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Bend Advances in $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize

Jan 20, 2015 -

On January 14th, Bend officially advanced to the Semifinal round of the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national competition that is challenging communities across the U.S. to rethink their energy use. At a press event in Washington, D.C., Bend was announced as one of the 50 local communities who are leading the way on energy efficiency.

“The Energy Prize competition challenges local communities to tap their imagination and work collaboratively to reduce energy consumption”, said Bend Mayor Jim Clinton. “It’s great fit for Bend’s creative, competitive and entrepreneurial spirit, and gives us a unique opportunity to build momentum for a clean, efficient and renewable energy future in Bend. ”

Bend’s local team in the Energy Prize competition is called The Bend Energy Challenge, a collaborative project of The Environmental Center and local utilities, government, schools and private businesses. The Bend Energy Challenge hopes to persuade 5,500 Bend households to reduce their energy use by at least 10%, through a combination of low-cost and do-it-yourself energy saving activities, home retrofits and going solar. They are also working with local government agencies to reduce their energy use by at least 10% at publicly owned and operated facilities throughout Bend.

“Everyone in Bend can and should participate in the Bend Energy Challenge,” said Mike Riley, Executive Director of The Environmental Center. “There are lots of ways each of us can save energy and money, and make our apartments and homes healthier and more comfortable. Businesses can participate too, by developing their own energy savings plan and challenging their employees to do the same.”

Energy efficiency is the world’s most important “fuel” and is a critical zero-emissions resource needed to meet the nation’s growing energy needs. The energy saved through conservation and efficiency has the potential to eclipse the energy generated by any other single fuel source, including coal, oil, gas, biofuels, and solar.

Through the Energy Prize competition, Georgetown University is seeking to identify, study, and advance innovative energy reduction practices, creating the tools for cities and counties across the country to drastically improve their energy efficiency. To win the $5 million prize, participating communities will need to demonstrate their ability to not only reduce energy consumption, but also to sustain it over a two-year period. They will also need to demonstrate that their actions are replicable and scalable in other communities.

“Bend and other communities across the country have told us that the Energy Prize gives them momentum to accelerate their energy efficiency efforts,” said Dr. Francis Slakey, Founder and Executive Director of the Georgetown University Energy Prize. Slakey continued, “These Semifinalist communities are leading the way for other small- and medium-size cities and counties to secure their energy efficient future.”

“The competition looks truly like America,” said Dr. Slakey. “Not only do these communities come from across the map, they represent the nation’s full political, social and economic diversity.  Some are paying the highest prices for energy, some have the ambition to be carbon net-zero, but all communities share the goal of transforming America’s energy future.”

About The Bend Energy Challenge

The Bend Energy Challenge is Bend’s team in the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national, two-year competition among 50 local communities to reduce energy use and win a $5 million prize. The Challenge is a collaborative project of The Environmental Center and local utilities, government, schools and private businesses.  All Bend residents and businesses are encouraged to pledge to reduce their energy use by at least 10%, with the project providing a set of tools, resources and incentives to help reach that goal.

For more information about the Bend Energy Challenge efforts and how to get involved, please visit www.bendenergychallenge.org, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bendenergychallenge or contact Lindsey Hardy at lindsey@envirocenter.org or 541-385-6908 x11.

About Georgetown University Energy Prize

The $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize challenges small- to medium-size towns, cities, and counties to rethink their energy use, and implement creative strategies to increase efficiency. To compete for the Prize, local governments, residents, utilities, and others will need to work together to demonstrate success in sustainably reducing energy consumption over a two-year period. For more information, visit www.guep.org.

To learn more about the Georgetown University Energy Prize and to track the competition’s progress, visit www.guep.org, or follow the Prize on Twitter (@GUEnergyPrize) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/guenergyprize).