About the Prize

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 comes in. This multi-year prize was born of a mission to tap the imagination, creativity, and spirit of competition between communities across the country to develop sustainable energy-saving innovations.

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

The 50 Semifinalists have developed long-term energy efficiency plans, and are now demonstrating the initial effectiveness and sustainability of their plans over a two-year period. Communities will be 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 need not finish first in the Georgetown University Energy Prize in order to win. Every competing community that demonstrates energy savings over previous years will be winners—providing benefits to members of the community not only today, but for future generations as well.

Prize Purse

The winning community will be provided with:

  • Direct support from the National Energy and Water Infrastructure Exchange (NEWIE) toward the shared goal of developing an energy efficiency “dream project” by securing $5 million in financing.
  • Consulting services from Allumia to assist the winning community in the development of analysis of energy efficiency or renewable energy programs related to lighting.
  • Training and related materials from the Building Performance Workshop to assist the winning community in improving residential energy efficiency.
  • 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.
  • Communications support including national press release distribution, communications templates and social media graphics to promote the winning community.
  • National promotion at conferences, workshops, and in media channels to highlight successful GUEP finalist approaches to a broad audience of city and county leaders in the more than 6,000 similar communities that can adopt these strategies to energy saving.
  • This prize package does not include a cash distribution.

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 submited 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 by submitting 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 that the community has begun, or they could have been new plans that were implemented specifically to meet the GUEP challenge.


STAGE 3 – COMPLETE: January 2015 – December 2016Semifinalist Performance Competition: the Semifinalists will compete for 2 years to reduce their utility-supplied energy consumption in a manner that is likely to yield continuing improvements within their own community 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: January – September, 2017Finalist Selection, Judging and Awards: Finalists will be selected based primarily on energy-saving performance during Stage 3.  These Finalists will be invited to submit Final Reports covering relevant aspects of the community’s plan, performance, and future prospects.  The Judging Panel will score the final reports in specific, weighted categories and select the winners based on a combination of these scores and the Stage 3 energy-saving performance.

The highest-ranking community will be awarded first place, with the requirement that the prize benefit the community at large in accordance with 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:

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 2.5 years, as well as the communities that expressed interest in competing during the soft-launch feedback.