NorthShore University HealthSystem, Evanston Township High School Take Top Honors in 'Big 7 Savers Challenge'

Apr 18, 2012, 14:50 ET from Citizens Utility Board


CHICAGO, April 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NorthShore University HealthSystem and Evanston Township High School (ETHS) have won the "Big 7 Savers Challenge," a yearlong energy-efficiency competition that used a free online service,, to save enough electricity and money to equal 30 years of power bills, officials from Evanston and the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) announced Wednesday.

As an added bonus, a member from each of the winning teams was randomly selected to win a year of free power, up to $1,800. Amber Knopp, of NorthShore's team, and Mary Spoden of the ETHS team, were the lucky winners. Also on Wednesday, CUB announced a new promotion. To celebrate Earth Month, will pay the April electric bill for one in 10 consumers who join the online service before June 1.

"NorthShore University HealthSystem and Evanston Township High School did an outstanding job," Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said. "But the best thing about this competition is that there are no losers. Everyone is saving energy and money."

The Big 7 Savers Challenge, launched in March 2011, pitted the community's top seven employers—the City of Evanston, Evanston/Skokie School District 65, District 202 (ETHS), NorthShore University HealthSystem, Northwestern University, Rotary International and Saint Francis Hospital—in an energy-saving team competition. The objective of each team was to recruit the most participants and to spur those participants to achieve the largest average drop in home electricity waste using CUB Energy Saver, CUB's free online bill-cutting service.

NorthShore University HealthSystem recruited 820 families to join CUB Energy Saver, cutting electric bills by 135,037 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and $18,230. Thirty-eight percent of NorthShore's workforce participated, topping all other competitors.

ETHS had the largest per-person savings, cutting electric bills by an average of 3.15 percent, for a total savings of $2,425 and 17,967 kWh. Overall, families in the competition cut energy usage by a total of $39,486.92 and 292,495 kWh. That's enough energy to equal about 30 years of electric bills for the average Illinois home, or to power about 740 refrigerators for a year, according to federal statistics.

Plus, the contest also helped cut carbon dioxide pollution by 476,767 pounds—comparable to taking 42 gas-guzzling cars off the road for a year.

"Nobody should settle for high energy bills, especially in this economy," CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. "Evanston and CUB Energy Saver prove that there are hundreds of ways to cut costs. It's simple, it's free, and it's a budget-strapped family's best friend."

CUB Energy Saver was launched in June of 2010 as a partnership between CUB and New York City-based Efficiency 2.0. The pioneering online service links to a household's Commonwealth Edison account to track actual reductions in energy waste. It then rewards those reductions with points—two for every kilowatt-hour saved—that can be redeemed for shopping and restaurant discounts. CUB Outreach Director Sarah Moskowitz urged Evanston businesses to contact her, at 1-800-669-5556, if they would like to promote themselves by offering a CUB Energy Saver reward, as Evanston's "Lulu's Dim Sum & Then Some" restaurant has done. works for all residential electric consumers, including those who have signed up for alternative electric suppliers. In honor of Earth Month, one in 10 consumers who join the online service and connect to their ComEd accounts from now until June 1 will be randomly selected to get their April electric bill paid, up to $150. Join at

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

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 helps consumers and businesses across the country better manage their energy costs. For more information, visit

SOURCE Citizens Utility Board