Pacific Grove, California — The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) presented five Champion of Energy Efficiency Awards at its Summer Study Conference on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. Given every two years, these awards recognize leadership and accomplishment in the energy efficiency field. Winners are selected based on demonstrated excellence in program implementation, research and development (R&D), energy policy, private sector initiatives, and international initiatives. Following are the winners for 2002.
- California's Utilities: The Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and Sempra Energy Utilities combined to facilitate unprecedented levels of energy efficiency during California's electricity crisis in 2001. Their efforts (plus those of the state government, municipal utilities, and many others) reduced the state's energy use by 6% in 2001, and cut demand by as much as 12%. The utilities used rebates for high-efficiency products and a full spectrum of other customer programs and media campaigns to garner these results. As one example, the utilities helped sell 9 million compact fluorescent light bulbs in 2001—more than were sold in the entire United States in 2000.
- Blair Hamilton: As Managing Director of Efficiency Vermont (the first statewide "efficiency utility" in the United States), Blair has led a successful effort to help Vermonters save energy. With help from Efficiency Vermont, customers are saving about 58 million kilowatt-hours a year—equal to the usage of Rutland, the state's second-largest city. These savings were obtained at an average cost of 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour at a time when electricity costs about 4 cents on the wholesale market. Efficiency Vermont is only the latest in Blair's career of leadership and innovation. He co-founded the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation in 1986, and developed it into one of the nation's leading sources of energy efficiency expertise and innovation.
- Howard Learner: As founder and director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago, Howard has become a major force in energy efficiency policy in the Midwest and the rest of the nation. He was a key player in the addition of an energy title to the farm bill passed last spring, which targeted hundreds of millions of dollars in new support for efficiency in rural communities. He previously had helped write the seminal report Repowering the Midwest: The Clean Energy Development Plan for the Heartland. The solid research and analysis in this work helped members of Congress see the importance of adding the energy title. Howard also engineered the creation and funding of the Illinois Clean Energy Communities Foundation, an organization funded through the $250 million received from the proceeds of the sale of utility generating plants.
- Steve Selkowitz: A Senior Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Steve has been a tireless, persistent, gently persuasive, and innovative leader in the energy efficiency R&D field. His work has led to major advances in such technology areas as windows, lighting, building controls, and building design tools. Perhaps his most noteworthy success has been the development of low-emissivity (or low-e) windows: LBNL's Windows and Daylighting Group has been the R&D lead in bringing low-e technology from laboratory concept to market reality. In the National Academy of Sciences' recent review of the U.S. Department of Energy's research programs, low-e windows emerged as one of the most successful stories in 25 years of energy efficiency R&D. Steve was also key in bringing electronic lighting ballasts to market in the 1980s, which helped enable the federal standard negotiated in 1999 that will complete the transformation of the ballast market to electronics by 2010.
- Linda Wigington: Linda founded and remains the force behind the Affordable Comfort Conference, now the nation's largest energy efficiency event with over 1,000 attendees in 2002. From its inception in the mid-1980s as a network for the weatherization community, Affordable Comfort has become a phenomenal force in the housing industry. Building on the core focus on energy efficiency, it has incorporated other key aspects of home performance, including human comfort, health and safety, and durability. Affordable Comfort is known as one of the best-managed conferences anywhere, from the way it recruits and screens new presenters to the way it treats registrants and exhibitors. Most of Affordable Comfort's qualities stem from Linda's technical and managerial skill, her integrity and tenacity, and her personal dedication to excellence.
These winners were nominated by their peers and selected by a committee of ACEEE's Board of Directors.