Around Town | November 29, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 29, 2013

Around Town

ROLLING IN THE GREEN ... Palo Alto leaders wax ecstatically about the city's achievements in the field of sustainability, from a carbon-free electricity portfolio and an aggressive green-building code to a freshly adopted requirement that all new homes be prewired for electric-vehicle chargers. Now, the city is preparing to jump into the ring with other eco-conscious communities, with the goal of finding out who is the greenest of them all. The City Council will consider on Dec. 2 a staff recommendation to enter the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition, a three-year effort to boost energy efficiency. It's not just bragging rights on the line. The winner in this wonkish war would get a prize of $5 million, which would be set aside for further energy-efficiency efforts. Communities with populations between 5,000 and 250,000 are eligible to compete. If the Palo Alto council agrees to enter the fray, the city will be asked to put together a long-term energy-efficiency plan and to demonstrate sustainability over a two-year period. Between August 2014 and August 2016, the communities will see who can most greatly reduce residential and municipal use of electricity and natural gas (savings will be tallied by taking total usage in these buildings and dividing it by the number of accounts). City Manager James Keene is asking the council to submit a letter of intent to participate in the competition, which according to a Keene staff report seeks to "develop an implement innovative, replicable, scalable and continual reductions in residential and municipal energy use."

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