10 Percent Challenge

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Save Energy, Save Money, and Save the Planet One Step at a Time

The 10% Energy Challenge

Green Needham Collaborative is asking residents to take the 10% Energy Challenge: cutting their home energy consumption by at least 10%. Not only will you save money, but you’ll reduce your energy footprint—the measure of how much you contribute to the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Are you overwhelmed by information and don't know where to start? Green Needham has prepared an easy-to-use checklist which will give you plenty of ideas on how to cut your energy use. Simply read through the list, then check off actions on the "My Plan" section and calculate your energy savings.

An on-line version of the checklist is available. If you would like a paper version, e-mail us at 10percent@greenneedham.org.

Many suggestions are simple – just different ways of doing things that don’t involve spending any money. Some have modest upfront costs that you’ll recoup quickly through lower energy bills. Others may mean larger investments – such as replacing older boilers or furnaces, refrigerators or other appliances, or adding insulation. – but we can help you with the information you need to evaluate those decisions, and focus on those that will make the most difference to you.

Green Needham members would like to make presentations to school, civic, and religious groups highlighting specific ways to save energy – many based on their own experience. If you are a member of group interested in hearing about the 10% Challenge, even just an informal group of neighbors, e-mail us at 10percent@greenneedham.org. By enlisting the support of these groups, we eventually hope to reach every household in town.

The campaign to cut household energy consumption is part of a three-pronged effort by the Green Needham Collaborative. Town government and schools have already committed themselves to the 10-percent challenge. Businesses will be asked to join in as well through the Sustainable Business Leaders program.


(December, 2009) 464 people have submitted plans, for a yearly CO2 reduction of nearly 4 million pounds. On Earth Day, awards were given to 8 organizations for their levels of member participation in the Challenge. 10% Energy Challenge school campaigns were carried out at St. Joe’s, Broadmeadow, Eliot, Mitchell, and Newman.

Frequently asked questions

What is the 10% Challenge?

The Green Needham Collaborative is challenging Needham residents to cut their energy use by at least 10% as a way of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and curbing emissions of CO2, the most common greenhouse gas which leads to harmful global warming. Saving energy means saving money and helping the environment at the same time.

How do I cut my energy use?

An easy-to-use checklist will be posted online, giving plenty of ideas on how to do this. Simply read through the list, then check off the actions you plan to take. The interactive program will calculate your energy savings. You will be able to print out your plan. An online resource library will inform you about products and services, plus give green tips and background information.

In order to cut my energy use by 10%, I need to know how much energy my household uses. How do I find out?

When we use energy from fossil fuels—such as gasoline, heating oil, electricity generated by burning coal, or natural gas—our personal energy use leads to CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere. Calculating your yearly CO2 emissions (or carbon footprint) is a good way to estimate energy use, and to see how certain actions can reduce these emissions.

We will provide 2 options. One option is to use the yearly carbon emissions of the average American household (54,000 pounds) and try to cut 10% of that. For those who would like a more exact estimate, we will provide a link to a carbon calculator which uses information from your electric and heating bills and takes into account your air travel and car mileage.

I’ve already taken all the measures I can think of to reduce my energy use! Should I join the challenge?

Yes, definitely. The 10% Challenge includes many energy-saving ideas, plus has a More Ideas section, including information on carbon offsets. You will likely find some ideas you hadn’t thought of.

How do I join?

Click on the link at the top of the page. For those who prefer not to use online materials, paper materials will be available by emailing 10percent@ greenneedham.org or by calling Eleanor Rosellini at 781 453-9526.

Can my club, community organization, or place of worship participate?

Yes, participating organizations will be listed on the Green Needham website and will be given recognition (silver, gold, platinum) if a certain percentage of their members take the 10% Challenge by making an energy-reducing plan.

Recognition Level Guidelines

  • Small organizations (1-20 people): 50% participation required for bronze recognition, 70% for silver, 80% for gold
  • Medium organizations (21-100 people): 20% participation required for bronze recognition, 30% for silver, 40% for gold
  • Large organizations (over 100 people): 10% participation required for bronze recognition, 20% for silver, 30% for gold

10% Energy Challenge Plaque Status

Organization Summary Matrix: File:GNC 10pct Challenge Plaque status.xls

Detailed document: File:Plaque-Energy Challenge GNC 4-12-DETAIL DOC.doc