Wednesday, February 21, 2024



From the city of Cambridge, Jan. 14: Today the city officially advanced to the semifinal round of the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national competition that is challenging communities across the country to rethink their energy use. At a press event in Washington, D.C., Cambridge was announced as one of the 50 communities leading the way on energy efficiency.

“We are excited to get under way in this competition and to establish Cambridge as a national leader in energy efficiency in the United States,” Mayor David P. Maher said. “For many years, Cambridge has been a strong advocate for a variety of innovative sustainability methods, and the prize competition will help challenge our city to contribute further to a high quality of life for our residents. Competitions like these bring out the best in municipalities, and Cambridge is thrilled to be a part of it.”

Ten finalists will be announced in early 2017, and the winner will named in June 2017.

In the meantime, Cambridge is working on many levels to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions to make the city more sustainable. The city, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a group of major business partners created the Cambridge Community Compact for a Sustainable Future to leverage the intellectual and entrepreneurial capacity of the business, nonprofit, education and municipal sectors in Cambridge to foster collaboration on creating a healthy, livable and sustainable future. Last year, the Getting to Net Zero Task Force advanced the goal of putting Cambridge on the path toward becoming a net zero community, with the focus on carbon emissions from building operations. The City Council passed the Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance that will provide data and transparency around how energy is used in large buildings citywide, with the goal of providing the marketplace data to enable better implementation of energy efficiency opportunities. In Kendall Square, the city’s largest area of energy use, a new model of public-private partnership is being piloted using the EcoDistricts Framework, which emphasizes the integration of smart infrastructure, green buildings and community engagement to achieve district-scale sustainability. All these initiatives are occurring while the city is conducting a climate change vulnerability assessment. The energy competition will heighten the City of Cambridge’s drive to unite the entire community to embrace energy efficiency on a large scale.

“Cambridge is committed to sustainability, and we recognize that serious gains in energy efficiency are needed to reach our climate change mitigation goals,” City Manager Richard C. Rossi said. “Participating in this competition will help invigorate the community around innovative ways to save energy as we look to putting Cambridge on the trajectory of becoming a net zero greenhouse gas emissions community.”

“Cambridge as well as cities across the county, 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. “These semifinalist communities are leading the way for other small- and medium-size cities and counties to secure their energy efficient future.”

Slakey’s call to arms was posted today as well:

“The competition looks truly like America,” Slakey said. “Not only do these communities come from across the map, they represent the nation’s full political, social and economic diversity. 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.”

For information about Cambridge’s efforts and ways to get involved, click here or call Meghan Shaw at (617) 349-5323.