Our Game Plan

The Houghton Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) is one of 50 communities across the country competing for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize. Even more importantly, we’re dedicated to finding practical, community-driven solutions to our local energy issues.

This is our game plan.


Every community is different, and we need to address our own unique set of challenges and opportunties. To be honest, our challenges include our cold and snowy climate, our remoteness, and high cost of our energy relative to the average income. But our strengths include our small, connected community and our can-do attitude that allows us to overcome just about anything (around here, we call it sisu). Houghton County is unique in the competition for the Prize because we are truly a community-driven effort, and we hope to engage everyone.

  • Staying Warm in Winter
  • Connecting People to Services
  • Turning Information to Action
  • Energizing the Community

Staying Warm in Winter

Our community is in one of the snowiest places in the entire country! In a place where the heating season can run from September through May (or longer!), community members need energy solutions that ensure that homes and buildings are safe, comfortable, and affordable. Examples include:

  • HEET is training volunteers, organizing material donations, and coordinating winterizations of local homes for residents in need.
  • HEET is also providing “do it yourself” training through our Generations of Energy Exhibit located in downtown Hancock.  This exhibit teaches community members how to improve their own homes and buildings.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info@newpowertour.com to arrange a tour through the exhibit, which generally takes about an hour.

Connecting People to Services

Many services are already available to encourage residents, business owners, and community organizations improve their energy efficiency. At the same time, many people do not take advantage of available programs and incentives because they too busy or don’t know they exist. Through partnerships with Efficiency United, New Power Tour, ad other programs, HEET helps match people to relevant programs and resources. Examples include:

  • In partnership with Efficiency United, HEET provides as many residents as possible with  a Home Energy Score and recommendations for next steps.
  • HEET is coordinating appliance recycling for local residents.
  • HEET raises awareness of Efficiency United’s programs for UPPCO and Semco customers.
  • New Power Tour and HEET have helped supply income-eligible residents with energy efficient LED lights, refrigerators, heat pump water heaters (specifically replacing electric water heaters), and boiler pumps that stop recirculating water that is already up to temperature.  Click here to see income guidelines and this year’s programs.

Turning Information to Action

People may be are aware of actions that they can take to improve energy efficiency or switch to renewable energies, but have yet to implement that next step. In addition to providing more information, HEET inspires community members to take action.

Energizing the Community

HEET has been a community-based effort since the very beginning. To be successful, HEET has to have a presence and a broad-base of support throughout the region. In addition to all of the activities above, examples of HEET’s community engagement include:

  • HEET gets the word out through email forums, newsletters, Facebook, and numerous other media.
  • HEET and partners host K-12 education events to get kids and families excited about energy.