'Conserve energy' competition among Kansas towns

All it takes is a little competition to light the energy-saving spark in six Kansas communities. The Climate and Energy Project is sponsoring a contest to see which of the communities — Mount Hope/Haven, Kinsley, Quinter, Merriam, Salina or Wellington — can save the most energy in a year.

The residents have responded in big and small ways.

Keala Timko and her husband are remodeling their house in Wellington with energy-efficient windows and better insulation.

Stacy Rogers of Mount Hope is now using compact fluorescent lightbulbs instead of incandescent bulbs.

Laurie Gooding of Mount Hope times her kids' showers and rewards the quickest shower-taker.

When the yearlong "Take-Charge Challenge" ends in April, they will find out how much energy their efforts have saved.

"Regardless of who wins the challenge, everybody is winning because if everybody does one thing it will decrease our dependence on electricity and gas," said Gooding, also a Mount Hope City Council member.

The Climate and Energy Project, a nonprofit organization that is trying to make the Midwest more energy efficient, chose the six communities because utility companies identified them as places with high energy usage.

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