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What is the CoolCalifornia Challenge?
The CoolCalifornia Challenge is a fun, innovative competition between ten California cities to reduce their community-wide carbon footprints and build more vibrant and sustainable communities.
Cities participating in the CoolCalifornia Challenge 2012 are:
- Chula Vista
- Citrus Heights
- San Jose
- Santa Cruz
A yearlong program
The program, which begins April 1, 2012 and concludes March 31, 2013, builds on lessons from successful community-based social marketing programs that motivate individuals to take climate action and strengthen communities through peer-to-peer capacity building and leadership.
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The program is designed to integrate with city’s existing sustainability initiatives and support citywide greenhouse gas reduction goals. The Challenge serves as a platform to actively engage diverse populations of residents, acting in multiple contexts (households, peer networks, schools, businesses, at the policy level, etc.), under a shared goal of lowering consumption of energy and emissions of greenhouse gases.
At its core, the CoolCalifornia Challenge is a game that provides participants with points and rewards for taking particular actions, but unlike most games, the points benefit not only individuals and groups of individuals, but entire communities. After four months of open competition, starting April 1, 2012, the top three cities with the most points will earn recognition as “Cool California Cities” and the top city will be named the “Coolest California City”.
Every resident in participating cities has the opportunity to contribute to the program. Within cities, households and groups of households will be recognized for their contributions to helping make cities green and more livable. Points also earn participants the chance to win prizes from green businesses, helping to stimulate green economic development, and to help local charities by donating points on their behalf. While points are earned through actions taken by individuals at the household level, this is fundamentally a social game that helps connect people and support them in identifying and achieving their goals. Every action that individuals take helps the people they are connected to in the program.
The Qualifying Round
The competition will take place in two phases. After a brief “warm up” month to get cities familiar with the program, the first phase is called the “Qualifying Round” and will last three months. During the Qualifying Round, cities will encourage residents to sign up for the program at coolcalifornia.org and to begin tracking and reducing their household energy (natural gas and electricity) and motor vehicle emissions.
How do participants and cities earn points?
Each household will earn 100 points just for signing up and more points for simple tasks like filling out an online survey, uploading a photo and inviting friends to join. Next, participants will enter information from their most recent energy bill and start tracking the miles driven of each vehicle they own. Households earn one point for every pound of CO2 below average California households with similar characteristics (calculated by the software). In the second month and following months, households will also earn “bonus points,” worth three times the value of normal points, for improving over their past performance. The value of bonus points also increases when participants reach certain goals, providing increasing motivation to reduce energy and transportation emissions. Points are tracked in the online software and count as raffle tickets, which participants can allocate to different prizes, or donate to local charities.
At the end of each of the first three months, the city with the most points will be entered into a nine-month long “Finalists” Round. Finalist cities will be awarded recognition as “Cool California Cities” and be given $10,000 in seed money. Participating households will be encouraged to join EcoTeams, groups of households working together to reduce their carbon footprints and earn points in the program. Each month a new set of actions that qualify for points will be added to the Challenge. After nine months, the city with the most points will be crowned the “Coolest California City” and be awarded a grand prize.
Cities not selected for the Finalists Round will be encouraged to continue with the program to help residents reduce and their track emissions, earn points and receive raffle prizes. These cities may even outperform finalist cities and earn additional recognition for their efforts, but only finalist cities will compete for the grand prize.
Who runs the CoolCalifornia Challenge?
The CoolCalifornia Challenge is a collaboration between California government, university and non-profit organizations with support from programs sponsors. The program is administered by the CoolClimate Network (CCN), a research consortium in the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. This program is supported in part by a research contract from the California Air and Resources Board and is a program of the statewide climate action portal CoolCalifornia.org. Participating cities administer programs at the local level and serve as the primary point of contact for program participants.
The CoolCalifornia Challenge is made possible in part by contributions from Program Sponsors in addition to key supporters including the California Air Resources Board and the University of California, Berkeley's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. Please contact the CoolCalifornia Challenge for information about sponsorship opportunities firstname.lastname@example.org.