Lose-A-Watt Energy Prize Competition and Fort Collins

What is the Lose a Watt Energy Prize Competition?
Georgetown University is hosting a multi -year, $5 million prize competition to inspire communities across the nation to achieve energy efficiency gains through innovation and community engagement. This 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 to develop and begin implementing plans to help reduce community energy use. Georgetown University will then use the learning from successful programs to help other communities. Designing programs that can be implemented and scaled to match the needs of diverse groups of the nation’s communities is key in the competition. This prize competition offers a unique opportunity to try innovative approaches, leverage our great energy efficiency programs and empower our community to be a part of winning the prize. For more information about Georgetown University’s role in this competition and the participating communities, go to www.guep.org.

How can I help or get more involved?
Three actions you can take today include:

  1. Go to www.lose-a-watt.com to get energy saving tips, register for updates and find information about the competition. Tell your friends and neighbors!
  2. Register for Monitor My Use, a free online tool to manage your electric use.
  3. Sign up for a free energy assessment through Larimer County (limited time offer, good until May 2015), www.larimerworkforce.org/energy

In the coming weeks, the Lose-A-Watt Energy Prize webpage will help Fort Collins residents learn how they can:

  • Implement easy but meaningful behavioral changes to use less energy, while maintaining and improving our quality of life
  • Participate in efficiency and rebate programs to help pay for upgrades to building and insulation, lighting, heating and cooling, refrigeration, and more
  • Consider installation and use of renewable energy systems such as solar/PV panels
  • Compete with neighbors, co-workers, and with your kids to win great prizes!

Why is Fort Collins competing?
Fort Collins has always loved a challenge, especially when it comes to paving the way to a better future. Competing for $5 million by reducing our energy use through efficiency aligns very well with many of our community’s goals and benefits our citizens. Advancing energy efficiency practices helps our community save money, reduce overall energy use and demand on the generation system and live in more comfortable homes. Based on our innovative spirit, resources and community culture, Fort Collins is well positioned to win the $5 million prize!

How will competition be judged? How can Fort Collins win?
To reach the finalist round, Fort Collins will have to be one of the top performing communities for energy use reduction. The metric for the competition will be overall electricity and natural gas use for 2015 and 2016 for the residential, municipal and education (K-12) sectors, based on 2013-2014 baseline years.

To win the prize, we will have to prove that we not only reduced energy use, but were able to engage the community through practices that other communities can use successfully (replicable, scalable.) Successful practices also must provide continual reduction. This will be best accomplished through combining energy efficiency upgrades with energy conservation practices--we can’t win by just turning the lights off! See “How can I get more involved” below for more information about how you can help Fort Collins win.

What will Fort Collins do with the $5 million if we win?
Competition rules require that the $5 million be used for community benefit. Prize money would be used to promote and implement continued energy efficiency measures in a way that benefits the community as a whole, including all demographic and economic sectors. The Fort Collins community will have opportunities to participate in determining how the money will be spent.

FortZED is mentioned on the website and other materials. What is FortZED and what is the connection to the competition?
FortZED is a community-based initiative that is a collaboration of the City of Fort Collins, Colorado State University and the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster. FortZED began in 2008, initially formed through UniverCity Connections, to develop a zero-energy district in Fort Collins. It has since grown to be a city-wide effort to pioneer energy solutions to help meet our community’s economic and environmental goals. Having its roots in community engagement, the energy prize competition is well suited as a FortZED project. FortZED objectives focus on promoting energy efficiency, innovation and replicable approaches that can be scaled in communities around the world. For more information about FortZED, its other projects, as well as ways to be involved in this pioneering effort, go to www.fortzed.com.