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Fargo Named As One of Ten Finalists in National Competition for Energy Savings


Fargo is among ten cities and counties that have advanced to the final round of the Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP), a national competition to rethink the way America’s small-to medium-sized towns, cities and counties use energy. Fargo has already saved over 172 billion BTUs of energy and reduced carbon emissions by 49,719 metric tons.

Today, the Energy Prize announced the ten communities that have advanced to the final round of the competition. Fargo is among the highest performing communities in the nationwide, multi-year competition based on total energy savings per household. In December, a panel of judges representing academia and industry will evaluate each community’s approach to innovative, replicable and scalable energy efficiency programs to select a winning community based on a combination of energy performance scores and the advancement of new best practices over the course of the two-year energy-saving period. Uwe Brandes will lead the final stage of the Energy Prize. Brandes is the faculty director of the master’s program in Urban and Regional Planning at Georgetown.

“Fargo is at the forefront of a nationwide competition to bring together communities with a shared goal of reducing energy consumption,” said Energy Prize executive director Uwe Brandes. “Our ten finalists have achieved impressive energy savings and reduced municipal and household energy budgets. They serve as models for other communities across our country and have offered innovative energy-saving strategies that can be replicated and scaled.”

According to Malini Srivastava (Project Lead, Fargo), “The GUEP and resultant efargo effort has changed our community’s culture regarding awareness, education, engagement and innovation in energy efficiency. Through close partnerships between the municipality, university, utilities, numerous supporters in the business, non-profit sector, entrepreneurial community and the tremendous support of the community at large we have exceeded our energy savings goals. Many of our innovations, such as in social media messaging and gaming, have the ability to be replicated for wider implementation beyond Fargo. The future holds great promise for the efargo partnership, the sustainability of our community and the well-being of active and empowered citizens in achieving the goals that were first outlined in the GO2030 master plan for the city. We are truly on our way to defeating Waste-a-Watt!”

Since 2014, 50 cities and counties across the U.S. have worked to reduce their energy consumption. At the end of 2016, these communities had collectively saved 11.5 trillion BTUs of energy, reducing their carbon emissions by an estimated 2.76 million metric tons—the equivalent of taking one car off the road for every 30 minutes of the competition—and saving nearly $100 million from municipal and household energy budgets.

To reduce their energy consumption, the communities:

  • Implemented bold new local policies on energy-transparency, energy-savings and clean energy technology;
  • Conducted deep data-mining of their energy use and community infrastructure;
  • Focused on increasing energy efficiency in neighborhoods with high energy use in all income brackets;
  • Created novel financing mechanisms to enable their residents to invest in new energy upgrades; and
  • Used radically unique approaches to support behavior change, including gamification and the latest methods in social science research to help their communities rethink how they use energy.

“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 Brandes, who prior to joining Georgetown was Senior Vice President of the Urban Land Institute. “Fargo should be commended for their tremendous efforts and creative contributions to reduce energy consumption and innovate new best practices.”
The following ten communities (appearing in alphabetical order) have been selected to advance to the final phase of the Georgetown University Energy Prize:

  • Bellevue, Washington
  • Bellingham, Washington
  • Berkeley, California
  • Chula Vista, California
  • Fargo, North Dakota
  • Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Oberlin, Ohio
  • Montpelier, Vermont
  • Takoma Park, Maryland
  • Walla Walla, Washington

In December, the Energy Prize Judging Panel will review final reports about each community’s energy-saving plan, performance, and future prospects. The final reports, submitted by the communities in November, will be scored in weighted categories, including innovation; potential for replication; likely future performance; equitable access, community and stakeholder engagement; education; and overall quality and success.

The Energy Prize Judging Panel will select a winning community based on the combination of these scores and the results of the two-year energy-saving period.

The winning community will be recognized in December and provided with a prize package that includes support toward $5 million in financing for an energy efficiency dream project, as well as workshops and education opportunities for the winning community.

About Georgetown University Energy Prize
The Georgetown University Energy Prize aims to rethink America’s energy use by harnessing the ingenuity and community spirit of towns and cities all across America. From 2013 to 2017, the Prize has challenged small-to medium-sized towns, cities, and counties to rethink their energy use, and implement creative strategies to increase efficiency. Throughout the competition, local governments, residents, utilities and other community leaders worked together to demonstrate success in sustainably reducing energy consumption. More information is available at


  • Ranking: 4th out of 10 cities
  • Overall Energy Score: -6.8472
  • Total BTUs saved, normalized for weather and source energy: -172,361,882,500
  • BTUs saved per-household (residential accounts): -8,165,800
  • Estimated metric tons of CO2e saved: -49,719