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$5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize to be awarded in December

Post Date:11/30/2017 1:54 PM

The City of Chula Vista is among 10 cities and counties that 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. Since tracking began in 2014 to compete for the GUEP, Chula Vista has saved almost 622 billion BTUs of energy, and reduced carbon emissions by 20,561 metric tons.

On November 21, the Energy Prize announced the 10 communities that advanced to the final round of competition. Chula Vista is 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 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.

“Chula Vista is at the forefront of a nationwide competition to bring together communities with a shared goal of reducing energy consumption,” said Energy Prize executive director Uwe Brandes. “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.”

“The City of Chula Vista has long been a leader in promoting energy efficiency as part of our efforts to combat climate change, but we know that we have a lot of work to do to meet our long-term climate goals,” said Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. “Participating in the Georgetown University Energy Prize has helped to further engage our residents in reducing energy usage and increasing efficiencies.” 

Working with San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) since 2006 through a Local Government Partnership, the City has been able to incorporate energy efficiency throughout City buildings and activities, including certifying the City Hall building as LEED Gold for Building Operations and Maintenance, as well as educate local residents and businesses to implement energy efficiency and conservation measures. To learn more about the City’s suitability efforts, please visit to access resources, view upcoming events, sign up for a no-cost Home Energy & Water Check-Up, and read the CLEAN newsletter. 

Since 2014, 50 cities and counties across the United States have worked to reduce 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 City of Chula Vista and residents:

  • continued to benchmark and publicly post the energy use of public buildings;
  • ●implemented energy efficiency upgrades such as an indoor LED light pilot study that led to the retrofit of all indoor lighting and the expansion of renewable energy on municipal owned buildings;
  • provided nearly 240 Home Energy & Water Check-Ups at no-cost to residents and were able to help more than 90 percent of these households make an energy saving action;
  • worked with the state and financial institutions to provide new financing options such as Go Green Financing and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE); and
  • worked to bring innovative new marketing approaches to reach residents such as regularly attending farmers markets and incorporating energy efficiency promotion through City recreation centers and public libraries.

“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. “Chula Vista 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) have been selected to advance 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

In December, the Energy Prize Judging Panel will review final reports about each community’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; and overall quality and success. 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.

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