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Charlottesville Selected as a Semifinalist in the of the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  JANUARY 14, 2015

Charlottesville among elite communities across the nation leading the way on energy efficiency

Charlottesville, VA – January 14, 2015 – Today, Charlottesville officially advances to the Semifinal round of the Georgetown University Energy Prize (www.guep.org), a national competition that is challenging communities across the U.S. to rethink their energy use. At a press event in Washington, D.C. today, Charlottesville was announced as one of the 50 communities who are leading the way on energy efficiency.

Engerize!Charlottesville is the local community campaign to win the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition. Charlottesville aims to represent our local community values and reflect our unique and vibrant community. Charlottesville has a long history of strong environmental stewardship with a focus on energy and climate issues since  2006. The large network of Charlottesville-based non-profits and community-focused organizations is already showing to be a key local advantage. While Energize!Charlottesville is being coordinated by the City of Charlottesville, the campaign includes over 25 local community partners who have pledged commitments to success and several community-driven initiatives are in development. A full list of partners can be found at energizecharlottesville.org and other interested organizations are encouraged join as well.

The competition is judged based on residential and municipal energy use over a two year period. Through it, the City will continue to pursue its successful energy practices and see more savings. From 2000-2011, the City reduced the energy use of its buildings by 29.5% through actions available to all building managers. These energy savings equated to over $840,000 in avoided 2011 utility bill costs. Through the GU Energy Prize competition, residents can begin help save energy today as well. Easy ways are to:

–       Pick one energy saving action to integrate into your household each month (for example, try turning the heat down by 1 or 2 degrees and programming the thermostat to reduce the temperature when you are not home), and

–       Identify the most practical and affordable energy improvements that can be made to your home by getting a LEAP Home Energy Check Up.

–       Look for the Energize!Charlottesville logo and participate in supporting programs or actions over the coming months.

“Charlottesville, as well as mayors and executives across the county, have told us that this Prize gives them the momentum to accelerate their energy efficiency efforts,” said Dr. Francis Slakey, Founder and Executive Director of the Georgetown University Energy Prize. Slakey continued, “these Semifinalist communities are leading the way for other small- and medium-size cities and counties to secure their energy efficient future.”

“LEAP is fortunate to be headquartered in Virginia’s leading community for energy efficiency programs. We look forward to working closely with the City in the GUEP contest and helping its residents reap the health, comfort, and bill savings that come through energy conservation and home energy improvements,” said Cynthia Adams, LEAP’s Executive Director.

Charlottesville joins 3 communities from Virginia in this friendly competition to improve energy efficiency for all. Participation in this competition supports the local City Council 2025 Vision, the 2013 Comprehensive Plan, and the 2014 Virginia Energy Plan.

“The competition looks truly like America,” said Dr. Slakey, “not only do these communities come from across the map, they come from across the political spectrum, represent all socioeconomic strata, and include demographically diverse populations.  Some are paying the highest prices for energy, some have the ambition to be carbon net-zero, but all communities share the goal of transforming America’s energy future.”

Charlottesville organizations that submitted letters of commitment to support and participate in Energize!Charlottesville efforts include:

350.org Central Virginia Chapter

Albemarle Housing Improvement Program

Better World Betty

Charlottesville City Schools

Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce

Charlottesville Works Initiative

Computers4Kids

Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority

Charlottesville Eco Village

Charlottesville Green Grannies

Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP)

Piedmont Environmental Council

Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club

Piedmont Housing Alliance

Rivanna Conservation Society

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church Unitarian Universalist

Transition Charlottesville

U.Va. Office of the President

U.Va. Office for Sustainability

U.Va. Student Council

U.Va. Student Council Sustainability Committee

U.Va. Sustainability Partners

UVA Community Credit Union

Virginia Organizing

Woodard Properties

Community organizations interested in helping to develop initiatives or involve their membership are encouraged to contact energy@charlottesville.org.

The Competition

Semifinalist communities will compete during 2015-2016 to reduce the amount of energy they use as compared to 2013-2014.  Communities are judged on residential and municipal sector use of electricity and natural gas. Data will be provided in aggregate from Dominion Power and Charlottesville Gas. Georgetown will normalize the energy data by the number of residential accounts in the community and will make adjustments for weather.

Over 8,000 communities across the nation were eligible to apply to compete. 50 have advanced to the semifinals. 10 communities are expected to be considered as finalists in 2017 and judged qualitatively on their community’s programs.

The grand prize is $5 million. Use of the grand prize is to be determined by the community but must be used to reward the community as a whole and to continue its energy saving efforts. No other cash prizes are listed at this time. Full competition guidelines and rules can be found at guep.org.

Competitors

The following 50 communities have been selected to advance to the Quarterfinalist phase of the Georgetown University Energy Prize:

  • Fairbanks, AK
  • Huntsville, AL
  • Calhoun County, AR
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Chula Vista, CA
  • Claremont, CA
  • Davis, CA
  • Fremont, CA
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • San Mateo, CA
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Aspen, CO
  • Brighton, CO
  • Fort Collins, CO
  • Winter Park, FL
  • Dubuque, IA
  • Urbana, IL
  • Monroe County, IN
  • Cambridge, MA
  • Takoma Park, MD
  • Farmington Hills and Farmington, MI
  • Holland, MI
  • Houghton County, MI
  • Duluth, MN
  • Bates County, MO

 

  • Columbia, MO
  • Fargo, ND
  • Atlantic City, NJ
  • Athens County, OH
  • Oberlin, OH
  • Bend, OR
  • Corvallis, OR
  • Providence, RI
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Kearns Township, UT
  • Park City/Summit County, UT
  • Arlington County, VA
  • Blacksburg, VA
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Montpelier, VT
  • South Burlington, VT
  • Waterbury/Duxbury, VT
  • Anacortes, WA
  • Bellevue, WA
  • Bellingham, WA
  • San Juan County, WA
  • Walla Walla, WA
  • Madison, WI
  • Jackson Hole, WY

 

Graphics and Online Media Content

Energize!Charlottesville logo can be downloaded at:  http://www.energizecharlottesville.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/energize-cville-logo-v2_12-300×133.png.  Contact Susan Elliott at energy@charlottesville.org if a higher res version is desired.

The Energize!Charlottesville website is energizecharlottesville.org

A full-page PDF version of the competitors map may be downloaded at: http://www.guep.org/docs/Semifinalist_Map_v8_FINAL_page.pdf

A web-friendly image file of the competitors map can be downloaded at: http://www.guep.org/docs/Semifinalist_Map_v8_web.png

Georgetown will post an online video announcement on their website (guep.org) Wednesday morning.

34 sec announcement video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meLi_galonA&feature=youtu.be

7 min video with some discussion about competition background and examples from local communities:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzYYQGRunQk&feature=youtu.be

 

Contact Information

To learn more about the Georgetown University Energy Prize and to track the competition’s progress, visit www.guep.org, or follow the Prize on Twitter (@GUEnergyPrize) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/guenergyprize). The GUEP press release and semifinalist announcement is available at:  http://guep.org/2015/01/14/millions-of-americans-start-competing-for-a-cleaner-energy-future/

For more information about Charlottesville’s efforts and ways you can get involved, please visit energizecharlottesville.org or contact energy@charlottesville.org or 434-970-3506

About Charlottesville

Charlottesville is a small city of 10.4 square miles with approximately 29,000 households and 43,000 residents. The City became a signatory of the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2006.  Residential energy use increased by 13.5% between  2000-2011, the largest increase by sector community-wide during that time period with the greatest gain being in use of electricity. Approximately 58% of city residents rent.

Included in City Council’s 2025 Vision is A Green City: The City of Charlottesville will be a green city, with clean and healthy air and water, sustainable neighborhoods, ample open space and natural areas that balance increased development and density in residential and economic centers, and walkable, bikeable and transit-supportive land use patterns that encourage healthy lifestyles.

 

The 2013 Comprehensive Plan includes goals to reduce energy demand and increase energy efficiency community-wide, to pursue cleaner sources of electrical energy, and to implement initiatives to achieve emissions reductions.

 

About Georgetown University Energy Prize

The $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize challenges small- to medium-size towns, cities, and counties to rethink their energy use, and implement creative strategies to increase efficiency. To compete for the Prize, local governments, residents, utilities, and others will need to work together to demonstrate success in sustainably reducing energy consumption over a two-year period. For more information, visit www.guep.org.

 

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