Power to Save

Power to Save

A city-wide student energy assessment competition to help local, DC small businesses save on energy. An initiative of Think Local First DC’s 2015 Year of the Local series.

The Spring 2015 Power to Save competition is now closed. Check out the final results here.


Small Businesses


Register for an energy assessment

Receive a free energy assessment from a trained student to learn ways your business can save on energy

Sign up for the competition

Conduct energy assessments for local businesses and compete against other DC schools for prizes

Interested in your business sponsoring a student PowerUp prize? Learn more here.



As part of its 2015 Year of the Local series, Think Local First (TLF), together with Green Impact Campaign (GIC) and Nextility, two DC-based energy organizations, is coordinating a community initiative to save DC small businesses money on energy while reducing their environmental impact.Think Local First DC Year of the local

The effort — Power to Save — will include a city-wide competition between student groups at DC’s major universities to complete free energy assessments for businesses from mid-March to late-April. The outcome will be custom, actionable plans to save money and energy for each business. Over the remainder of the year, Power to Save will help small businesses complete these low- to no-cost recommendations, aid businesses in choosing a lower-cost, green energy supplier, and determine if their buildings are suitable for free solar energy systems.


How Does It Work?

Student groups from the following universities have pledged to participate in the competition:





American University Catholic University of America The George Washington University Georgetown University


Green Impact Campaign and Nextility will train students to conduct energy assessments using their various assessment tools. 

The Power to Save energy assessment helps local businesses save on energy in two ways without cost to them:

  1. Lowering their energy usage through energy efficiency measures
  2. Lowering the rates for the energy businesses do use through supplier choice

Energy Efficiency

Through GIC’s mobile platform, the Green Energy Management System (GEMS), students will conduct short energy surveys that will prescribe energy efficiency recommendations for businesses to easily and cost-effectively lower their energy usage and environmental impact.

Energy Supply Savings

Nextility analyzes business’ actual utility bills to find savings by choosing a lower-cost energy supplier for the business. For businesses interest in getting renewable energy through the utility, Nextility can also connect them with green energy at low rates. Regardless of what businesses choose, Nextility protects rates from fluctuation, tracks savings, and sends renewal reminders to businesses.

After each business has received and reviewed its energy assessment, Power to Save partners will provide the following implementation support:

  • Nextility will help businesses secure lower energy supply rates and green energy through the utility. Nextility can also provide solar assessments for qualifying buildings.
  • The DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) in conjunction with SparkFund will assist businesses implement energy-efficiency upgrade plans through a combination of rebates and energy efficiency financing.



  • Now – March 15 – Students are invited to sign up for the competition, receive training, and develop their competition plan
  • Sunday, March 15 Competition period begins
  • Wednesday, April 22 Competition period ends
  • Thursday, April 23 – Award ceremony and closing party to announce and honor competition winners, award prizes, recognize sponsors, and celebrate!
  • Saturday, April 25  – Prizewinners will be announced during the Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival
  • May – December – Implementation partners will work with participating businesses to assist them in completing the recommended energy efficiency upgrades and lowering and greening their energy supply


Student Prizes

Cash Prizes

The school that completes the most energy assessments during the competition period will be awarded the following cash prizes:

  • 1st place – $500 (presented by EagleBank)
  • 2nd place – $300 (presented by UVest Solar)
  • 3rd place – $250 (presented by DCSEU)

Paid Internships

The individual students that complete the most energy assessments during the competition period will be given the opportunity to interview for a best fit paid, summer internship at one of the following DC-based energy, sustainability, and climate change firms:

PowerUp Prizes

Throughout the competition, students will be able to win small and large “PowerUp Prizes” provided by sponsoring local businesses, which may include:

  • Gift cards for CAVA Mezze, Pinstripes, and Compass Coffee
  • “Green” resume writing workshop presented by 20 Minute Resume
  • Washington Nationals baseball tickets
  • Tickets to Sweetgreen’s Sweetlife Festival
  • And more!


Get Involved

Small Businesses

To receive a free energy assessment, gain access to other free energy saving services, and support local students, click the button below.

Register your business for a free energy assessment



If you are interested in participating in the energy assessment competition, click the button below. After signing up, GIC staff will contact you to provide you with the tools and training you’ll need to begin.

Sign up to compete in the competition

Everyone – #PowerToSaveDC

You can easily show your support by spreading the word about the initiative by using the #PowerToSaveDC hashtag.

[Tweet “Student energy assessment competition to help DC local biz save energy #PowerToSaveDC”]

If you are interested in sponsoring student groups or all other inquires, please contact us.




PowerUp Sponsors

spark-logo AtSitelogo EDF_tm_CMYK
washingtonnationals.logo cava_white wework-logo
Pinstripes-logo UnionKitchen-logo
LumenLogo_wURL CompassCoffee-logo CE_Logo
YesOrganicLOGO MWCOG-logo sweetgreen logo