FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2023
Josh Valentine, Communications Director, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP)
[BOULDER, CO] – The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) announced its 2023 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards yesterday, selecting a diverse set of awardees, including a County Commissioner, law school professor, utility manager, and representative of an energy efficiency services company, as well as Salt Lake City.
SWEEP made the award announcement at its annual Southwest Utility Energy Efficiency Workshop, held this year in Salt Lake City, Utah, where Sustainability Department Director Debbie Lyons and several members of the City Council were on hand to receive the City’s award in person. SWEEP honored Salt Lake City for becoming the first Utah municipality to adopt a multifamily electric vehicle (EV) readiness ordinance to ensure that residents in new apartment buildings can charge their EVs at home, giving them the same access to transportation cost savings and convenience enjoyed by homeowners with private garages.
“SWEEP wants to personally acknowledge the elected officials and staff of Salt Lake City for your leadership in helping ensure all residents have the opportunity to benefit from the transition to clean electric vehicles,” said Elise Jones, SWEEP’s Executive Director. “Such forward thinking policy making will help save Utahns money, while reducing unhealthy smog and carbon pollution.” Added Kevin Emerson, from SWEEP’s Utah partner, Utah Clean Energy, “We applaud Salt Lake City for its leadership in creating equitable access to EV charging for those living in apartments and condos. Electric vehicle adoption is on the rise in Utah, and we hope to see other local governments across Utah take similar steps to support an equitable transition to electrified transportation.”
SWEEP also gave an award to Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones. Commissioner Jones championed Clark County, Nevada’s All-In Community Sustainability & Climate Action Plan, which was adopted by the Commission this spring, including a code amendment that will ensure new homes and businesses in the Las Vegas area are wired to accommodate future EV charging.
“Commissioner Jones’ steadfast commitment to environmental issues and his leadership on energy efficiency will help ensure a cleaner and greener Clark County,” noted Caitlin Gatchalian, SWEEP’s Nevada Representative.
SWEEP also gave a Leadership in Energy Efficiency award to University of New Mexico Law School Professor Gabe Pacyniak. Professor Pacyniak runs the Law School’s natural resource clinic, which has helped develop and champion numerous policies and programs to reduce energy waste and ease the energy burden of low-income New Mexicans, including the Community Energy Efficiency Development program and a low-income utility rate proposal.
“Gabe Pacyniak is always my go-to person for ideas, research, and assistance with any project or proposal that will help New Mexico’s low-income population,” said Tammy Fiebelkorn, SWEEP’s New Mexico Representative. “He works tirelessly to ensure New Mexico leads the energy transition with equity and inclusion always top of mind. Professor Pacyniak is an immense asset to our state and we are so thankful for his dedication, positive attitude, and ability to work with diverse interest groups to develop win-win solutions.”
SWEEP also announced two Lifetime Achievement Awards. The first went to Bruce Ray, Associate General Counsel for Johns Manville and former SWEEP board chair. Bruce has worked on energy efficiency at Johns Manville, a major insulation manufacturer, for more than 30 years, and prior to that served as senior enforcement counsel for EPA Region 8.
“Bruce has contributed greatly to the energy efficiency cause through leading regulatory and government affairs for Johns Manville for three decades,” noted Howard Geller, founder of and Senior Policy Advisor to SWEEP. “He also left his mark by serving on the SWEEP Board of Directors for many years, including a long stint as Board Chair.” Added Elise Jones, “SWEEP is indebted to Bruce for his career-long dedication to always putting energy efficiency first, and helping SWEEP be an effective leader in reducing energy waste and emissions.”
The second went to John Phelan, the energy services manager at City of Fort Collins Utilities. Soon to retire, John has worked at Fort Collins Utilities for 21 years, where he has directed the effort to advance Fort Collins’ ambitious climate and energy goals with efficiency, renewables, electrification and grid flexibility programs, and services rooted in equity and resilience.
“John has led the development and implementation of Fort Collins Utilities’ energy efficiency programs for more than two decades, programs that have exceeded ambitious energy savings goals and are integral to the city’s efforts to cut its harmful climate pollution,” said Howard Geller.
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a public interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency and clean transportation in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. swenergy.org