10 Communities Advance to Final Round and Six More Earn Special Recognition in National Competition for Energy Savings


Georgetown University Energy Prize

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10 Communities Advance to Final Round and Six More Earn Special Recognition in National Competition for Energy Savings

Georgetown University Energy Prize recognizes top performing communities for increasing energy efficiency, reducing municipal and household energy budgets


WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 21, 2017) – After competing for nearly three years, 10 communities have advanced to the final round of the Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP), a national competition to rethink the way America’s small- to medium-sized towns, cities, and counties use energy.

The Energy Prize also announced six other communities that are being recognized for their efforts in not only reducing energy consumption, but developing innovative replicable, scalable programs that will lead the way for thousands of other cities and counties working to save energy, reduce their budgets and thrive in the 21st century. These sixteen communities are among the highest performing communities in the nationwide, multi-year competition based on total energy savings per household.

In December, a panel of judges representing academia and industry will evaluate each finalist community’s approach to innovative, replicable, scalable energy efficiency programs and will select a winning community based on a combination of energy performance scores and the advancement of new best practices over the course of the two-year energy-saving period.  The final stage of the Energy Prize will be led by Uwe Brandes, faculty director of the master’s program in Urban and Regional Planning at Georgetown.

These communities are at forefront of a nationwide competition to bring together communities with a shared goal of reducing energy consumption,” Brandes said. “Our ten finalists have achieved impressive energy savings and reduced municipal and household energy budgets. They serve as models for other communities across our country and have offered innovative energy-saving strategies that can be replicated and scaled.”

Since 2014, 50 cities and counties across the U.S. have worked to reduce their energy consumption. At the end of 2016, these communities had collectively saved 11.5 trillion BTUs of energy, reducing their carbon emissions by an estimated 2.76 million metric tons—the equivalent of taking one car off the road for every 30 minutes of the competition—and saving nearly $100 million from municipal and household energy budgets.

To reduce their energy consumption, the communities:

  • implemented bold new local policies on energy-transparency, energy-savings, and clean energy technology;
  • conducted deep data-mining of their energy use and community infrastructure;
  • focused on increasing energy efficiency in neighborhoods with high energy use in all income brackets;
  • created novel financing mechanisms to enable their residents to invest in new energy upgrades; and
  • used radically unique approaches to support behavior change, including gamification and the latest methods in social science research to help their communities rethink how they use energy.

“This is a national effort, so participants were encouraged to find solutions that were likely to yield continuing improvements within their own communities and also inspire replication in other communities,” said Brandes, who prior to joining Georgetown was Senior Vice President of the Urban Land Institute. “Everyone should be commended for their tremendous efforts and creative contributions to reduce energy consumption and innovate new best practices.”

The following 10 communities (appearing in alphabetical order) are advancing to the final phase of the Georgetown University Energy Prize:

  • Bellevue, Washington
  • Bellingham, Washington
  • Berkeley, California
  • Chula Vista, California
  • Fargo, North Dakota
  • Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Oberlin, Ohio
  • Montpelier, Vermont
  • Takoma Park, Maryland
  • Walla Walla, Washington

The following six communities (appearing in alphabetical order), are being given special recognition for their outstanding efforts during the competition:

  • Bend, Oregon
  • Columbia, Missouri
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Palo Alto, California
  • Sunnyvale, California
  • Urbana, Illinois

In December, the Energy Prize Judging Panel will review final reports about each finalist’s energy-saving plan, performance, and future prospects. The final reports, submitted by the communities in November, will be scored in weighted categories, including innovation; potential for replication; likely future performance; equitable access, community and stakeholder engagement; education; overall quality and success; and previous performance in the competition.The Energy Prize Judging Panel will select a winning community  based on the combination of these scores and the results of the two-year energy-saving period. The winning community will be recognized in December and provided with a prize package that includes support toward $5 million in financing for an energy efficiency dream project, as well as workshops and education opportunities for the winning community.

About Georgetown University Energy Prize

The Georgetown University Energy Prize aims to rethink America’s energy use by harnessing the ingenuity and community spirit of towns and cities all across America. From 2013 - 2017, the Prize has challenged small- to medium-sized towns, cities, and counties to rethink their energy use, and implement creative strategies to increase efficiency. Throughout the competition, local governments, residents, utilities, and other community leaders worked together to demonstrate success in sustainably reducing energy consumption. For more information, visit www.guep.org.