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NEEA's BetterBricks Awards honor champions of green buildings in Montana

Four Montana energy efficiency leaders recognized at third annual BetterBricks Awards

Helena, Mont. —The 2012 BetterBricks Awards event honored Montana’s leading green building professionals who design, build, operate and advocate for high performance commercial buildings at the 2012 Montana Energy Management Conference. Susan E. Stratton, executive director of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), was the keynote speaker. She spoke to more than 100 attendees about successful energy efficiency projects throughout the state made possible by collaboration between NorthWestern Energy, the Western Montana Public Utilities and NEEA.

The BetterBricks Awards celebrate the champions of energy efficiency whose forward-thinking business practices raise the bar and industry standards. The Awards recognize architects, engineers, building operators, facility managers and other building professionals for their leadership in reducing the use of energy and other resources in commercial buildings.

“I am proud to recognize this set of amazing and diverse Montana leaders. They understand the impacts and bottom-line benefits of better-designed buildings, better managed properties and critical initiatives such as NEEA’s BetterBricks,” said Susan E. Stratton, executive director of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA). “These standout individuals are true energy efficiency heroes who are using passion and know-how to help Montana’s economy…and our community.”

The winners in the following categories were:

• Architect: Jim Shepard
Chairman of the Board, CTA Architects Engineers, Billings

• Design Engineer: Chris Batson, P.E.
Public Buildings Energy Supervisor, Montana State Building Energy Program, Helena

• Facility Manager / Operator: Co-Winners
Dan Stevenson, Campus Engineer, Montana State University, Bozeman
Mark Chitwood, Resource Conservation Manager, Kalispell Regional Medical Center, Kalispell

A panel of judges comprised of industry professionals, utility representatives and green building experts determined the winners.

To achieve high performance buildings, award winners used a variety of best practices such as utilizing local climate in site designs, employing early design energy modeling, supporting building commissioning, educating tenants and staff about sustainability and implementing better building operations. Their projects have achieved substantial energy savings, reduced building operation and maintenance costs and enhanced productivity of building occupants, among other benefits.

About BetterBricks
BetterBricks is the commercial building initiative of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), which is supported by Northwest energy efficiency organizations and electric utilities including NorthWestern Energy.  Through BetterBricks, NEEA advances ideas to accelerate energy savings in new and existing commercial buildings. BetterBricks education and training, online resources and recognition of industry leaders guide and inspire building professionals to embrace best practices, improve energy performance and achieve their sustainability goals. Visit to connect to these powerful energy ideas and more.

About NorthWestern Energy
NorthWestern Energy is one of the largest providers of electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving 665,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.  Our utility operations consist of regulated electric and natural gas distribution, transmission, energy supply and non-regulated electric operations.  In addition, we are pursuing electric transmission and generation opportunities. Visit