Our Energy

Banner Image (like a logo) for the Our Energy Project
In November 2015, we held an exciting Arts Pitch Night at which artists and artist groups pitched their best idea to use art as a medium to communicate and involve the larger community in the Energize!Charlottesville community campaign to save energy and win the Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP) competition.

The event sought a winning concept to help engage thousands of community members over the final period of the GUEP competition.  Competition judging is based individuals saving energy at home and on community engagement.

The winning concept was pitched by Matthew Slaats who received a $5,000 prize to produce the work.  The project, called Our Energy, will be displayed on electric poles around town. Go check them out!

The Concept

Image showing the "Our Energy" pole design conceptEvery day, we flick a switch to turn on the lights or turn up the dial of our thermostats without realizing the important impact we are making. For every moment a light is left on or an extra degree that a home is heated, we are using more energy. While individually we can work to reduce the amount of electricity and natural gas we use, if we work together as a city and as a community, we can make a huge impact.

Our Energy is an art project to do just that. By turning this power pole into a colorful graph of how much energy we typically use and are using, the entire community can become more aware of how much energy is used every day. In doing so, then we can make important choices about the energy we use.

The Locations

It might surprise you which month shows our highest energy use and that we use 10 times more energy then than we do in our lowest months!  Check out a location near you:

Aerial Map of the Our Energy Pole Locations

  • JPA:    Near the JPA Bridge at the intersection of Jefferson Park Ave, Fontaine Ave, and Maury Ave
  • West Main:   At the intersection of 4th St NW and West Main St, on the south side of West Main
  • Cherry/Ridge:   Next to the path coming diagonally from the neighborhood portion of Ridge St. Near the intersection of  5th St Ext, Cherry Ave, Elliott Ave, and Ridge St
  • Belmont:   In downtown Belmont where Douglas Ave intersects Monticello Rd
  • High Street:   At the intersection of Locust Ave and High St, on the corner where the old Martha Jefferson Hospital building is
  • McIntire:   Near the intersection of Allied St and Harris St, just off of McIntire Rd south of the US-250 bypass
  • Rugby and Rose Hill:  Near the intersection of Rugby Ave and Rose Hill Dr,  on Rubgy Ave

What is Next?

Now that you can see how much energy we used in 2015, we are going to see if we can do better in 2016. In a few months we are going to add a few more stripes of color to show if we did better or worse each month. Over the next year we will continue to do this and work together to reduce our energy consumption.

Image of the Sign

Pole Installation Photos

In the News


Our Energy is a project created by Artist Matthew Slaats in partnership with Energize!Charlottesville and the Piedmont Council for the Arts as a part of a community campaign to Save Energy and Win the $5 Million Georgetown University Energy Prize.