The City of Bellingham joined with 49 other areas nationwide in a competition to see which area could save the most energy in a sustainable, replicable way. After competing to save energy for 2015-16, and participating in a thorough qualitative program evaluation in 2017, Bellingham emerged in third place nationally, tied with the City of Takoma Park, Maryland. (See news release).
A panel of judges representing academia and industry evaluated each community’s approach to energy efficiency, with scoring based on innovation; potential for replication; likely future performance; equitable access; community and stakeholder engagement; education; and overall quality and success.
Thanks goes out to our partners–the Opportunity Council, Sustainable Connections, Western Washington University, Puget Sound Energy, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Cascade Natural Gas, Bellingham Public Schools, City of Bellingham, the Northwest Clean Air Agency–and the entire Bellingham community for rallying behind this effort.
During the competition Bellingham saved almost 50 billion BTUs of energy, and reduced carbon emissions by 11,977 metric tons. Bellingham led with creative and inclusive programming to engage residents broadly and targeted harder-to-reach sectors of the population, including renters and multi-family units. Kilowatt Kitty, Bellingham’s energy efficiency mascot, was used to champion the campaign.
Next steps include working with governments, businesses, and residents of Bellingham to further develop energy efficiency and renewable energy by implementing the recently updated Climate Protection Action Plan.
Accomplishments of the Bellingham campaign include:
- Declaration of a citywide “Energy Year” in 2016, and innovative energy education partnerships with over 80 businesses;
- A successful Solarize Whatcom residential solar campaign in 2016, and installation of a solar array on the Bellingham Food Bank;
- Net zero pilot projects for single family and multifamily residences;
- An energy education campaign for student renters;
- A Green Power campaign that more than doubled its target; and
- Major energy-reducing facility investments by the City of Bellingham and Bellingham Public Schools.
See a video about the Bellingham Energy Prize Campaign.
To learn more about the nationwide Georgetown University Energy Prize, visit www.guep.org.
Prize Application materials:
- Community Support Letters (PDF)
- Current Programs (PDF)
- Energy Plan Process (PDF)
- Energy Efficiency Program Plan (PDF)
- City Council Resolution dated October 27, 2014 (PDF)
Please contact staff if you would like more information about Bellingham’s participation in the Georgetown University Energy Prize.