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Bainbridge Island tries peer pressure to save energy

Courtesy The Tidy Street Project.
The inspiration for the energy use street painting came from Brighton, UK, where it looked like this.

Starting this weekend, residents of two neighborhoods on Bainbridge Island will get an in-your-face reminder of how much energy they’re using. Bainbridge is one of three Northwest cities to receive a federal grant to do aggressive energy efficiency outreach.

The City of Bainbridge Island has set a goal to reduce the island’s energy consumption by 20 percent over three years. The community is copying an idea from Brighton, England to build awareness of energy saving incentives and weatherization subsidies. Bainbridge city councilmember Hilary Franz has artists at the ready to paint aggregate energy use data in bold numbers in the middle of the street.

“So there is definitely that piece of making it making it very public and having to air sort how they’re doing in this progress,” says Franz.

The federally financed project also placed a real-time digital display of community energy consumption on the state ferry serving the island. The cities of Seattle and Portland also received millions of dollars under the same conservation grant program. But they’re using more traditional outreach methods to entice homeowners and businesses to participate.