About the Prize


The winning community’s prize package included:

  • Consulting services by the National Energy and Water Infrastructure Exchange (NEWIE) toward the shared goal of developing a $5 million energy efficiency “dream project” by enabling the community to secure $5 million in financing. Two of the nation’s leading energy efficiency financing experts with NEWIE will provide assistance in project development and contractor selection, and they will work to enable the community to secure the necessary financing to implement the project, subject to any limitations imposed by a state or Federal government entity.
  • To establish a long-lived high-skill energy efficiency workforce in the winning city, The Green Dream Group – one of the nation’s premier building forensics specialists – developed and trained the city’s own home-grown team of 12 energy audit and home improvement experts through its courses and materials.
  • Georgetown University provided tuition for one person to complete a Master of Professional Studies degree, Executive Master of Professional Studies degree or certificate program online at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. Enrollment in an executive degree program elective course at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Consulting time with faculty experts at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
  • To inaugurate the winning city as a beacon to other cities across the country, Allumia provided 250 hours of services in support of the community’s implementation of an energy efficient lighting upgrade.
  • This prize package did not include a cash distribution.

Competition Overview

What if communities across the country came together, in the spirit of friendly competition, to significantly raise the bar on energy efficiency?
That’s where the Georgetown University Energy Prize came in. This multi-year prize was born to develop sustainable energy-saving innovations by tapping the imagination, creativity, and spirit of competition among communities across the country.

Through this competition, communities were challenged to work together with their local governments and utilities in order to develop and implement plans for innovative, replicable, scalable, and continual reductions in the per capita energy consumed by local natural gas and electric utilities.

Fifty semifinalists were selected, and then tasked to demonstrate the initial effectiveness and sustainability of their long-term energy efficiency plans over a two-year period. Communities were judged in part on their ability to:

  • Spur innovative approaches for communities to decrease their per capita energy usage;
  • Highlight best practices for communities working with utilities, businesses, and their local governments to create and implement inventive plans for sustained energy efficiency; and
  • Educate the public and engage students in energy efficiency issues including methods, benefits, and the environmental costs of the full fuel cycle.

A city, town or county did not need to finish first in the Georgetown University Energy Prize in order to win. Each competing community that demonstrated energy savings over previous years is a winner—providing benefits to members of the community not only today, but also for future generations.

Timeline and Prize Stages

PRE-LAUNCH – COMPLETE: July, 2013 – April, 2014Letter of Intent 
STAGE 1 – COMPLETE: April – June, 2014Applications:  Using a template provided by the GUEP, communities submitted basic applications. After a review by the Energy Prize team, all credible applications from eligible communities were accepted as Quarterfinalists and invited to compete in Stage 2 to submit detailed plans.


STAGE 2 – COMPLETE: August – November, 2014Quarterfinalist Energy Efficiency Program Plans: Each community submitted a detailed Plan for their energy-saving program. These were long-term plans, with commitments by residential associations, governments, institutions, or businesses in the community to policies and projects that would yield continual improvement. Energy-saving plans could be a part of a larger pre-existing plan begun by the community, or they could have been new plans implemented specifically to meet the GUEP challenge.


STAGE 3 – COMPLETE: January 2015 – December 2016Semifinalist Performance Competition: The Semifinalists will compete for two years to reduce their utility-supplied energy consumption in a manner that is likely to yield continuing improvements within their own and replication in other communities. For purposes of this prize, community energy consumption measurements are restricted to energy supplied by gas and electric utilities directly to all residential and municipal customers.


STAGE 4 – COMPLETE: January – October, 2017Finalist Selection, Judging and Awards: Finalists were selected based primarily on energy-saving performance during Stage 3. These Finalists were invited to submit Final Reports covering relevant aspects of the community’s plan, performance, and future prospects. The Judging Panel scored the final reports in specific, weighted categories and selected the winners based on a combination of these scores and the Stage 3 energy-saving performance.

The highest-ranking community was awarded first place, with the requirement that the prize benefited the community at large in accordance with the spending proposed in the community’s Stage 2 Program Plan.

Competition Rules & Data Collection Details

To learn more about the rules for competing for the Georgetown University Energy Prize:
Click below for the historic competition guidelines:

To learn more about the data collection requirements each community and utility must meet, read the guidelines above, and visit the new Energy Data Upload center at guep.org/energydata/ for full instructions and templates.

These rules were developed with close input from our advisors over the last two and half years, as well as the communities that expressed interest in competing during the soft-launch feedback.

 GUEP Judges

  • Jim Barrett, executive director, National Energy and Water Trust*
  • Robert M. Groves, provost, Georgetown University
  • Jennifer Layke, global director of the Energy Program, World Resources Institute*
  • Paasha Mahdavi, assistant professor, Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy
  • Brian McCabe, associate professor, Sociology, Georgetown University
  • Clay Nesler, vice president of Global Energy and Sustainability, Johnson Controls**
  • Bill Novelli, professor of the practice and founder, Global Social Enterprise Initiative, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business
  • Christopher Pyke, research officer, U.S. Green Building Council
  • Tim Warren, Richard D. Vorisek professor of chemistry, and co-chair, Georgetown Environment Initiative, Georgetown University

* Recused from evaluating Takoma Park due to ties to the community.
** Recused from evaluating Chula Vista due to ties to the community.