The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) last week recognized six individuals and organizations on during its Fifth Annual Inspiring Efficiency Awards gala. The awards honor Midwest leaders who deliver groundbreaking advancements in energy efficiency in six categories: Leadership, Education, Impact, Marketing, Innovation, and the Chairman’s award for providing exemplary leadership and support to MEEA throughout the organization’s history.
“We’re excited and invigorated by the contributions that our 2009 Inspiring Efficiency Awards recipients have made in advancing energy efficiency in the Midwest,” noted Wendy Jaehn, executive director, Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, who presented the evening’s first award. “The depth and breadth of the applicants and winners demonstrates the success and contribution of the Midwest in the energy efficiency marketplace.”
Inspiring Efficiency LEADERSHIP Award
Presented to the organization or individual who has served as a strong leader in support of energy efficiency in their city, state, region, company, or community.
Jim Doyle, Governor, Wisconsin
Governor Doyle was in Washington D.C. assisting the Obama transition team. In accepting the award for the governor, Judy Ziewacz, Director, Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence, noted the political capital that Doyle has invested in advancing energy efficiency in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest.
Since taking office in 2003, Governor Doyle has been a champion of energy efficiency, introducing two key initiatives: Clean Energy Wisconsin, his plan for energy independence and improving the deployment of energy-efficient technologies; and an energy efficiency, renewable energy and global warming task force. Doyle, through the state Department of Commerce, expects to award $15 million annually in grants and loans for research and development, commercialization or adoption of new technologies, and supply chain management in energy efficiency. These efforts are expected to help leverage nearly $1 billion in private investment and create new jobs for Wisconsin families.
Inspiring Efficiency EDUCATION Award
Presented for the development and implementation of a local campaign, program, strategy, or idea to increase knowledge and action on energy efficiency.
Interstate Power and Light Co. (IPL)
“Energy efficiency is a way for individuals to make a personal difference,” noted Linda Mattes, director, energy efficiency and new product development for Alliant Energy, who accepted the award for IPL, an Alliant Energy company based in Cedar Rapids, IA.
IPL developed an innovative customer education and awareness program that promoted personal responsibility in relation to energy efficiency. IPL mailed Personal Electric and Natural Gas Use History letters to all residential customers and offered an array of actions steps, from sending away for a cash rebates booklet to conducting an online do-it-yourself energy audit or arranging an onsite walk-through Home Energy Audit performed by an energy expert. In total, over 800,000 letters were sent.
Inspiring Efficiency IMPACT Award
Presented for significant contribution to market transformation either through the implementation of a specific program or through a policy change that has reduced energy consumption and/or increased market penetration of energy-efficient products.
Orion Energy Systems Inc.
“Energy savings without compromise” is the key to successful energy efficiency programs, offered Orion CEO, Neal Verfuerth. “We must deliver the goods for our customers, with or without utility program or government assistance.”
Orion Energy Systems, of Manitowoc, WI, designs, manufactures, and implements energy management systems, consisting of high performance, energy efficient lighting, controls and direct renewable solar technology for commercial and industrial customers. Orion’s patented high intensity fluorescent (HIF) lighting platform uses 50% less energy than traditional HID technologies. Since 2001, Orion technology has displaced 357 megawatts, enough electricity to power more than 298,000 homes, saved companies more than $400 million in energy costs, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 3.5 million tons.
Inspiring Efficiency MARKETING Award
Presented for engaging in or supporting a marketing campaign, program, strategy, or idea to increase the adoption of energy-efficient products and/or best practices in the Midwest.
Wisconsin Focus on Energy
“This award was about creating partnerships,” noted Mary Wooley Schaefer, executive director, Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation, who accepted the award. “We could not have achieved what we did without the collaboration we enjoyed.”
Focus on Energy, of Madison, WI, is a collaborative organization that works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. In order to inspire more people to embrace energy efficiency, the organization launched the Home Energy Makeover—an innovative, contest-driven marketing campaign designed to combine the allure of reality TV with the nation’s growing interest in energy efficiency. The campaign gave residents of Milwaukee the chance to win a comprehensive energy efficiency upgrade for the home. Promotions using banner ads, television spots and segments on morning television, featured regular updates on the transformation of the winning home.
Inspiring Efficiency INNOVATION Award
Presented for developing and implementing a new and innovative program, idea or policy in the Midwest.
Keyser Visual, A Division of The Keyser Group
Achieving innovation in energy efficiency is a matter of changing one’s mindset from “could we? to we can,” commented Keyser Visual CEO, Bill Keyser, in accepting the award.
Keyser Visual, of Evergreen Park, IL, provides visual merchandising solutions, signage and menu boards to the quick service restaurant industry. The company showcased its substantial investment in energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) technology through a complete interior and exterior conversion from traditional light sources to LEDs at one of the nation’s leading fast food chain restaurants. The conversion will save over 16,000 kilowatt-hours annually in that one facility, demonstrating the benefits of a comprehensive approach to LED conversion over a socket-by-socket approach. Additionally, the project included an innovative Web-enabled tool to track LED installation, validate kilowatt reduction, and lower carbon emissions.
Inspiring Efficiency CHAIRMAN’s Award
Presented for providing exemplary leadership and support to MEEA throughout the organization’s history.
Janet Streff, manager, State Energy Office, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Office of Energy Security
“This is a fun award,” acknowledged presenter and current MEEA Chair, David Eijadi, The Weidt Group.””Janet is being honored not only for what she did to further MEEA’s mission, but how she did it.”
“Janet never actually says ‘no,'” added co-presenter, Mary O’Toole, past MEEA Chair and president, KO Solutions, LLC. “She takes a deep breath and says, ‘let’s think about that.’ This award is about heart.”
“There’s a bit of me that wants to save the world,” commented Streff in accepting the award. “Energy efficiency is the first thing all of us can do to make a real difference.”
Streff is a founding member and the immediate past Chairperson of MEEA. Currently, Streff manages Minnesota’s Utility Conservation Improvement Program and federal Weatherization Assistance Program, which provides energy conservation improvements to low-income homes. She also serves as Vice Chair of the National Association of State Energy Officials.