Don’t be a User

I’ll just be forthright and say that I am not happy with the fact that Cooper Young is losing The Smallest User competition. Well, let me clarify. It’s not so much the losing that I have a problem with; it is the fact that it isn’t even a competition thus far.  Cooper Young has never failed to rise to a challenge or back down from pursuing a good project. Cooper Young was one of the first neighborhoods to push the city for bikes lanes (which is about to be put in place). We also hold one of the best festivals in the Southeast each year, are home to many of the Project Green Fork businesses and a new Farmer’s Market is about to open up because of our encouragement. So, to say that this is not a neighborhood that can get things done when we put our mind to it is to turn a blind eye to the dedication and motivation of its residents.

The Smallest User Article

Based on January’s readings, Cooper Young has used 6% MORE energy than we did last year. Ok, so it’s cold…really cold…ok, like snow cold.  I get it.  I’m a cold-natured person and this winter has really not been fun. I have had to combat the urge to crank up the heat and try to find the little cracks where that darn cold air is coming in (and we have an old house – there’s several!).

So, I hate to burst your bubble, but when Evergreen’s readings were taken, they have used 3% LESS than last year. Yes, their homes may be better insulated or their furnace more efficient, but according to Tom Chamberlain with MLGW, the readings were adjusted because of the severe cold, so that can’t explain it all.

This community is awesome because we think outside the box, to use a cliché. If there is something that we put our mind to, we never fail to find a way to get it done.  That’s all that I am asking for now. Do I want to win this competition?  Yes!  But, honestly what I want most is for people to start paying attention to what this competition means. It means that there is a new and progressive green program in the form of a competition that is being tested in Memphis. MLGW, and our own Cooper-Younger Sutton Mora Hayes, took the time to pursue and apply for a grant to do this competition, with the hope that if it went well they may show its results to the rest of Tennessee. That is no small task, and we should consider it an honor to be allowed to take part in this initial competition. The fact that only about 20 folks from Cooper Young showed up at the Smallest User meeting at First Congo a couple of weeks ago is honestly disappointing. The Evergreen neighborhood had around 150 show up at their community meeting the next day. For those of you that complain about Memphis and its sad #3 Forbes rating, it is programs like this that could potentially change how this city is viewed.

And one thing that I almost neglected to mention – the money in your pocket. So, think about it this way: A) The more energy you save, the lower your MLGW bill will be. B) Ok, so the lower your MLGW bill is, the more money you have in your pocket. C) With more money in your pocket, you can spend on things like the movies, the Farmer’s Market, or an extra drink and dinner at the local restaurants that you enjoy versus paying that amount in your power bill. All this = one BIG win on the individual level!

So, at the risk of sounding like my mother, I ask that you all just do the little things and that Cooper Young take an active part in this competition – turn off your TV when you aren’t watching it, use energy-efficient bulbs, install insulation, etc. This is our community, our city, and we should respect and take pride in that. If we lose this competition, then I want to do it knowing that we gave it our best shot.


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  1. Great article! CY is usually the flagship neighborhood for events, contests, ideas like The Smallest User. I’m going to be sure to keep an eye on Bacon – he likes to leave the Xbox running after playing. :-)

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  2. Kristan, today I opened a bunch of blinds because it’s sunny, and that sun will warm my house up a bit and will hopefully keep the heat from kickin’ on, which, by the way, is set to 58-60 degrees when I’m gone. Why did I think about opening the blinds? BECAUSE I READ THIS POST! Thanks for the encouragement. We need it!

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