Upper Arlington News

Workshop offers nonprofit groups energy-saving tips


Representatives of nonprofit organizations in the central Ohio area can learn ways to reduce their energy use and how to apply for a $2,500 grant during a workshop scheduled for Thursday, July 25.

The "Reduce Your Use for Good" gathering, which is being hosted by Direct Energy and ThisWeek Community News, will take place in the Girl Scouts of Ohio's Heartland council headquarters, 1700 Watermark Drive.

Registration, breakfast and networking will take place from 8:30 to 9 a.m. followed by a panel discussion and question-and-answer session from 9 to 10:15 a.m.

The panelists will be Karen Ferris, founder of Big Green Head, and Erin Miller, Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman's environmental steward.

Officials with Direct Energy, part of a Houston-based supplier of electricity, natural gas and related services, will take over from 10:15 to 10:30 a.m.to discuss how the agencies can apply for the Reduce Your Use for Good grant program.

ThisWeek Community News is serving as the media partner for the workshop.

Direct Energy has pledged $100,000 to be given out in grants of $2,500 to nonprofit organizations to help fund ways to reduce energy use in the workplace, according to Andrea Romo, an external relations specialist in the Pittsburgh office of Direct Energy.

"We harness our expertise in energy to make a difference in people's lives," Romo said last week. "That's kind of our mission and motto."

A similar workshop was held recently for nonprofit organizations in the Pittsburgh area, Romo said.

"It was very successful, not only from a media standpoint, but also based on participation," she said.

The goal of these gatherings, she added, is to give nonprofit agency representatives information about being more energy-efficient and other "greening practices," as well as a way of obtaining $2,500 to help do so.

Agencies and organizations need to submit a short video in order to be eligible for a Reduce Your Use for Good grant.

Production values are not part of the judging process, Romo indicated.

"They can pull out a flip-cam and do it," she said.

A panel of judges at the Houston headquarters of the company, which operates in 46 states, the District of Columbia and 10 Canadian provinces, reviews the submissions.

Grants are awarded based on "likes" the firm receives on its Facebook page from people who have viewed the videos on the Facebook pages of nonprofits.

To date, Romo wrote in an email last week, Direct Energy has given out $25,000 of the total $100,000 pledged and has enough "likes" from applicants to offer 17 more.

"Once you apply, it's always eligible until you receive a grant," Romo said.

More detailed contest rules are available at reduceyouruseforgood.com.