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Duluth selected as a semifinalist in the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize

Today, Jan. 14, Duluth found out it officially advances 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. today, Duluth was announced as one of the 50 communities who are leading the way on energy efficiency.

Duluth became a quarterfinalist in the competition last fall, as reported in the Budgeteer. Semifinalists will compete for two years to reduce their utility-supplied energy consumption. Winner of the $5 million prize will be chosen in 2017.

"To be successful in this competition we need to get off to a fast start," said City Council Vice President Jen Julsrud. "The competition will run for two years, but we are asking residents to get involved in an initial Dash-to-the-Cash."

The Duluth Dash-to-the-Cash campaign challenges each household to take free or low-cost actions in five areas over the next fifty days. The menu of actions include easy electrical, appliance, heating, water, and air leakage steps residents can take to save at least 5 percent on their energy bill.

"The reality for Duluth is that a mere savings of 6 percent on our household energy will result in a $5 million savings every year," said Jodi Slick, CEO of Duluth nonprofit Ecolibrium3, the campaign chair. "That's why we refer to the contest as '$5 million and change,' it's simple change that will have long lasting impacts for our households."

"Mayors and executives across the country have told us that this Prize gives them the 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."

Duluth is the only Minnesota community participating, but joins eight other Midwest communities in this friendly competition to improve energy efficiency for all.

"The competition looks truly like America," said Dr. Slakey, "not only do these communities come from across the map, they come from across the political spectrum, represent all socioeconomic strata, and include demographically diverse populations. 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."

Partners in Duluth's efforts include the City of Duluth, Minnesota Power, Comfort Systems, Ecolibrium3, Duluth LISC, Duluth Housing Redevelopment Authority, University of Minnesota Duluth, and Duluth public and private schools.

For more information about Duluth's efforts and ways you or your organization can get involved, visit www.duluthenergy.com or contact Duluth's campaign headquarters administered by the local nonprofit Ecolibrium3 at (218) 336-1038. Follow Duluth's progress on Twitter (@Duluth_Energy) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/duluthenergy).

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).

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