FORT COLLINS — Fort Collins ranks fifth in the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition after residents reduced overall energy use 5.4 percent — enough to power 9,800 homes for one year, Georgetown University announced Tuesday.
The community now advances with nine other cities to the final round of the national contest, which challenged small- and medium-sized cities and counties to reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency in 2015 and 2016. A winner will be named in December.
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Fort Collins is the only Colorado city to advance to the final round out of the 50 communities that originally competed for the $5 million prize package. Brighton and Aspen had also entered the contest.
“The City of Fort Collins is honored that Georgetown University lists us among the most efficient communities in the country,” said Mayor Wade Troxell in a prepared statement. “Cities can lead by example the scaling up of real solutions that make an impact both locally and globally. It makes financial, social and environmental sense for us to increase our energy efficiency and integrate our energy resources for a more resilient community.”
City manager Darin Atteberry said the city’s efforts are part of an overall attempt to reduce greenhouse gases. “Our mission … includes a commitment to making the most efficient, sustainable choices possible.”
The city of Fort Collins named its two-year energy reduction campaign “Lose-A-Watt.” The community saved more than 160 billion BTUs of energy and reduced carbon emissions by 34,436 metric tons. The contest targeted electricity and natural gas use by residential and municipal and K-12 sectors.
Also advancing in the final round of the competition: Bellevue, Bellingham and Walla Walla, Wash.; Berkeley and Chula Vista, Calif.; Fargo, N.D.; Oberlin, Ohio; Montpelier, Vt.; and Takoma Park, Md.
In December, a panel of judges representing academia and industry will pick a winner based on energy performance and innovative practices over the two-year period.
“This is a national effort, so participants were encouraged to find solutions that were likely to yield continuing improvements within their own communities and also inspire replication in other communities,” said Energy Prize executive director Uwe Brandes, who is formerly senior vice president of the Urban Land Institute. “Fort Collins should be commended for its tremendous efforts and creative contributions to reduce energy consumption and innovate new best practices.”