GREENCASTLE -- Saving energy and saving money is the focus of Putnam RISE, a 2011 partnership now striving to support schools, homes and businesses across Putnam County.
Capturing some of the competitive spirit alive in our basketball gymnasiums, Putnam RISE (Renewal, Investment, Savings and Efficiency) is tipping off with county residents competing to win Energy Challenge cash awards for their community school corporations. Residents can do their part in the challenge by making an Energy Savings Pledge available at www.putnamrise.org The Energy Savings Pledge is the first of a year-long series of efforts.
"The RISE initiative is the creation of the City of Greencastle Sustainability Commission, but the opportunity to bring financial savings and energy efficiency to schools, homes and businesses throughout Putnam County is the result of new partnerships and the cooperation of many," said Mayor Sue Murray. "We are grateful to the Putnam County Community Foundation and the Vectren Foundation for their support in this comprehensive effort, and we will look forward to celebrating the successes, large and small, along the way."
Putnam RISE is made possible by the Putnam County Community Foundation's "Envision 2011" grant for creative partnerships supporting education and economic development.
"The Community Foundation was impressed by the broad county-wide scope of Putnam RISE, and in particular the potential of young people to demonstrate leadership," said Putnam County Community Foundation Director Elaine Peck. "By creating a culture of energy savings in schools and homes, the fruits of this project will endure far longer and be much greater than the grant award itself."
In addition to the Community Foundation's support, Putnam RISE received a Vectren Foundation matching grant.
"We see RISE as a wonderfully conceived collaborative effort by the people of Putnam County," said Mark Miller, Vectren Corporation Community Affairs Manager. "RISE will result not only in economic benefits to businesses through a 'Buy Local' campaign, but to all residents through the conservation of energy and natural resources. Best of all, RISE is a model which could easily be put in place in any county in the state or the nation."
In addition to the City of Greencastle Sustainability Commission, Putnam RISE original partners include all four Putnam County school corporations, the Greater Greencastle Chamber of Commerce, Greencastle Presbyterian Church and the Greencastle Civic League. The project is also receiving guidance and resources from Shuee & Sons Great Buys, Smiley's Heating and Cooling, The Window Place, Insulation Supply Co., Hendricks Power Cooperative, Parke County REMC, Duke Energy, Wabash Valley Power Association and CleanEdison Building Green Professionals.
An important Putnam RISE component involves securing new job skills and training in February for our community's own energy auditor, Coatesville's Tod Staples, whose goal is to deliver the first 100 home energy audits at no cost to residents. Residents can learn about and request a home energy audit at www.putnamrise.org
"I really believe that the amount of energy savings that people would see by having their homes evaluated and then implementing the recommendations would be significant," says local business owner Rick Smiley of Smiley's Heating and Cooling.
Sixteen Putnam County schools will begin a competition in March for energy conservation results in their school facilities.
Other Putnam RISE projects include a weatherization program and an extensive Green Home Makeover for energy efficiency upgrades to improve financial savings and comfort for community members in need. Putnam RISE is also investing in a "Buy Local" campaign aiming to inform consumers about the value of local businesses to our community.
For more information, visit putnamrise.org or contact Steve Setchell at email@example.com or 720-0673.