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The online Sustainability 2020 QUIZ and curriculum provides an annual, 30-day Home Energy Challenge, and an "impossible" deadline: Year 2020. 

Youth-led, this home energy audit, which occurs annually and helps inform a city's energy planning turns citizens into environmental leaders at home. 

2020 QUIZ includes 21 easy, green actions that challenge students to score up to 250 points in virtual ECO coins. They can trade in coins for free stuff and prizes.

The QUIZ offers a call to action that can quickly scale, community by community, to a global level, and popularizes a sustainable lifestyle with green energy solutions.

The curriculum and online quiz are offered FREE to K12 schools and students. The 2020 QUIZ also links each green action to resources, services, and rebates. Project facilitators can be college students, teachers & community leaders. 

Who pays? Cities interested in the data pay for the program.

Residential DATA collection and analysis will show how much carbon was offset through the sum-total of each individual action taken at home by zip code and by city. The benefit to cities and green businesses is that this real time date provides a clear understand of the real energy needs of local residents. 

Cities will be able to use new DATA-based information from the residential sector to guide policy and decision making. Online, the 2020 QUIZ offers a new way for cities to be "smart,"  to be more sustainable, green and resilient. In addition, our DATA analysis can help improve the efficiency of public services and citizens' quality of life by helping shift public attitudes and behaviors.

Here's the call to action for students: "Take the QUIZ, click on rebates, FREE stuff, & information links to see how you can save money, and make your own house more warm and stylish. When the RACE ends, where will you, your school & your community rank on the list?

Expert advisors include Green Builder David Johnston, Mark Silberg, David Riley, Paul Jerde, and others listed below.

What actions do you propose?

The challenge all cities face in creating policies that fit real needs is to be able to understanding what are the everyday energy needs that their citizens have, at home.

With the Sustainability 2020 QUIZ, cities will be able to collect the right DATA in real time. They can then make the right policy and planning decisions to guide citizen actions and behaviors when they have accurate information.

The quiz offers a friendly competition that fires up the imagination, and engages the energy of a community's youth. When schools & communities join together in this fun, friendly, easy competition, students can learn how to help their parents make money-saving, energy smart choices. Kids also win prizes and free stuff for "doing the right thing."

Where there is a need for help with funding or installing upgrades, K12 students and college age facilitators can be trained to fill out forms requesting help, free installs, trade ins, or even how to apply for low cost loans.

Currently, citizens can request a free home audit. However, experts remind that very few citizens - less than 10% of those who are offered free home audits - actually take any actions to upgrade. 

By contrast, when the person in charge of the home energy audit is the student & their target is the family, everyone wins! Student success is measured in points for energy saved, a more energy smart family home, and in the free stuff and cool prizes they win. 

The Sustainability 2020 QUIZ offers a self-paced, self-guided online home energy audit in the form of a quiz. It was designed with a master team of green energy experts representing more than 300 years of combined GREEN expertise.  

So the BIG benefit here is to use the 2020 QUIZ online challenge - involving K12 schools, organizations, and green churches across the community -  to deliver real time DATA.  Understanding where the barriers and challenges are, would help each City or region decide what policies and programs would bring the biggest benefit, the fastest, to their citizens.

Those cities, like the City of Boulder, through an ALLIANCE of partners interested in the DATA, would pay for the facilitator training, data collection and analysis. The low-cost fee would be based on the number of participants and the service provided.

For example, where I live, the City of Boulder, through its regional sustainability director, could reach out to an alliance of city and county sustainability directors. Other alliance partners might include K12 schools and school districts, their sustainability directors and interested teachers. College and university sustainability directors, and environmental centers could do campus outreach. Graduate and undergraduate students from the schools of Environmental Science, Renewable, Alternative and Solar Energy, Environmental Engineering and Environmental Design and other interested students would be included. 

Other Alliance partners could include green businesses, green organizations, service organizations such as PTA, PTO, Rotary clubs, and green churches.

The goal would be to engage their interest in supporting an annual Residential Energy Challenge that would take place over one month of each year. Prior to the Residential Energy Challenge, K-12 students could be provided with in-school curriculum, taught by teachers, college students, or community leaders. Facilitator training is offered free, or as continuing education credit for teachers. is designed to adapt to all K-12 grade levels. The curriculum includes the introduction to each action, an activity, a discussion, links to online content, and the ONLINE quiz. It has been designed to adapt, or scale, to fit most K-12 classroom needs. We encourage localization of the curriculum, to fit local customs, cultures, and language needs of the participants.

The City partnership might involve sharing the aggregated data, marketing, community outreach, policy and decision-making on how to use this youth-led, online program to help shift public attitudes and behaviors of youth and their families at home.

Project History: Alexia Parks developed the Sustainability 2020 Residential Energy Challenge in 2015 with a team of experts and paid staff.

SIGNS of SUCCESS: Last September 2015, Alexia Parks and two members of her volunteer team met with representatives from the City of Boulder and Boulder Valley School District (BVSD). The City's regional sustainability director Jonathan Koehn agreed to fund our first online Residential Energy Challenge for February 2016. They agreed to pay $10,000 for the data.

BVSD's sustainability director agreed to include the Sustainability 2020 QUIZ in their planned February 2016 Energy Challenge. However, it was put on hold at the last minute, due to a prior commitment by the BVSD science team to focus on energy use at each of their 56 school buildings instead of home energy use.

Other signs of success: October 2015, the Sustainability 2020 QUIZ was adopted as a project by the Boulder Rotary Club's Preserve Planet Earth committee. A print version of the 2020 QUIZ was tested and approved by the OJAI-West Rotary Club, of Ojai, CA, March 2015. 

David Riley, co-director and founder of the PENN State National Environmental Leadership Corp offered valuable time and insights to the development of this project. Mark Silberg, co-founder of, now at RMI, connected online at We then met in person in Boulder. Mark linked us to their fast rising program.

Environmental Expertise of Alexia Parks & TEAM: In 1978-1979 Alexia Parks served as the Energy Conservation Director in Boulder, Energy Outreach for the Governor's Office (1980) and was hired by the City of Boulder to develop an Energy Futures Conference (1980) which led to the development of Boulder's Green Ordinance (1981). She received Department of Energy (DOE) funding to publish this process. It was distributed by DOE to interested mayors and communities across America and led to the widespread adoption of the Energy Futures Community collaborative design process. She was hired by the City of Des Moines, Iowa, to host the Energy Futures Conference online, on in 2008.

In 2007, Alexia became the first accredited blogger for the United Nations UNFCCC (Bali - 2007)

The online QUIZ and curriculum was developed by Alexia Parks & a team of green volunteers & paid staff. She also volunteered her time for the project, offered online 10 TRAITS Leadership training for facilitators, and paid all out of pocket costs, including the time & expenses of student interns hired from the University of Colorado - Boulder.

Gaining momentum, the project also gained the interest of Mark Silberg, co-founder of and now at, Mark asked that this program be incorporated into the training manual for the involvement of college students and Fellows engaged in this national program who have an interest in learning how to facilitate the Sustainability 2020 Residential Energy Challenge.

Social Impact Entrepreneur (1980-Present): and Science Journalist: Energy Hotline, 1979 - 1981 As an expert and critic of nuclear power (see Best Censored stories of 1977), Alexia Parks was funded by the RAND Corporation to represent public opinion at small group meetings in Washington DC on risk issues related to nuclear energy. Her work and research was praised by Denis Hayes and Lester Brown, of the Worldwatch Institute, Dennis Meadows, Amory Lovins (RMI), and John Deutch, then Deputy Director at DOE. During the years 1979-1981 - Alexia Parks also wrote on energy and environmental topics for the National Desk of the Washington Post - National Desk Editor and Nine Nations author, Joel Garreau.

The Sustainability 2020 QUIZ and Curriculum Team: This project was developed in 2015. Alexia Parks served as project leader. Parks worked in collaboration with a high-level team of volunteers that included green architects, green builders, green leaders from the Boulder community, and paid interns from CU-Boulder. One of our team members is David Johnston, CEO of What's Working. David is one of the pioneers in the sustainability movement in the U.S. Recently, he received the SAM, the Sustainability Pioneer Award, which is considered the Nobel Prize in the sustainability world.

Team advisor Paul Jerde is the former Director of the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business Deming Center for Entrepreneurship.

To create a project that could scale nationwide, we also drew upon the skills and talents of green experts and advisors from Colorado, including Martin Ogle, social media's Patrick O'Neil, business advisor Jeffrey Curran, Stanford University (2014) inventor and social impact entrepreneur Daniel Haarburger.

Green experts from California included Dave Intner, architect Marc Whitman, and green builder Reggie Woods.

On sabbatical in Boulder, Colorado during the summer of 2015, David Riley, program co-director and founder of the PENN State National Environmental Leader Corps, and his wife Lisa Riley Brown, program co-director and engineer who ran a NASA funded science and education program for K12 in Pennsylvania also joined our advisory board as green experts.

University of Colorado-Boulder (CU) paid interns included: (1) Courtlyn Carpenter, CU Engineering Student, President's Leadership Class, Environmental Engineers Leader, who was in charge of curriculum development; (2) Paul Salminen, an Astrophysics and Computer Science (CS) student who developed the 2020 QUIZ form using React JS;  And (3) Sean O'Donnell, a CU Environmental Sciences graduate, who served as curator for links to resources.

When K12 school districts adopt this program - similar to popular school-based newspaper drives that were held in every community during World War II in the 1940's - everyone in the community wins. 

Together, this collaborative, cooperative effort could reach into every sector in the community and create a sense of community-ownership.

According to a report titled "Smart Cities of The Future" in August 10, 2015 issue of The "Federal and local governments around the world are expected to spend $475.5 billion on technology products and services by 2019." Their goal is to "improve how efficiently and effectively cities are managed..., to make better decisions, drive smart growth and benefit society as a whole."

Designed to be introduced through K12 schools and facilitated by college students, our free, self-paced, online Residential Energy Challenge offers schools and interested residents a new, timely, environmental leadership opportunity. 

It also offers cities interested in lowering their carbon footprint new DATA-based information from the residential sector. The information collected and analyzed through our online QUIZ shows school districts and cities how much carbon was offset through the sum-total of each individual home-based energy saving action, per school and community-wide.

The Sustainability 2020 Residential Energy Challenge engages K12 students through a friendly competition that applies game theory to a fun, easy-to-use online QUIZ.  Students receive free handouts for participating, cool green prizes for achieving specific goals, and the chance to help their school win a first, second, or third prize based on the aggregated,sum-total of energy savings they achieve at home in one month.

The Sustainability 2020 Residential Energy Challenge, informed by a network of experts and staff, works with cities and school districts to help turn energy smart ideas into energy saving actions that can help improve the efficiency of public services, innovative green businesses, and citizens’ quality of life.  

In conclusion: K12 students who take part in this at home online QUIZ help their family understand their at home energy use, how to take energy-saving actions, and then measure the results. They can also be acknowledged as environmental leaders at school and in their community.




Who will take these actions?

Cities, Colleges, Universities, K-12 schools, school districts, Business, Green Organizations, Rotary Clubs, PTA, PTO, parent teacher organizations, Latina Environmental Leaders, Green Churches, youth organizations, and more.

Question:  “How will Sustainability 2020 "build connectivity and community engagement?

Answer: Our outreach will be to private & public schools, school districts, PTO/PTA, Rotary Clubs, Chamber of Commerce, universities and colleges, as well as green organizations. Colorado's largest Rotary Club: Boulder Rotary, through its Preserve Planet Earth, has asked to participate. In addition: Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) Sustainability Director Ghita Carroll participated in a Fall 2015 meeting that I organized that included the City of Boulder’s Jonathan Koehn. He offered to fund it. She expressed interest in launching our 30-day program through BVSD in  2016. She received a print copy of our materials (including quiz and curriculum) at that meeting. Superintendent Bruce Messenger, Board Members, and others are also aware of this pending opportunity. I personally sent similar information by email, at the request a member of the BVSD school board to send more information about the program. Due to the urgent need for #climate solutions, Sustainability 2020 is available both online and in print. The 2020 QUIZ will be bi-lingual; the program, designed to rapidly scale.

Question: ”Will residential data compel communities to adopt this program?"

Answer: Yes, because one key goal is to help guide citizen behavior. This program provides community-wide engagement at the *individual* level because it turns students into environmental leaders & change agents. It also provides utility specific data tied to individual home energy use and level of need. Armed with accurate data, community leaders will be able to make bulk purchases of energy saving products, services, and technology and offer these discounted, low cost or free, to homes as needed.

What are the key challenges?

Today, the biggest challenges are distractions, lack of focus, and lack of a sense of urgency. City staff have many competing demands for their time and attention. So, city leaders need to make it a priority. 

Because it is offered free to schools, cost is not the barrier. The problem is the disruptive force of change. Like the corporate world, the bigger the school district, the more resistant it may be to change.

One major obstacle may be a school district. More flexible private & religious schools can be early adoptors. One action is to set a tight deadline, offer prizes, free stuff, and find school champions in-house.

I know this from personal experience. In 1979, as a volunteer, I created an environmental learning program for all 24 schools in the BVSD district. After two successful years, the teachers wrote grants, took it over, and ran it themselves for almost 20-years. In 1980, the City of Boulder funded me to develop an Energy Futures Conference. I used a ONE-YEAR deadline for change. DOE/SERI hired me to turn it into a training guide for all cities. The result: Boulder created the first GREEN building ordinance in 1981. The City of Des Moines hired me to run an online version, in 2008.

With the 2020 QUIZ, we overcome the "not invented here" challenge by making the 2020 QUIZ a stand-alone program, and online.The 24-page K-12 curriculum is optional.

Finding facilitators is easy. College students, and individual teachers have expressed a strong interest in the free training.

Another way to overcome a "not invented here" mindset is to invite smaller school districts to lead the way. The need to help local residents make necessary changes may be greater in smaller communities. Or we could expand target market, schools. Perhaps it is schools AND green churches and organizations such as Rotary, PTA, PTO, and other organizations that engage with youth.

Our experience shows that students welcome a challenge and the prizes that are offered as a reward for right action.

What are the key benefits?

Worldwide, $475.5 billion dollars is earmarked for spending by 2019 on ways to identify citizen energy related needs, and help guide them toward more pro-active, energy efficient behavior. 

When students understand their key role as environmental leaders at home, they realize that each home-based action is helping their family, their community and all life on Earth. It also boosts their own SELF esteem. 

We all feel good when we do the right thing. We feel great when we get rewarded or recognized as a leader. Youth, as leaders, know they are making an important contribution to help protect nature, the environment, the planet. At the same time, their actions help stimulate the local economy. Why?

Studies show that most of the decisions about products and services used at home are made by Mom. Up to 80%. When Mom or Dad make the right decision, guided by their children, everyone benefits. Enjoying a warmer home in winter is one benefit. Lowering energy bills so they can spend that money on other things the family needs, is another. And if their actions lead to FREE stuff that gives them pleasure, or benefits their family - a rooftop solar system, or a new furnace, for example - they will win the praise from their family. This boost their sense of self, sense of well-being, and indirectly can help boost school grades and goal setting. 

When money is spent on improving the energy efficiency of our homes, the ripple effect is into the community, the local economy and the workplace. When they stand out in their neighborhood - a GREEN star decal on a front window, for example - they learn to lead by example. They also become a local expert and able to advise their neighbors and co-workers on what actions they took that gave them the biggest or best value.

The 2020 QUIZ and curriculum helps build a local, resilient community. And just like an ecology, it takes MILLIONS of small actions, taken incrementally over time, for real change to happen. 

We help make real change happen!



What are the proposal’s costs?

Online, the project is offered FREE to participating schools and green churches. The facilitator training is online and offered for free. The economic cost for DATA collection, analysis, and the level(s) of rewards and prizes is determined by the number of students or youth participating in the program.

Those interested in the DATA pick up this cost.

It has been my experience that cities would be eager to have access to this data. Although they currently are engaged in professional home energy audits, or home audits conducted by trained facilitators, the end result, experts remind, is a VERY low transfer of information to action. Student engagement changes this dynamic. It is their actions which drive the success of the program, in their own home. 

The final prize, for example, worth 65-points is a solar powered phone charger. This prize is given when their parents agree to input their utility information - gas and electricity - along with their utility bill number directly into the Google form. When we have reached this level of public trust, it will become easy for cities like Boulder to make the right choices about products, services and actions needed to help local citizens make smart, energy efficient, resource saving choices.

If the goal is to keep fossil fuels like coal in the ground, change has to happen from the ground up. The 2020 QUIZ offers a starting point.


Time line

Because the program has already been developed, tested, includes curriculum & received strong interest from a variety of interested parties including the City of Boulder's Sustainability Director, the program outreach to develop partnerships can begin immediately.

Task #1: Meet with one or more city, county, educational leaders to establish an interest in the DATA and an agreed upon fee. The data will be collected, analyzed, and delivered online to the funding partner(s).

Task #2: Over 3-6 months develop a relationship with interested schools (public/private) & the school district. The partnership includes free facilitator training. Select a date/month for the 30-Day challenge. 

Task #3: Over the same 3-6 month time period, develop a network of interested facilitators from an alliance of city, county, college, K-12, and community members. Sign up online for FREE facilitator training. This represents an Environmental & Civic Leadership opportunity that may include class credit.

Task #4: Select a training venue, send out an invitation to participate, & conduct a free facilitator training.

Task #5: Documentation and evaluation. The Sustainability 2020 pilot program will be used to showcase the ease of use and scalability of the online program and to develop a community network.

The Sustainability 2020 QUIZ, curriculum, and facilitator training is online and available for immediate use. It is designed to scale, and be multi-lingual.

This is planned multi-year Residential Energy Challenge to enable wide-scale school and community engagement. It can be scaled to continue on an annual basis as long as needed, in order to guide community energy resilience, planning and policy. Year-2020 is included in the title of the program to add a sense of *urgency.* It can also be a 10-20 year program.

It is also designed to be easily translated into any language desired, with actions that can be shaped to match local customs and cultural needs.

Online, it can scale to a global level overnight. 


Related proposals

National campaign in India aimed to create a network of young Energy Ambassadors


Sustainable World Sourcebook - The Essential Guide for the Concerned Citizen - will provide a background resource for educators and facilitators.

Sustainable World Sourcebook is a recommended resource books for Sustainability 2020 facilitators, students, and educators.