Are you REALLY CURIOUS about the inner workings of the competition? If so, click the image above to read the 29 page guidebook provided by the Georgetown University Energy Prize team.

Basic Rules of the Competition

  • U.S. communities with a population between 5,000 and 250,000 are eligible to compete.
  • The competition will compare electricity and natural gas use during 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 to see how much a community reduces their use.
  • Energy use will be “weather normalized” which means that Duluth doesn’t have an advantage because of the harsh baseline years (in fact, because people were more likely to change their behavior during long harsh winters, we have extra work to do!).
  • The competition looks at the energy use of all households in aggregate by collecting the “residential energy use” number from local utilities.
  • The energy used by the City of Duluth in their municipal operations (buildings, street lighting, water pumping, etc.), k-12 schools, and public housing are also included in the competition.
  • Businesses are not included in the energy number because it would be difficult to account for energy variances due to economic changes in a community. However, the level that businesses get involved in supporting the competition is one of the final judging criteria.
  • 10 of the 50 communities will be named finalists in 2017. Those communities will submit a final report that shows how they not only saved money (25% of final criteria), but how their actions are innovative, replicable, scalable, and likely to continue (75% of the final judging).
    • This means that the quality of our approach to energy reductions is as important as the quantity. So certain strategies like just turning our lights off for two years or strategically moving residents to our competitors communities to use more energy are out!
  • The “big hairy metric” that will be used will look at energy use per utility account. This means that continuing community efforts to switch from fuel oil for heat to natural gas will not hurt us in the competition. In fact, replacing an outdated fuel oil furnace will probably help our overall number and saves an average of $1,300 per year for each household completing this action.
  • Although the competition focuses mainly on energy efficiency, when there is local generation of electricity (i.e. rooftop solar), less electricity is purchased from the utility. This helps with the “big hairy metric.”
  • Special recognition will be awarded to communities that solve some of the more difficult energy efficiency problems like making improvements to historic homes, helping close the efficiency gap in low-income households, and figuring out how to effectively help renters and landlords.


Coming Up

Finalist Selection & Prize Awarded

January – June 2017

Semifinalist Performance Competition

January 2015-December 2016


January 14, 2015

To kick off Duluth’s energy savings the Dash-to-the-Cash 50 day challenge is introduced. Join Team Duluth in making free and low-cost improvements to save 5% or more on your energy bills.

Competition To Date


January 14, 2015

Duluth is one of fifty communities named semifinalists and begins competing to reduce electricity and natural gas use in homes and the community. According to City Council Vice President Jen Julsrud:

“To be successful in this competition we need to get off to a fast start. The competition will run for two years, but we are asking residents to get involved in an initial Dash-to-the-Cash.”

Duluth Submits Community Energy Plan

November 17, 2014

With cooperation from local government officials, utilities, nonprofit organizations, and schools, a Community Energy Plan outlining Duluth’s strategy for energy reductions is submitted to the Georgetown University Energy Prize. This plan included citizen input sessions. It is the final step to advance from the quarterfinals to the semifinals.

Duluth Named a Quarterfinalist

August 15, 2014

Based on the strength of Duluth’s application and partnerships, Duluth is named a Georgetown University Energy Prize quarterfinalist. In order to advance to the competition round, Duluth must submit a Community Energy Plan in November.

Duluth Submits Formal Application for Georgetown University Energy Prize

June 30, 2014

In order to compete in the Georgetown University Energy Prize Competition each community must field a team representing the municipal government, schools, utilities, community organizations, and housing authorities. Each must agree to participate in the competition and utilities must agree to aggregate community energy data so a comparison can be made between 2014-2014 and 2015-2016. The Mayor declares that if Duluth wins the energy prize it will be put into a Duluth Energy Trust to advance efficiency and energy development in Duluth.

Duluth Representatives Attend Earth Day Launch of the Competition

April 22, 2014 – Earth Day!


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(Left) City Councilor Jen Julsrud at White House meeting with the Office of Grand Challenges. (Center) Councilor Julsrud and community representatives Bret Pence and Jodi Slick join other communities in planning for the competition. (Right) Georgetown University- host to the Energy Prize competition.

Duluth is 1st community to submit Letter of Intent!

August 2013

After consultation with City officials, Ecolibrium3 CEO Jodi Slick submits a Letter of Intent to participate in the competition. It is the first in the nation.


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