Archive for Thursday, January 6, 2011

Time for Baldwin City residents to Take Charge

Baldwin City Administrator Jeff Dingman opens a Web site he hopes many Baldwin City residents visits in the next nine months to record switches to more energy efficient light bulbs as part of the Take Charge Challenge competition. Should the city win the competition, it would receive $100,000.

Baldwin City Administrator Jeff Dingman opens a Web site he hopes many Baldwin City residents visits in the next nine months to record switches to more energy efficient light bulbs as part of the Take Charge Challenge competition. Should the city win the competition, it would receive $100,000.

January 6, 2011

For the next nine months, the city of Baldwin City is asking its residents to be more energy efficient in hopes of winning a $100,000 grant.

From Saturday until Sept. 30, Baldwin City is one of 16 cities in the state participating in the Take Charge Challenge. It’s a friendly competition between towns to reduce their energy use, save money and take charge of their energy future. The Baldwin City Council voted to join in November.

“I looked at this a week ago, and I don’t see a downside,” Mayor Ken Wagner said at the meeting. “We could get $100,000 to use if we win. This could be a great thing.”

The statewide contest is divided into four regions, which are northeast, northwest, southeast and university. In the northeast division, Baldwin City will be competing against Gardner, Ottawa and Paola for a $100,000 grant, which can be used to make the city and its residents more energy efficient. Each of the four cities has been given a $25,000 grant, which can be used for the contest.

“We can use that $25,000 to help buy some promotional materials and host some events,” City Administrator Jeff Dingman said. “There are various things we can use that money for, and we get reimbursed for $25,000.”

The Take Charge Challenge is divided into three categories in which cities can earn points. Those are housing switches, community involvement and promotion of weatherization and energy-efficient programs.

It’s the housing switches category where residents can help Baldwin City win the contest. Anyone who switches light bulbs and installs energy-efficient lights, such as CFLs, can record the switches online.

“The one component that takes the most direct community involvement is the housing switches,” Dingman said. “That means switching from incandescent light bulbs to more-efficient bulbs. Making the switch is one thing, but you have to log in and record the switch.

“It will take some effort. You have to register with an email address and then log in to record your switch. It’s also more about the publicity of the contest than I thought it was.”

Anyone wanting to register and record changes should go online to According to the site, “to make the competition fair for all communities, the competition is scored on switches per capita. Each time you enter a CFL switch in the Web page, the number of bulbs are counted alongside the others in your town. The total number of switches is then divided by the population of your town. This gives us a switch number scaled to the size of your community. Therefore, no one town has an advantage over the other.”

As of Tuesday night, there were already 51 switches recorded for Baldwin City. Along with recording switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, the city staff will be promoting the contest and efficiency at public events during the next nine months.

“We are thinking about scheduling something at a basketball game,” Dingman said. “We may set up some sort of informational booth at the game and maybe hand out some literature.”

The cities in the other regions are Colby, Goodland, Hoxie, Oakley and Wakeeney in the northwest region; Chanute, Fort Scott, Iola, Parson and Pittsburg in the southeast region; and Lawrence and Manhattan in the university region. The winner of each region will receive a $100,000 grant.

“It’s limited what you can use it for,” Dingman said. “But you can use it to upgrade lighting in public places. A $100,000 prize is still significant to those guys, but not as big as it would be to us. The same thing could be said in our competition. We might have a better chance of reaching more of our population than Ottawa or Gardner, because we are a smaller city.”

This is the second year for the Take Charge Challenge. A year ago, it was limited to six cities in the state.


ksrush 7 years, 5 months ago

Let's rewrite the headline. " Baldwin City Council - Time to take charge." If something would actually get done about our energy rates the entire city would win - and a great deal more than $ 100/ K. This rant could go on for pages but the botton line is our elected city government is responsible for what does or does not happen .

I see posts from some city council members regualrly - anything to add guys ?


NanCrisp 7 years, 5 months ago

It would be very easy to go online and say you've switched when in reality you have not. And those of us who have been using fluorescent bulbs exclusively for about five years can also log on and pretend we've just recently made this change. Obviously, this "contest" is a lot of hype and a waste of (federal) tax dollars.


greyghost 7 years, 5 months ago

Gas will hit five dollars a gallon this year. People will start conserving energy then.


Scott Schoenberger 7 years, 5 months ago

Maybe that 25K could go towards a CFL bulb giveaway, they aren't cheap.


hipgrrrrl 7 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps it should be noted that CFLs contain mercury and should not be dumped in one's trash. Additionally, if a CFL breaks, the clean up is entirely different than the clean up of an "old school" light bulb. CFLs should be recyled, although I have no clue as to what facility in the area accepts them - or if there even is a facility that is capable of processing them appropriately.

It drives me crazy that one rarely sees any sort of mention of the contamination dangers of CFLs within the many recommendations made to use them.


BaldwinDad 7 years, 5 months ago

I know....I can't wait till ten or twenty years from now when GE releases their device to remove Mercury from your drinking water.

It's never mentioned how these bulbs are so much worse for the environment then our current incandescent bulbs, but hey they have a real strong lobby group in GE so we the people will pay the price in the end.


uapinochet 7 years, 5 months ago

Okay. Everyone should be switching to CFL's or LED's. The energy saved is remarkable.

Yes, there is a small trace amount of mercury in a CFL bulb and they need to be handled carefully as well as recycled properly. CFL bulbs can be recycled at Home Depot and perhaps even Wal-Mart. If you are recycling other hazardous household wastes, you may need to set up an appointment at the facility in Lawrence (near the 23rd Street overpass/Haskell University), where you may also drop off CFL's. If you happen to break a CFL, it is recommended that the occupants vacate that room for 15 minutes before clean-up.

An incandescent light bulb is basically a small heating element, with the surface reaching 350 + degrees (the filament can be thousands of degrees) . This is not only a safety issue, but also a very inefficient way to light your home. The waste heat produced from incandescent bulbs is just that - a waste.

In comparison, the surface of a CFL bulb may get to be 20 degrees -- virtually no excess waste heat being produced as a byproduct.

The only thing a incandescent bulb is good for is a Easy Baker Oven, but that's just my two cents.


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