1,850 take challenge to make city an energy champion


Whether intentional or not, city and National Grid officials stepped from the relative coolness of City Hall into the first real heat of this summer to announce Tuesday that Warwick is a “Rhode Island Energy Champion.”

The city now joins its neighbor, Cranston, plus a handful of other municipalities, in touting that at least 5 percent of its households – the number is in excess of 1,850 for Warwick – have signed the challenge to find four ways to save energy.

“Saving on an energy bill is very important,” said Timothy Horan, president of National Grid Rhode Island.

Horan predicted the savings would be most apparent during the winter months. He congratulated the community for its commitment to energy efficiency.

Mayor Scott Avedisian, who likewise spoke from the brick plaza in front of City Hall, figured he more than met the challenge with the replacement of his home heating boiler. He thanked Westbay Community Action, A Wish Come True, UPS and numerous sports leagues and other groups for promoting the challenge and getting their friends and members to sign up online.

“It shows when people come together for the right thing they can save a lot of energy,” he said.

As an energy champion, the city was given two signs boasting the designation and a $7,500 grant. The grant is earmarked for the purchase of energy-saving equipment.

Working with the non-profit organization SmartPower, National Grid created the campaign, “The Rhode Island Energy Challenge: Find Your Four!” The aim of the drive is to heighten awareness of energy savings and get Rhode Islanders to change behaviors by taking four energy actions in their homes.

Avedisian said he hoped Warwick’s designation as an energy champion would help to motivate other communities and organizations to take on the challenge.

“The goal is for all cities and towns [to sign on]. As one does well, we all do well,” he said.

Energy-saving pledges can be as simple as shutting off the lights when leaving a room, or more costly and complicated steps such as replacing inefficient appliances, insulating and installing new heating and cooling systems.

National Grid spokesman David Graves said yesterday the objective of the challenge is to “get people thinking about saving energy.” He said with a reduction in energy use, National Grid wouldn’t need to invest as much in building out its electric and natural gas distribution systems. In addition, he noted, the company is responding to mandates set by legislators and regulators.

Residents can still participate in the challenge by visiting www.FindYourFour.com.


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