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Banks wins Biggest Loser battle


Two-city duel cuts energy use, electric bills

Nothing motivates like a little friendly competition.

Eight Banks businesses signed up for a contest against North Plains to reduce their energy usage in 2012, serving as a pilot model for the rest of the state.

Portland General Electric and the Energy Trust of Oregon teamed up to motivate and assist businesses who signed up for the challenge, providing them with free energy-use consultations.

Although North Plains signed up more participating businesses, Banks came in the energy-savings winner, reducing kilowatt hours by more than 79,000 from 2011 to 2012. PGE’s Mark Fryburg presented the City Council with a congratulatory certificate at for their efforts at a meeting last Tuesday.

Jim’s Thriftway, Health Options, Curves, Big Horn Logging, U.S. Bank, Banks Trail Cafe, Banks Auto Parts and City of Banks joined together to conserve 6.2 percent of their total energy usage.

According to PGE’s Paula Conway, easy fixes to save energy are the most popular. Using LED exit signs and lights, replacing old T12 fluorescent bulbs with the newer T8 bulbs, improving insulation, and installing more efficient heating and cooling systems can save “huge amounts of energy,” she said.

Banks Trail Cafe staff replaced their regular light bulbs with LED ones and old appliances with those that are Energy Star qualified, which are designed to use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard varieties.

The City of Banks added solar panels and double-paned windows to City Hall.

PGE and Energy Trust of Oregon also offer energy savings incentives for businesses and individuals who upgrade with energy saving techniques.

The City of Tualatin has entered into a similar challenge to save energy between January 2013 and June 2013.