, Happy Husky Bakery, and Chaz Nutrition & Health. 

About CUB

CUB is Illinois' leading nonprofit utility watchdog organization. Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, CUB has helped save consumers more than $10 billion by blocking rate hikes and securing refunds. For more information, call CUB's Consumer Hotline at 1-800-669-5556, or visit www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.

About Efficiency 2.0

Efficiency 2.0 is a leading energy efficiency software and program administration company. It delivers efficiency and demand response benefits to utility and government partners by maximizing household engagement. Efficiency 2.0's programs and software help consumers and businesses across the country better manage their energy costs. For more information, visit www.efficiency20.com.

About Recyclebank

Recyclebank® motivates people to recycle and rewards consumers for taking greener actions with points that can be redeemed from participating local and national business partners. Through collaboration and innovation, Recyclebank is helping to create a culture that encourages people to take simple steps towards greener lifestyles. For more information, visit www.Recyclebank.com.

SOURCE Citizens Utility Board