EcoChallenge 2014

Register to Participate

Registration Process: (1) Your Information → (2) Team Participation → (3) Send Invites

Required fields are denoted with an asterisk (*).

Your information
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Choose Your EcoChallenge(s)*

Fund Raising Goal

If you have elected to participate as an individual and noted this above, please select the fund raising goal you would like to set for yourself.

Water Conservation

image of rain water barrels

Conserving water is good for the planet—and good for your wallet.

Choose an action (or two) from this list to fulfill your Water Conservation EcoChallenge. Once you’ve picked your EcoChallenge Actions, add them to your profile to inform and inspire your teammates.


For my EcoChallenge action(s), I will:

  • Save 20 gallons of water per day by taking 5 minute showers
  • Save approximately 12 gallons of water by following the slogan "If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” at least three times a day
  • Install low-flow toilets and faucet aerators at the office and at home
  • Check for leaks: dripping faucets can waste 20 gallons of water a day. For more information check out this calculator.
  • Stop purchasing bottled water and turn to the tap instead
  • Invest in reusable cups and pitchers instead of relying on a water delivery service at the office 
  • Limit the number of dishwasher and washing machine loads by only running the machines when they are completely full
  • Collect rain water in rain barrels and use this water for outdoor water needs
  • Start a compost pile and refrain from using the sink disposal
  • Harvest household gray water: reusing just 5 gallons of water a day will save 75 gallons of water during the EcoChallenge
  • Invest in water saving appliances (shower heads, faucets, toilets, dish and clothes washers): front load clothes washers save up to 7,000 gallons of water annually and over $100 a year in energy costs
  • Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and gutters instead of using a hose
  • Wash cars at the car wash (more efficient than doing it at home, and better for the rivers)
  • Use toilet tank banks or float boosters to reduce the amount of water flushed
  • Put mulch around the base of trees and plants to prevent water runoff and increase absorbency
  • Insulate water pipes and the hot water heater to avoid wasting water while waiting for the water to heat up
  • Put up signs in the office bathroom with a phone number or email to report water leaks and running toilets
  • Re-examine landscaping, at home and at work: reduce the amount of lawn, choose native plants and/or drought resistant plants
  • Create a rain garden or a bioswale


Energy Efficiency

[photo: hand turning down thermostat]

Reducing your household or workplace energy use is a great way to reduce your impact and save money!

Use this list of ideas to put your house or office on an energy diet.  Once you’ve picked your EcoChallenge Actions, add them to your profile to inform and inspire your teammates.


For my EcoChallenge action(s), I will:

  • Turn your home and/or office thermostat down 1 degree in the months you use heat and up 1 degree for the summer months
  • Turn off the lights when not in use (remember to do this in conference rooms, bathrooms, etc. too)
  • Wash clothes using cold water and dry them outside on the line or using drying racks
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs) or LEDs
  • Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use: many of them still draw electricity even when they are turned off
  • Plug appliances (computers, toaster ovens etc) into a power strip and turn it off in between uses
  • Complete an online energy audit of my house and identify next steps for saving energy at home
  • Replace manual thermostats with programmable ones
  • Install energy meters at home or in the office and monitor energy used
  • Power down the office by plugging computers, printers, etc. into power strips and turn them off at the end of the day
  • Enable the energy saving settings on my computer and/or printers and reduce the amount of time before the equipment reverts to power saving mode
  • Say no to screen savers they use 28% more energy; put the computer to sleep instead 
  • Cut my personal "screen time" in half and save the energy used to power my TV, DVD player, computer, etc.
  • Purchase a solar charger and use it to charge small electronics (cell phones, ipods, and cameras, etc)
  • Share a networked printer with coworkers instead of powering a printer for every person
  • Find out if my utility company has a clean energy purchase option
  • Naturally heat and cool the house and office using fans, curtains and blinds whenever possible
  • Using daylighting to light my office and home
  • Insulate my water heater and pipes
  • Look for energy efficient models when replacing appliances
  • Replace inefficient heating and cooling units, upgrade uninsulated windows, and fix the roof 
  • Install a home alternative energy system (e.g. photovoltaic or solar electric systems)
  • “Offset” my environmental footprint with renewable energy credits
  • Organize one of NWEI’s discussion course such as Powering a Bright Future or Just Below the Surface and invite friends, neighbors or coworkers to join your discussion group

Looking for more precise information on your electricity consumption?

If you are interested in the breakdown of your electricity and want to thoroughly investigate your home, habits and usage, consider an energy audit either with a professional or with freely available online tools.


Sustainable Food Options

[photo: boot pushing shovel into soil]

There are many options to consider when choosing your food. Is it organic?  Is it locally produced? Is it in season? Sometimes it is hard to distinguish what is a good choice for you—and the planet. As a consumer, we encourage you to “vote with your dollars” when making food choices,during the EcoChallenge and in the future.

Pick from the list below to create your personal plan to fulfill your EcoChallenge.


For my EcoChallenge action(s), I will:

  • Purchase most of my produce & fruit from the farmers market
  • Source food for office meetings and events from local producers
  • Visit a nearby farm, learn about what they produce and pick my own fruits and veggies or join a CSA
  • Purchase 90% of my food from locally produced and/or organic sources
  • Try out the 100 Mile Diet and eat only food that has been raised and cultivated within a hundred mile radius of where I live.
  • Try cooking 5 new recipes that feature organic and/or local ingredients
  • Choose sustainable seafood options every time I eat fish during the EcoChallenge
  • Limit my meat eating to twice per week (if I eat meat) or try Meatless Monday
  • Try something new with food, such as canning, drying, or jamming local foods or baking bread
  • Cut back food waste: Plan your household menu and find creative uses. Look here for tips.
  • Participate in planting and growing food-- either in my own or a friend’s garden or at a community garden
  • Plant an herb windowsill or herbs in pots if the garden’s not an option
  • When eating out, ask where the restaurant sources their ingredients--choose and encourage local and organic options
  • Get involved in food legislation and share my opinion with my elected representatives
  • Research and become involved in a local group/campaign such as a community food council or effort to provide sustainable food in school cafeterias
  • Organize one of NWEI’s discussion course such as Menu For The Future or Hungry for Change: Food, Ethics and Sustainability and invite friends, neighbors or coworkers to join a new discussion group
  • Watch a documentary film about food with friends and get them involved in sustainable eating (some suggestions include: Food Inc., The Future of Food, Supersize Me, and King Corn)


Alternative Transportation

portland streetcar photo

Many of us rely on our vehicle to get us from point A to point B, and it’s a habit that is hard to break. Do your body and the environment a favor by using alternative transportation! You’ll probably  end up saving money too.

Use this list of suggestions to choose ways to accomplish your challenge, and don’t forget to update your profile on the EcoChallenge website to tell your friends and family about the ways you are achieving your EcoChallenge!


For my EcoChallenge action(s), I will:

  • Use alternative transportation methods to get to work
  • Bike or walk to run errands within 1 mile of my house or work
  • Minimize my car trips by “chaining” together errands or by running errands on my way to/from work, instead of making a separate trip
  • Cut my average weekly mileage by 25% by focusing on essential car trips
  • Take the 2 mile challenge: I’ll bike or walk whenever I am going to be within a 2 mile radius
  • Take the train or streetcar 3 times a week for a trip where I would normally take my car
  • Carpool
  • Cut out the commute: I’ll work from home occasionally and bypass the commute entirely
  • Try a virtual meeting:instead of traveling for business, I’ll set up a video conference
  • Take my gym routine outside and exercise outside during the EcoChallenge instead of driving to the gym or get to the gym by bike or bus
  • Use human powered transportation for the entire 15 days of the EcoChallenge
  • Purchase offsets for any air travel I need to do--for work or pleasure
  • Examine the vehicles used by my company and advocate for fuel efficient vehicles


Trash Reduction

little girl with recycling binLiving by the 3 Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) reduces our need for new sources of plastic, paper, metals, and other finite resources. It also cuts down on the amount of garbage that needs to be sent to landfills. Reducing trash can save you money (on new products and trash pickup) and eases strain on our ecosystems.


For my EcoChallenge action(s), I will: 

  • Bring my own reusable mug every time I’m on the go
  • Bring my own bags every time I shop during the EcoChallenge
  • Refrain from buying bottled water/juices/soda throughout the EcoChallenge, and instead use a reusable mug or thermos
  • Make sure that my office has reusable cups/mugs/plates and silverware to minimize disposables
  • Refrain from buying unnecessary items during the EcoChallenge
  • Start a compost collection to reduce the amount of trash my household or workplace produces
  • Recycle and select products that are made from recycled materials (at home and at the office)
  • Set up a recycling center at work if there isn’t one already in place
  • Clean out unused appliances, items, clothes, etc. and donate unneeded items
  • Reuse 100% of non-recyclable plastics
  • Reuse office supplies, like binders, folders, rubber bands, etc.
  • Send inner-office mail in reused envelopes
  • Buy  foods that are available in bulk from the bulk bins, in order to reduce the packaging that I buy and bring home
  • Buy used whenever possible (from garage sales, Craigslist, Freecycle, secondhand stores, etc.)
  • Borrow, rent or share things I don’t use often, for example, I’ll share a lawnmower or rent a carpet cleaner if I need one
  • Stop “shopping by habit” – I’ll weigh purchases carefully, always asking “do I need this?”
  • Buy milk in glass bottles that can be washed and reused
  • Buy durable, high-quality products, and maintain/repair items instead of replacing them
  • Reuse paper and print on both sides
  • Take action to reduce the amount of unwanted mail I receive
  • Maintain my vehicle so that it lasts as long as possible
  • Buy larger packages when possible (for example, one large bottle of detergent uses less plastic than three smaller bottles)
  • Avoid single-serving goods and foods
  • Cook at home or dine in rather than getting take-out food, which generally requires excessive packaging
  • Reduce household food waste
  • Buy used electronics if possible, such as a refurbished laptops, recycled cell phones and rechargeable batteries
  • Talk to others about reducing their waste
  • Take a field trip to the local dump or landfill to learn about where trash goes in my community


 Facts and Stats on Waste:

  • The average American generates 4.6 pounds of trash a day
  • Americans make up 5 % of the world’s population and generate 40% of the world’s waste
  • 1/3 of the waste generated in the US is packaging

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