The Competition

Over an eight-week period, student volunteers competed against one another to see who could complete the most energy assessments for local DC businesses. These free energy assessments consisted of an energy-efficiency survey, utility bill check-up, and rebate analysis.

The Result

22 student volunteers helped 45 local businesses identify annual energy savings of $52,500, equivalent to 190 tons of carbon emissions offset. Along the way, these students earned certificates, informational interviews, and resume reviews.

participating businesses

kWh of energy savings

energy cost savings


average energy savings

Participating Businesses

Andy Nelson’s Southern Pit Barbecue
Barnes & Noble
Bike Rack DC
BodySmith Gym
Brookland Pint
Charles Bergen Studio
Cherry Blossom Creative
Creative Ways Therapy
El Pollo Ricos
First Break Cafe
Georgetown Hairstyling
Greenworks Florist
Grey Moggie Press
Highway to Hill
Home Rule
Idle Time Books
Labyrinth Games & Puzzles
Marcella Kriebel Art + Illustration
Maroulla Sculpture
Old City Farm and Guild
Optimum Dental
Panda Head Blog LLC

Peregrine Espresso
Petworth Citizen
President Cigars
Qualia Coffee
Slim’s Diner
Solly’s Tavern
Songbyrd Cafe
Stitch and Rivet
Strategic Educational Consulting LLC (SEDC LLC}
Tenley Study Center
The Big Bad Woof
The Coupe
The DC Dentist
The Potter’s House
Trinity Deli
U Street Cleaners
Wardman Wines

Business Breakdown

Eat, Drink, Save

Restaurants and food service accounted for 33% of the participating businesses, the most of any sector.

Small Footprint

The average participating business had a building footprint of 3,100 sq. ft.

Big Savings

The average energy efficiency savings identified per business was 23% or $1,150 per year.

  • Install occupancy sensors in common areas 71% 71%
  • Install LED exit signs 60% 60%
  • Replace T12 and 32W T8 bulbs with 25W T8 bulbs 47% 47%
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR rated refrigerators 47% 47%
  • Reduce after-hour interior lighting 38% 38%

The Results Were Amazing

Over 23 different energy-efficiency recommendations were identified for participating businesses, including efficiency measures in lighting, plug load, building envelope, HVAC, water and recycling. These recommendations ranged from projects with an immediate payback period to projects with a two-year payback. The top five most frequently recommended efficiency measures were applicable to one-third or more of businesses.

And let's hear it for the students...

1st Place

Elizabeth Bezilla
Catholic University of America
10 assessments

2nd Place

Sonia Vohra
Georgetown University
5 assessments

2nd Place

Ben Pitler
American University
5 assessments

Emily Oldham

4 assessments

Tracy Wang

2 assessments

Aishwarya Sadh

2 assessments

Juli Petrillo

2 assessments

Leo Ellis

1 assessment

Federico Witzke

1 assessment

Elizabeth Meyers

1 assessment

Rachel Baca

1 assessment

Daniel Glasgow

1 assessment

Patrick Suarez

1 assessment

Tanya Rivera

1 assessment

Deanna Rosini

1 assessment

Caroline Winn

1 assessment

Ibtesam Alamoudi

1 assessment

Bryant Cordero

1 assessment

Dylan Bonsignore

1 assessment

Erika Toscao

1 assessment

Sandra Guillen

1 assessment

Julia Choi

1 assessment

Student Prizes


The top students are in the running for the $1,500 Impact Scholarship presented by Inspire Energy.

Informational Interviews

All participating students will be given the opportunity for informational interviews with DC Sustainable Energy UtilityNextility, and Groundswell.


Resume Review

Select students will receive a personal resume review by the experts at 20 Minute Resume.

'I really enjoyed talking to the local small business owners one on one. It was great to see how much everyone cared about what they could personally do to save energy and help the environment.' - Emily Oldham

'I had a great time and learned a lot about the small ways in which we can all help the environment.' - Sonia Vohra

Next Steps

Now for even more fun! In the coming months, Green Impact Campaign will work with the participating businesses to further understand their assessment results and further implement recommendations:

  • Provide businesses with a Green Impact Campaign Certified Business window decal to show their participation and commitment to being a local, sustainable business.
  • Nextility will help businesses secure lower energy supply rates and green energy through the utility. Nextility can also provide solar assessments for qualifying buildings.
  • DC Sustainable Energy Utility will provide businesses with various rebates on the purchase of energy-efficiency equipment, including lighting, appliances, refrigeration, and HVAC, helping bring down the cost of upgrades by over 50%.
  • Groundswell will offer businesses an Energy Coach to help answer any questions and help businesses go beyond the initial assessment.

Made possible by:


Green Impact Campaign (GIC) is on a mission to reduce the environmental impact of small business while better equipping the next generation of climate leaders. We provide university students across the country with cloud-based tools and training to go out and conduct free energy assessments for local, small businesses in their community. Small businesses receive the custom, actionable information they need to make their business more energy efficiency and profitable. While student volunteers receive professional skills through hands-on experience for future impact careers.

Kilowatt Smackdown is our regional competition series where we select one community, town, or city to focus on. We work closely with local universities and partner organizations in the community to host an impactful and exciting sustainability initiative.