Fort Collins Rolls Out Lose-A-Watt Campaign to Compete for Georgetown Prize

Contact: Katy Bigner, Environmental Planner,, 970.221.6317

Date: February 9, 2015


Editor’s note: The Lose-A-Watt logo is attached.

Fort Collins Rolls Out Lose-A-Watt Campaign to Compete for Georgetown Prize

What will it take for the Fort Collins community to save energy and Lose-A-Watt? The City of Fort Collins today began rolling out a fun new campaign designed to encourage residents to save energy over the next two years of the Georgetown University Energy Prize.

The City has previously announced it is a semifinalist in Georgetown University’s national competition to encourage cities to drastically reduce their energy usage and help each other with best practices. The winner receives $5 million to be used on energy efficiency programs in the community.

“The Lose-A-Watt campaign is a great opportunity to engage our community and help the City reduce energy consumption,” said Katy Bigner, project manager. “The goal is to double our community energy savings to make a difference.”

The City of Fort Collins is a leader in sustainability and has numerous energy-saving programs that have helped the community conserve energy. For more information and to stay updated on the competition, go to


Colorado Cities Named National Semi-Finalists in Two-Year Energy Savings Competition

Aspen logo BrightonSustainableLogo_Web FortCollinsLogo_Matte [Converted] Georgetown University Energy Prize logo

Contacts for Media:
Ryland French, City of Aspen,, 970.429.1969
Murphy Robinson, City of Brighton,, 720.685.7332
Katy Bigner, City of Fort Collins,, 970.221.6317
Christofer Nelson, Georgetown University,, 202.687.0367

January 14, 2015

For immediate release

Colorado Cities Named National Semi-Finalists in Two-Year Energy Savings Competition

What do the communities of Aspen, Brighton and Fort Collins have in common? They all want to save energy over the next two years, an effort that could result in a $5 million prize from Georgetown University.

The Georgetown University Energy Prize today announced the three Colorado cities as semi-finalists among the 50 communities in the national competition, which will include electrical and natural gas consumption.

The winning community must reduce its residential, municipal and K-12 energy consumption by 2017 to be eligible for the $5 million purse. The competition will help Georgetown identify, study, and advance best practices, creating tools for other cities and counties across the country to drastically improve their energy efficiency.

Finalists will be announced in 2017. The competition does not include businesses.

“One of the best opportunities to conserve energy is by increasing the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings,” said Jeffrey Ackermann, Director of the Colorado Energy Office. “We applaud the cities of Fort Collins, Brighton, and Aspen in their efforts to lead by example and better their local communities by implementing long-term, sustainable measures to reduce energy consumption.”

“Colorado is one of the few states where we have multiple communities competing – we know Colorado is an important state when it comes to energy policy, clean energy research and an interest in environmental sustainability,” said Christofer Nelson, program director for the Georgetown University’s Program on Science in the Public Interest, which is leading the contest. “We wish all three cities the best in the program.”

Competing cities come from 27 states. They are diverse socioeconomically and demographically, ranging from 5,000 to 250,000 people.

To win the competition, communities must:

  • Demonstrate a reduction in energy consumption that is sustainable over two years, illustrating significant improvements in adoption rates.
  • Demonstrate that their actions are replicable in other communities across the country.

Meet the Colorado competitors:

Aspen – 5,900 people, 220 miles west of Denver
The City of Aspen Canary Initiative’s Climate Action Plan goal aims to reduce Aspen’s greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2020. To win the prize, the City, Holy Cross Energy, SourceGas, and Energy Smart Colorado at the Community Office for Resource Efficiency will offer residents rebates to complete energy efficiency upgrades, help them take control of their utility bills, make their buildings more comfortable and safe, and reduce their environmental impact.

Ryland French, Utilities Efficiency Specialist for the City of Aspen, noted, “We are asking the Aspen community to get involved and help us show Fort Collins, Brighton, and the rest of the nation that Aspen is the leader in smart energy use.” French added, “The local energy savings will make every community competing in the Georgetown University Energy Prize a true winner, but we want Aspen to finish on top, and win that $5 million prize.”

Brighton – 34,000 people, 20 miles north of Denver
Brighton’s vision is to become an environmentally sustainable community by shaping and implementing achievable, multi-faceted and measureable strategies that maximize opportunity and efficiency while minimizing cost. To celebrate the City’s advancement in the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition, there will be a Brighton Sustainable Kick-off Event from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, February 21 at the Brighton Armory Performing Arts Center.

“Brighton is a sustainable and livable city. We have three pillars of sustainability – economic viability, environmentally sound, and social equity. Being a semifinalist in the Georgetown University Energy Prize brings Brighton one step closer to achieving our energy reduction goals. This allows the City to continue to innovate viable resources to make Brighton a sustainable community for years to come,” said City of Brighton Mayor Dick McLean.

Fort Collins – 155,000 people, 60 miles north of Denver
Fort Collins has been recognized nationally as one of the first communities to organize the triple bottom line – the departments of Social Sustainability, Environmental Services and Economic Health – under one service area, known as Sustainability Services. The City also benefits from having its own municipal utility, which was the first municipal utility in the United States to register with the Global Reporting Initiative. The City aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

“Fort Collins is already on the national map when it comes to contributing our knowledge about energy conservation and building a community that is resilient to climate change,’” said Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat. “We appreciate the efforts of Georgetown to take what we all learn from this competition and turn it into best practices that can serve our entire nation.”

About the Georgetown University Energy Prize
The Georgetown University Energy Prize is a multi-million dollar competition that is challenging small- to medium-size towns, cities, and counties to work together with their local governments, residents, utilities, and others to achieve innovative, replicable, scalable and continual reductions in the per account energy consumption of gas and electricity.

Formally launched in April of 2014, the Georgetown University Energy Prize represents years of study and development that brought leading academics together with government officials, industry professionals, and top national and global non-governmental organizations.


Climate Action Plan: What is it and why does it matter to me?

Have you heard of the Climate Action Plan? The City of Fort Collins is gearing up for an update to this very critical plan that will serve as a blueprint for a healthy and livable/resilient Fort Collins for decades.

What is climate change and why does it matter to us? Here in Fort Collins, climate change means we are likely to see an increase in extreme weather occurring over time and more weather-related disasters like drought, floods and wildfire. In 15 short years, our summers may be 6 degrees warmer, making our/Fort Collins’ climate more like that of Albuquerque, New Mexico. For all of us/those of us who love to ski, this means we may not have as much time to hit the slopes before the snow melts. Facts show that Fort Collins experienced twice as many 90-degree days in the past 14 years than in the previous 39 years.

Even in our community, there are things we can do to prepare to reduce these effects.

For several decades, your City government, together with the community, has worked to lower emissions as part of a commitment to environmental sustainability and as a way to be more resilient to climate change.

In April 2014, the Fort Collins City Council provided clear direction to update our community’s Climate Action Plan to meet more aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals. Why? Because the need to act is more urgent, there are solutions available that can benefit Fort Collins, and the sooner we act, the more cost-effective it will be.

Council authorized formation of a Citizen Advisory Committee to oversee the plan. The updated Climate Action Plan will lay out strategies needed to reduce community emissions to 80 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030 and ultimately to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Our residents and businesses have already made some progress – we have reduced emissions even while our population and the economy grew. But emissions are creeping up again. So how do we continue to see improvements? Through the Climate Action Plan, we’re going to look at continuing communitywide strategies like making our buildings more efficient and productive, improving the efficiency of new building construction, finding new ways to decrease the amount of waste we put into the landfill, and supporting healthier  modes of transportation – buses, bikes and other ways to cut down on vehicle emissions.

Those are the types of strategies that the Citizen Advisory Committee and residents will be discussing over the next few months with a new Climate Action Plan scheduled to be adopted in early 2015. Stay updated and share your thoughts with us at

City aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The city of Fort Collins hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent in the next five years, and it wants your help.

A committee charged with updating Fort Collins’ Climate Action Plan will host its first public open house from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Fort Collins Senior Center, 1200 Raintree Drive.

Lucinda Smith, director of environmental services, said the plan will be designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, 80 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. Electricity accounts for around half of Fort Collins’ greenhouse gas emissions, with 70 percent to 75 percent of the city’s electricity fueled by coal.

Read more…

News Release: CSU Professor Scott Denning to Speak at City Public Open House December 3 on Climate Action Plan Update

Contact: Lucinda Smith, Environmental Services Director,, 970.224.6085

Date: November 25, 2014


CSU Professor Scott Denning to Speak at City Public Open House December 3 on Climate Action Plan Update

Despite an increase in population since 2005, carbon emissions have largely declined in Fort Collins, and residents here divert nearly 65 percent of their trash from the landfill.

So what’s next? The public is invited to a series of public meetings starting December 3 to help the City define its energy future for the next 20 to 30 years with an update to the Climate Action Plan – a roadmap of strategies to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions and increase its resiliency to climate change.

The first public open house on the Climate Action Plan update will be 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, December 3 at the Fort Collins Senior Center, 1200 Raintree Drive. A brief presentation will begin at 6:15 p.m. with Scott Denning, a professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, and Lucinda Smith, director of Environmental Services at the City. Students from CSU’s Center for Public Deliberation will also be in attendance and assisting with future public meetings on the plan. Participants will be provided with information on a suite of tactics currently being explored and asked for feedback, questions and suggestions.

As part of the 2015 update to the Climate Action Plan, the City is looking at new and existing community-wide strategies in four areas: Energy Efficiency and Conservation, Energy Supply, Waste Reduction, and Transportation.

The City has been a leader in climate protection for almost two decades, starting with the first greenhouse gas reduction goal and plan in 1999. Emissions have been below 2005 baseline levels while the City’s population and economy – as measured by Sales and Use Tax revenue – grew. Currently, the Climate Action Plan calls for an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

City Council directed staff to update the plan, noting that Fort Collins is a nationally recognized leader in finding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and in adapting to climate change, and that new opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have emerged, including advancements in energy technologies such as smart grid, vehicle electrification opportunities and changes in the price of energy solutions. Council requested an ad hoc committee be formed to update the Climate Action Plan to meet the following objectives:

  • 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020
  • 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2030
  • 100 percent below 2005 levels by 2050 (Carbon neutral)

Stay up-to-date on the Climate Action Plan update at


ColoradoBiz Magazine Honors FortZED among Top 50 Green Champions

ColoradoBiz magazine has recognized FortZED – a unique collaboration of Fort Collins government, business and university leaders working on cutting-edge alternative energy solutions – as one of 50 Colorado Firms on a Greener Path.

FortZED is one of seven organizations recognized as a 2014 Green Champion in the Non-Profit/Government category along with the Rocky Mountain Institute, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. As part of its first “Green Colorado” July/August issue, ColoradoBiz highlights the companies and organizations “whose sustainable initiatives are setting the standard for other businesses to follow.”

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