City of Charlottesville
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Last November, dozens of Charlottesville artists submitted ideas for the Energize!Charlottesville Pitch Night: The Power of Energy in Our Lives event to help communicate energy awareness to city residents. Pitch Night winner Matthew Slaats received $5,000 to create and install his creative concept entitled “Our Energy” that involves decorating neighborhood utility poles with monthly energy consumption information.
The concept has now come to fruition as many Charlottesville neighborhood utility poles boast colorful bands and informative posters that display the amount of energy Charlottesville residents use each month, hoping to create some awareness of the amount of energy their neighborhoods use as a whole. The winning concept was inspired by The Tidy Street Project in England, which showed household electricity usage on a street in Brighton, England.
Slaats says, “Energy is everywhere, traveling in the walls of our homes, along power lines, and even in our bodies. It is what drives us forward. At the same time it is unseen and not experienced, except for maybe when we get our power bill at the end of the month. Our Energy is an effort to make people see how much energy we use each month and get the community thinking about how we might make better choices. ” 
Locations where the project is already installed include JPA, Belmont, West Main, and Cherry/Ridge. A full list of the locations is available online. Residents are encouraged to go check them out and learn more about the project at!
Energize!Charlottesville Pitch Night was created to help the City of Charlottesville’s efforts in winning the $5 million grand prize for the Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP) competition. Judging for the GUEP is based largely on residential energy use data and community engagement.
The City of Charlottesville and the Piedmont Council for the Arts partnered to host this event in recognition of the powerful and unique ability of art to communicate and connect with people, to present topics with a new perspective, and to create a spirit of fun, surprise, and action into our everyday lives. The winning project will aim to raise awareness about energy use and encourage individuals to reduce home energy use.