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EPA to Honor Founding Members of New England Carbon Challenge
By David Sims
EOS Science Writer

April 22, 2010

DURHAM, N.H. -- In a ceremony at Faneuil Hall in Boston this afternoon, the New England office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will honor the co-founders of the New England Carbon Challenge with the agency's Environmental Merit Award in recognition of their exceptional work and commitment to the environment in 2009.

Denise Blaha of the University of New Hampshire and Julia Dundorf of Clean Air-Cool Planet will each receive the EPA award in the Individual category for their work in creating the three-year-old New England Carbon Challenge program - a joint initiative of the UNH and Clean Air - Cool Planet that works to educate, inspire and support sustained savings in home energy use. To date, the Carbon Challenge has convinced more than 2,500 households to pledge carbon reductions totaling 18 million pounds of CO2 for a collective savings of $1.9 million.

EPA's Environmental Merit Award is given annually to outstanding environmental advocates who have made significant contributions toward preserving and protecting our natural resources. Today's ceremony falls on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

Says Blaha, a research associate at the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS) Complex Systems Research Center, "Julia and I are indeed honored to receive this award and we do so on behalf of our entire team whose extraordinary talents have enabled us to develop a robust, yet easy-to-use program that helps households in New England reduce their energy costs."

"Through all the complexities of building a cleaner energy future and reducing the household emissions that cause climate change, what Denise and I find so heartening is the passion and willingness of New Englanders to address their own household and community energy consumption in creative ways," added Julia Betjemann Dundorf, manager of community relations at Clean Air-Cool Planet. "Having the privilege of working with these community leaders is truly our greatest honor."

For information on the New England Carbon Challenge visit For more on Clear Air-Cool Planet visit

Photo caption: Denise Blaha (left) and Julia Dundorf, founders of the New Hampshire Carbon Challenge, received Environmental Merit Awards from the New England office of the Environmental Protection Agency. Credit: Kristi Donahue, UNH-EOS.