Frequently Asked Questions


1- What do we get for participating in the Challenge? Great question!  Lots of tangible and intangible rewards.

Challenge players: 

  • Cut costs and increase profits

  • Discover innovative ways to be more energy efficient

  • Receive positive publicity

  • Access catered Lunch n’ Learns on core energy topics

  • Access a ready-made “Energy Catalyst Toolkit”

  • Receive expert help and assistance and in some cases an energy walkthrough

  • Join a fast-growing network of leading sustainable-minded businesses

  • Show commitment to the community and the environment

  • Differentiate themselves among competitors

  • Have a chance to win a distinguished award

  • Have fun!


2- Can I participate if I’m a one-person business?

Yes of course! We encourage businesses of all sizes to participate in the Challenge!


3- Can I participate if I’m a school, congregation or non-profit and not a business?

Yes! In the past participating schools, congregations, and non-profits have achieved great success.


4- Can we participate in the Challenge if we aren’t located within the City of Charlottesville or Albemarle County jurisdictions?

Yes. Any business, non-profit, or church located in Fluvanna, Louisa, Albemarle, Augusta, Nelson, and Greene County may register and participate in the Challenge, but we may not be able to provide the direct support to those localities due to staffing limitations.


5- If I own multiple businesses or locations, do all of my locations count or can I focus my efforts on just one?  

That’s up to you!  If you would like to have more than one of your business locations participate in the Challenge, you can. 

That being said, since the square footage, orientation, and unique characteristics of the locations would be different, we may need you to fill out a Energy Scorecard Survey for each location (e.g. Mudhouse_downtown and Mudhouse_Crozet). For specific questions, please reach out to our Director of Programs and Communications, Teri Kent (


6- We already participated in the Challenge once, why should we again? 

There’s always room for improvement!  Especially since technology advances and implementations such as LED lighting solutions and clean energy become cheaper and therefore reduce your payback time period.

Here are the top three reasons to take on round three of the Challenge.

1- This year’s Challenge has more resources and easy-to-use templates than ever before!

2- You can never have enough positive publicity and recognition in the community! The last Challenge had over 30 media hits.

3- Last and best reason to join: we’re confident you can find opportunities for cost savings. Those who participated in the last Challenge collectively saved $185,000/year (or 1,554,150 kWh of energy)!


7- What’s the difference between the Smart Start and the Champion track?

Challenge Champion Track participants use the Energy Scorecard and can take advantage of all the Challenge resources and be eligible to win one of our awards.  All businesses, schools, nonprofits, and congregations in Charlottesville, Albemarle and surrounding counties are eligible.  Registration Fee: $100


  • Online "Energy Catalyst Toolkit:" a hands-on guide to gaining points and saving energy

  • Access to catered "Lunch n’ Learn" Training Sessions on trending topics

  • Positive publicity for your efforts

  • Application for Energy Walkthrough with trained staff, which can pinpoint opportunities in your business

  • Application for Challenge Coach who can help you squeeze taking action into your busy schedule

  • Community-wide recognition at 2019 Challenge Awards Night

  • It’s fun to be part of a larger Challenge network of team players!


Start Smart Track is for small businesses just starting out on the sustainability path. The Start Smart Scorecard actions that take less time and investment. Businesses and nonprofits in Charlottesville, Albemarle and surrounding counties with less than 10 employees are eligible.  Registration Fee: $50

Benefits include:

  • Online "Energy Catalyst Toolkit:" a hands-on guide to gaining points and saving energy

  • Access to catered "Lunch n’ Learn" Training Sessions on trending topics

  • Positive publicity for your efforts

  • Community-wide recognition at 2019 Challenge Awards Night

  • It’s fun to be part of a larger Challenge network of team players!


8- What are the important deadlines to keep in mind?

Early-bird registration starts in April, 2018 and runs through May 31st, 2018 and will earn your business 10 bonus points! It’s open enrollment after that, but the earlier you join, the longer you will have to implement action items. Final Scorecards will be submitted on May 15th, 2019 and the Awards Night will be held in June of 2019 (date and location TBA). You can read our "Bottom Line" monthly e-newsletter, sign up to get text messages when you register, and follow our social media for announcements


9- Will my scorecard and progress be available to the public?

No. Your Energy Scorecard Survey information is strictly confidential and private.


10- Can I see what other businesses are participating?

Yes. A list of all participating businesses will be displayed on the website here.


11- What if we don’t own our building; we rent?

The Energy Scorecard action items available include a wide variety of actions accessible to both owners and tenants. And tenants don’t have to compete with owners for the Awards! We realize owners have more control over their space and therefore actions so the overall winners of the Challenge (“Challenge Champions”) will be divided between small and large businesses as well as renters and owners in each of these categories to ensure competitive accessibility for all businesses and organizations.


12- There is no way we can do all of these action items.  Is that okay? 

Absolutely! The scorecard is meant to show what it is possible in energy efficiency and other sustainability measures and was not designed for any one businesses to complete all the items.


13- What documentation should I obtain or keep on file to prove the accuracy of my final Scorecard point claims?

For the most part, the Challenge is on the honor system; however, the Challenge team may ask for documentation or spot check with an onsite visit to verify that players are actually implementing the actions that they claimed as points.

To verify energy savings and be eligible for one of the Challenge awards, we will need your utility bills at the start and end of the Challenge. Electricity bills are required; gas bills are optional.

At the beginning of the contest, there is an upload button when you fill out the online Energy Scorecard Survey. Then when you reach the Challenge “Finish Line” in May 2019, you will need to fill out a brief questionnaire including narrative descriptions. And we promise: we aren’t talking about a lengthy report! The "Finish Line" will also include an upload feature to submit your final bill (April 2019).


14- When are the Awards announced?

Awards will be announced June 2019 at the Paramount Theater or similar venue! (Click here to visit our Award Page)


15- Who will decide the winners of the Challenge?

All businesses will be positively recognized as participants through the website and various media channels. Awards will be given to Champions, Kill-o-watt Crackdown, Green Leaders, Top Innovator, and others.  Winners will be chosen from the Challenge team of 8-10 community and business leaders who are non-participants.  Details found at our Awards Page.


16- How can I get bonus points?

Early birds who register by May 31st, 2018 will earn 10 bonus points! Other bonus points will be announced throughout the 12-month contest.  Read our monthly Bottom Line e-newsletter, sign up to get text messages when you register, and follow our social media for announcements on other ways to earn "extra credit" points. 


17 - How do I submit my final score?

Update your Energy Scorecard Survey to reflect all the actions you’ve taken throughout the Challenge by May 15, 2019. This will be your final score.  As a part of the final step, you will also need to submit your April 2019 utility bills, and a “Finish Line” questionnaire, which will include asking for a brief description of your accomplishments.


18- How do I log into my account to complete the survey?

Log into your business account using your username and password. Make sure you input your username, not your email, into the username field. If you forget your username, you can request a new password and the greeting line of the email will include your username. 


19- How do I submit my energy bill? 

We recommend scanning your utility bill when you enter the Challenge and uploading it into the online Energy Scorecard Survey when it prompts you.  At the end of the Challenge, you will have a chance to enter your April 2019 bill as a comparison.


20- What if I forgot my Challenge username and password?

Simply follow the “forgot your password” prompt on the login page to be emailed a link to reset your password. This email will also include your username.


21- Who should I contact should I have a question about the Challenge or implementing an action item?

Contact Teri Kent, Director of Programs and Communications, at