Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

State and Local Climate and Energy Program

The Whatcom Energy Challenge

Bellingham, Washington

Federal Funding: $349,384
Project Timeline: February 2010 – December 2012

Latest Update

The Bellingham Community Energy Challenge (CEC) continues to spread the word about energy retrofits to homeowners and businesses by exhibiting at community events and using door hangers, window clingers, and referral postcards. The CEC also developed “save-o-meter” banners that tracked annual energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions to maintain community awareness of CEC.

Bellingham continues implementing the Cool Schools Challenge (CSC) in partnership with RE Sources, a non-profit environmental education organization. Twelve schools in four Whatcom County school districts have implemented the CSC, in which staff use climate and energy efficiency presentations to educate students, and distribute energy efficiency pledges to families. More Whatcom County teachers have been trained and will receive support in implementing the CSC in Fall 2012. RE Sources has started reaching out to potential partners and schools in preparation for the Fall 2012 CSC summit. Future work includes continuing to analyze energy data and provide services to participants of the CEC.

Photos and Video

Left arrow button: click to scroll left.
Community Energy Challenge Headquarters

CEC Headquarters

At Community Energy Challenge HQ, residents can get tips and technical assistance.

Community Energy Champion

Community Energy Champion

The Community Energy Champion appearing at the Sustainable Connections.

All Members Meeting

All Members Meeting

Chuckanut Builders was given an award for leadership in thinking local first. The North Fork Brewery, a commercial participant, was given an award for environmental leadership.

Home Energy Assessment

Home Energy Assessment

A blower door allows the analyst to determine air leakage from the home.

Click to play this video.

Comm. Energy Challenge

Find out how the Community Energy Challenge is helping Whatcom County homes and businesses save energy and money.
Exit Disclaimer

Business Recognition

Business Recognition

DeWaard & Bode Appliance retailers are promoting their participation in the Challenge and are offering special deals on ENERGY STAR refrigerators and washing machines.

Residents Participate in the Energy Challenge

Residents Participate in the Energy Challenge

Community Energy Challenge Yard Sign at a Participating House.

An Energy Program Assistant tabling at an Earth Day Celebration

Earth Day Celebration

An Energy Program Assistant tabling at an Earth Day Celebration.

Community Energy Challenge Yard Sign and contractor sign at a Participating House

Residents Participate in the Energy Challenge

Community Energy Challenge Yard Sign and contractor sign at a Participating House.

Right arrow button: click to scroll right.

Project Summary

A Public-Private Partnership to Implement Energy Efficiency Retrofits and Outreach

To promote energy conservation and lower GHG emissions, the City of Bellingham developed a comprehensive energy efficiency outreach project. The City worked in partnership with the non-profit Sustainable Connections, the non-profit RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, and the utility Puget Sound Energy. The project, called the Whatcom Energy Challenge, developed an education and outreach campaign and distributed publicity materials throughout the community, including banners, mailings, and a website. The Challenge also holds community events and hosts energy efficiency presentations at the neighborhood level. In addition, the Challenge selected 125 workplaces in which to promote conservation strategies to employees. Furthermore, Puget Sound Energy will mail home energy reports to half of the county's single-family households, providing information on their relative energy use. The Whatcom Energy Challenge is also implementing a Cool School Challenge to train teachers, engage students, and provide take-home materials on energy efficiency in up to 58 schools.

The project will result in energy savings, GHG emissions reductions, improved air quality, and extensive cost savings for local businesses and residents. In addition, the project is designed to be easily replicable for use in other communities.

Community Characteristics

Population: 76,000
Area: 32 square miles
Government Type: City
Community Type: Mid-sized Urban
Median Household Income: $38,500

Program Results/Estimated Results

Expected GHG Emissions Reductions: 7,200 metric tons CO2e annually
Actual GHG Savings (as of June 2012): 1,702 metric tons CO2e annually
Expected Electricity Savings: 12,300,000 kWh annually
Actual Electricity Savings (as of June 2012): 3,802,894 kWh annually
Expected Gas Savings: 338,000 Therms annually
Actual Gas Savings (as of June 2012): 54,501 Therms annually
Homes Audited (as of June 2012): 785
Homes Retrofitted (as of June 2012): 489 projects in 372 different homes
Participating Businesses (as of June 2012): 174
Job Training (as of June 2012): 8 general contractors

Project Websites

Media Coverage

Top of page

Jump to main content.