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Challenge FAQs

  • Q.

    Who runs the Minnesota Energy Challenge?

    The Challenge is a program of the Center for Energy and Environment, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit.  For more information on CEE and their mission, visit the “About CEE” section.
  • Q.

    How much does it cost to take the Energy Challenge?

    Nothing!  The Energy Challenge is FREE, including materials and presentations.
  • Q.

    I don’t live in Minnesota. Can I still take the Minnesota Energy Challenge?

    Right now, membership with the Minnesota Energy Challenge is limited to Minnesota residents.  Because our savings numbers are based on Minnesota averages and Minnesota’s unique energy mix, the information could be misleading or untrue for other states (even Wisconsin).
  • Q.

    Can renters take the Minnesota Energy Challenge?

    DEFINITELY.  In fact the Challenge coordinator is a renter herself!  So we know what it’s like to have limited options when it comes to energy choices in your living space.  Never fear, we have an entire action guide section devoted to what renters can do to help save money and stay comfortable in your apartment or home.
  • Q.

    How do I take the Energy Challenge?

    Simple – browse our Action Guides for actions that you could take to help save money and reduce your energy use.  Once you’ve found an action you like, click on “Add to My Challenge” and we’ll walk you through setting up your Energy Challenge account.  Then voila – you can see how your energy saving actions rank, how much you can save AND assign your savings to teams.  It’s cool.
  • Q.

    What’s with the team system?

    Anyone who pledges to take action with the Minnesota Energy Challenge can then assign their savings to a team.  You are automatically added to the team for your city, then you can join teams for your church, school, business, your kid’s Girl Scout Troop, a team you created for red-headed Norwegians who own black labs – anything!

    The great thing about teams is that they allow you to see the impact of collective action in your communities.  So if your church is dedicated to reducing emissions and taking positive environmental action, you can use the Energy Challenge to show that people are taking action and get an idea of the real measure of their savings.

  • Q.

    Why do you only provide the average savings for Minnesotans? What if I want to know my exact numbers?

    It’s true, the calculated savings for each pledged action on the Energy Challenge are based on the average Minnesotan’s annual energy use.  We use averages for the Energy Challenge to make it easy for all kinds of households in Minnesota to find out simple ways to stay comfortable and save money in their homes, whether people know how many kilowatt hours they use a month or not.  By not requiring members to enter in a ton of personal information, we make the Challenge and our useful information more available to everyone, including renters, youth and seniors.

    You can always use our basic carbon footprint calculator to calculate see your home’s current use.  If you are interested in a more in-depth analysis of your home’s energy useage, check out the Home Energy Saver, a web-based self-audit tool provided by Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory.  This is a more detailed and sophisticated tool which will ask for more technical information.

  • Q.

    How does the average Minnesotan household use energy?

    All of our savings numbers are based on the annual electricity, natural gas and gasoline use of the average Minnesotan household.  Three people live in their 2,000 ft2 home, and spend $850 a year on electricity and $1,185 a year on natural gas.  They have two cars, which get an average of 22 miles per gallon, and are driven about 12,500 miles a year.  In total, they’re spending over $4,300 every year on energy and have a carbon footprint of more than 51,900 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually.  If you are interested in more details, please contact Emma, the Challenge Coordinator.