Madison, Wisconsin Mayor Paul Soglin is urging residents to cut their energy use to help the city win a US$5 million award.
The city is one of 50 small and mid-sized communities participating in the Georgetown University Energy Prize. “The winning city, announced in spring 2017, will be required to spend the $5 million over multiple years on local energy-efficiency programs,” the State Journal reports.
Georgetown organized the contest last year as part of its search for “replicable, scalable, and continual reductions in the per capita energy consumed from local natural gas and electric utilities,” the university said in its April, 2014 launch announcement. “Our goal is to transform the way America uses energy, and this is a novel way to do that,” said physics professor Francis Slakey, co-director of Georgetown’s Program on Science in the Public Interest (SPI). “Nothing’s been tried at this scale before, but we have an enormous number of cities that are interested.”
Households will make all the difference in Madison’s quest, Soglin said, because the prize “won’t be won by some grant-writer.”
The city “will lead the movement by increasing energy efficiency in municipal buildings, and offer audits and guidance to help homeowners and landlords do the same,” McDonald writes. “Financial assistance will be available for participating low-income households.”
The community will also use an online game, Cool Choices, to track “sustainable actions, small and large.”
“If any place has a shot, it’s Madison,” said Sustainable Madison Committee Chair Raj Shukla.