Pittsburg is competing in a statewide contest to be the coolest city in terms of residents cutting down on their energy use.
Count Wanda Shulak in that group, who saves energy by hanging clothes out to dry, using energy-efficient LED lights, running a bunch of errands in one car trip, and using a special power strip to automatically shut down electronic devices that are not being used.
"We've always had a clothesline. If it's warm enough, we hang the clothes on the line. I love it," said Shulak, who is among the 71 Pittsburg residents who signed up for the www.coolcalifornia.org challenge ending July 31.
Several years ago, Shulak and her husband began taking steps to make their carbon footprint smaller. Sure there are the immediate benefits -- saving money and treating the Earth right -- but she sees such efforts as also paying off in the future.
"I'm really trying to save energy," she said. "I have a grandson, and he's going to have children. We want to preserve (energy)."
Right now, Pittsburg is in seventh place out of the 10 cities that have enrolled in the competition. Collectively, the 71 residents have garnered about 25,000 points as of Tuesday. The top city is Davis, which has 256 residents who have racked up about 184,000 points. Two other Bay Area cites are also competing. Pleasanton is in fifth place, with 158 residents who have garnered about 59,000 points and San Jose is
When people sign up at www.coolcalifornia.org, they automatically get 100 points. Additional points are awarded for energy-saving steps that are self-reported by participants on the website. The top three cities that end up with the most points will each receive a $10,000 grant that can be used for energy-saving projects.
The cities that signed up for the competition submitted letters to the organization that runs the program to become participants.
But you don't have to be a resident of one of the competing cities to sign up; you can join as an individual who wants to save energy.
"Every household is going to have their own points based on the actions they are doing in their home. Friendly competition is something that people can really enjoy," said Katrina Nagle, administrative analyst for Pittsburg's environmental affairs division. "We're trying to envision a cleaner, healthier Pittsburg. When you are lowering the carbon footprint, not only does it help the environment, you are helping the public health."
Even when the Cool California contest is over at the end of July, Nagle is encouraging residents to stay in the program and would like to see new residents sign up. The more people who are participating and reporting what they are doing to save energy, the more likely it is that Pittsburg will be able to apply for funds later in the year that can be used for an energy-saving community project.
"Even if you're not one of the (top) three cities, you can still get some funding for programs based on your points," she said.
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189.
CoolCalifornia.org is a one-stop online resource for Californians looking to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint. The site provides an online resource that provides tips for saving energy.