5 Million Ways to Win the Prize

What is the Georgetown University Energy Prize?

The Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP) is a friendly competition between small and medium sized communities across America.  The goal is to save energy over a two year period, beginning January 1, 2015.  The winning city will receive a $5 million incentive prize.

The competition will challenge participating communities to tap their imagination and creativity, while working together toward a shared goal of continually reducing energy consumption.

Palo Alto is one of 50 communities with a population between 5,000 - 250,000 that have made it to the semi-finals, and will be vying to reduce their electric and natural gas consumption for their residential, municipal, and public school utility accounts.

We will be rated not just on energy savings, which is something Palo Alto has been actively pursuing for over 30 years, but also on innovation of programs, replication potential, future performance, equitable access, energy education, and overall quality of programs.

How can you help to win the prize?

We will need everyone's help to win the prize.  Spread the word, tell your neighbors!  Add your thoughts to the ideas section on the right.  Participate in Palo alto Utilities efficiency programs.  Look for upcoming announcements for new programs on this website.  Make a commitment to save energy, pledge to save 10% on your energy usage. Fill out a pledge certificate and keep it on the fridge.  Most importantly, save energy any way that works for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why were commercial customers excluded?

Commercial customers' utility usage can vary greatly with the economy.  The intent of the prize is not to award the community whose largest companies reduced usage by going out of business.

Will installing solar power help us win?

Yes, if the solar is on your residence and the power is used to reduce your utilities bill.

Will installing electric vehicles (EV) hurt us in the competition?

EV chargers do increase your electric usage, and are very prevalent in Palo Alto.  We will be requesting an exemption from the Prize Committee for the estimated increase in usage due to EV chargers so that it won't count against us.  The Prize committee understands that EV chargers are a
good thing, particularly with our carbon neutral portfolio.

Is weather taken into account when calculating savings?

Yes, all the date is weather adjusted for heating and cooling days.

Are there other cities from the Bay Area in the competition?

Yes, the Bay Area is well represented in the competition.  Sunnyvale, Fremont, San Mateo, Berkeley, and Davis are all competing.


Stay tuned for energy updates as they come!



There are no workshops scheduled at this time- Check back soon!




Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for conservation suggestions, rebates, and more!  Twitter users are encouraged to discuss their involvement using the #GUEnergyPrize hashtag.

Helping Us Win!
Energy Efficiency Programs

Solar initiatives

Solar water heating

Palo Alto Green Gas

Home Efficiency Genie

Residential Energy Assistance (REAP)

Featured Program:
Smart Energy Rebate

Let us assist you in improving your home's energy efficiency, helping to lower your energy costs while also creating a more comfortable living environment.  you continue to get this benefit, even with our 100% carbon neutral electric supply portfolio! Visit our smart energy page to learn more.

Apply online for rebates

Print paper application for rebates


How do you save energy?  Tips and tricks from the Palo Alto Community

Spread the good word - submit your energy saving tips!

Tip #1: Chris C. says, "I program my thermostat, wash my clothes in cold water, and hand wash dishes rather than using a dishwasher."

Tip #2: Bruce L. says, "Since all of the wines I store in my fridge are red, I was able to increase the temperature setting a few degrees from what I previously set it."

Tip #3: Kevin V. says, "I follow after my girlfriend to turn off the lights in the house!"

Tip #4: Aimee B. says, "We have a smart strip that our entertainment system is plugged into. When the TV is off, all auxiliary devices are also automatically shut off so they don't draw any power. This reduces our vampire load."

Tip #5:  Randy C. says, "Put draft guards under the doors. I put plastic over my windows in winter to help keep the cold out."

Tip #6: Hiromi K. says, "We re-install weather stripping around our front door every year, as our cats scratch it out."

Tip #7: Lindsay J. says, "I save energy by using a clothesline, induction cooktop, LED lights, and nagging my kids to take shorter showers."

Tip #8: Alison R. says, "During the day, I keep the blinds open to let natural sunlight in and leave the power off."

Tip #9: Matt W. says, "Cloud enabled thermostats! Schedule your heating and cooling and tailor it to your schedule each day.  When the weather changes, you can adjust the temperatures from your phone!"

Tip #10: Aimee B. says, "I always turn down the thermostat in the winter and put on a sweater (Jimmy Carter style.)

Tip #11: Pahmansi R. says,"I usually make sure I unplug anything that I am not using & I close the door to my work room to keep the heat in."

Tip #12: Carolyn R. says, "Handwash dishes instead of using the dishwasher all the time."

Tip #13: Marcia S. says, "I use cats as space heaters."

Tip #14: Heike H. says, "We have everything on power strips, hang up laundry outside whenever possible, and our thermostat is on 62 in winter and lower at night.

Tip #15: Robert B. says, "I always turn off the lights when I leave a room."

Tip #16: Gina V. says, "I put blankets over all of my glass doors, and plastic sheet on all the windows."

Tip #17: Aimee B. says, "We retrofitted all of our lighting to be LED lighting."

Tip #18: Tom K. says, "I put a plastic cover over the top of my  shower stall to keep the warm steam in with me.  That way I can comfortably turn off the hot water while I soap up. I save gas, water, and avoid wet bathroom wall problems."

Tip #19: Jay W. says: "Wait until the dishwasher is mostly full, use the light wash setting, and turn off the dry cycle - air dry them instead."



Our friends over at Energy Star have a site just for kids -  Click the image to check it out!

Last Updated: Aug 17, 2016
Carbon Neutral Certification
The Climate Registry has verified Palo Alto's carbon neutral status for 2014.

City to Give $1 Million to School District if Palo Alto Wins Georgetown Competition
On Monday, May 9, the Palo Alto City Council approved giving $1 million to the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) if the City wins the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize Competition.

City of Palo Alto Ranks in National Top 10 for Most Solar Watts per Customer
Utility ranked third out of more than 300 utilities nationwide for 2015!
Palo Alto Resident Installs Solar PV Array

Mayor Burt Asks Residents to Sign Pledge for Water Conservation
Sign the pledge to conserve water through the end of April at mywaterpledge.com and help Palo Alto win the national competition!
Dripping Faucet

City of Palo Alto Ups its Energy-Saving Efforts, Ranks in Top Third in Georgetown University Energy Prize Competition
Introducing new programs, tools and incentives to make saving energy personalized and no hassle. Palo Alto customers can help the City win the prize for an efficient, eco-friendly and carbon free future.