Charlie Grist

Charlie Grist, one of the recipients of the Tom Eckman Leadership in Energy Efficiency Lifetime Achievement Award.

The region's leading energy savings organization, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, announced the winners of its annual awards Oct. 31.

The City of Seattle's Building Tune-Up Accelerator program received the alliance's Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Innovation. One hundred commercial buildings in Seattle have received energy efficiency tune-ups through the program, which is part of the city's climate change strategy.

The program is a collaborative effort involving Seattle City Light, the city's Office of Sustainability, the University of Washington Integrated Design Lab, the Smart Buildings Center and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. It is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

In its award announcement, the alliance identified key people in the program: Chris Meek (University of Washington Integrated Design Lab), Nicole Ballinger (Seattle Office of Sustainability), Sandra Mallory (Seattle Office of Sustainability), Joe Fernandi (Seattle City Light), Rose Palomo (SCL) and Ted Brown (SCL).

NEEA's Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Collaboration went to the Consumer Products Regional Steering Committee, a joint effort involving Northwest utilities, the alliance and other regional energy efficiency organizations.

The group's goal is to establish regional strategies in targeting key consumer markets. In doing so, the committee aims to "maximize cost-effective, long-term energy efficiency opportunities, prevent conflicting overlap of roles, and improve coordination in the region," according to NEEA's press release.

Recently, the committee created a plan to continue further adoption of smart thermostats, and worked with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Regional Technical Forum on drafting the plan. Central to the work is a jointly-funded research program supported by the committee's participating utilities and organizations.

Acknowledged for their roles in the effort were Cathy Anderson (Snohomish County PUD), Dave Murphy (BPA), Hillary Olson (Snohomish County PUD), Jeff Mitchell (NEEA), Jeff Tripp (Puget Sound Energy), Josh Mitchell (Chelan County PUD), Lis Saunders (Tacoma Power), Matt Babbitts (Clark Public Utilities), Patrick Weaver (PSE), Thad Roth (Energy Trust of Oregon), Tina Jayaweera (Northwest Power and Conservation Council), Todd Greenwell (Idaho Power) and Victor Couto (Seattle City Light).

NEEA's Tom Eckman Leadership in Energy Efficiency Lifetime Achievement Award had two winners this year.

Charlie Grist was recognized for his work at the NWPCC, where he leads the region's conservation potential assessment. For years, he has been a fixture of regional collaborative conservation efforts, such as the council's Regional Technical Forum, NEEA's Regional Portfolio Advisory Committee and the Energy Trust of Oregon Conservation Advisory Committee, among others.

The alliance highlighted Grist's "passion and unwavering commitment" to furthering energy efficiency across the region. His attention to detail and "inherent commitment to getting the right answers, without hubris," have been assets to the energy efficiency cause, the alliance said in its release.

BPA's Dick Stroh received the award for his long years of promoting conservation. The longtime Bonneville veteran was "Mr. Energy Efficiency" before the agency had an EE program, NEEA said. "He still brings his 'A' game every day."

Stroh has made a career of building strong working relationships with BPA customers, the alliance noted.

NEEA also gave a hat tip to this year's nominees.

The nominees for the innovation award were Pamela Bosch (Highland Hemp House), Dan Rubado (Energy Trust of Oregon), Mike Hatten (Solarc Energy Group), Yakima Nation Housing Authority, Chris Smith (Energy 350) and Alan Garcia (Northwest Natural).

Nominees for the collaboration award included Ken Baker (K Energy); the Community Energy Project's heat pump water heater program; the Northwest Strategic Energy Management Collaborative Measurement and Verification Working Group; Wendy Gibson (CLEAResult); Christopher Dymond (NEEA), David Lis (Northwest Energy Efficiency Partnerships), Gary Hamer (BC Hydro), Robert Weber (BPA), and Todd Greenwell (Idaho Power); the Energy Trust of Oregon Manufactured Homes Replacement Pilot Program; and the Streamlining Steering Committee of NEEA's Regional Portfolio Advisory Committee.

NEEA received several nominations for the Tom Eckman leadership lifetime award: Frank Brown (BPA), Jeff Harris (NEEA), Chuck Murray (Washington State Department of Commerce), Lisa Schwartz (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Roger Spring (Evergreen Consulting Group), Ingo Stroup (Building Energy), and Todd Amundson (BPA). Murray received four separate nominations for the award.

NEEA will present the awards at its annual board meeting Dec. 4, in Portland.