Celebrating 25 Years of Market Transformation

Twenty-five years ago, the energy efficiency community in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington created the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) based on a shared belief that together, the region can accomplish far more than any one organization can alone.

Scroll through the page below to read the alliance's Market Transformation milestones and accomplishments of the last 25-years.

View the 25-year Anniversary Video
  • NEEA 25 logo

    An alliance forms to guide regional efficiency, resilience and collaboration.

    In 1996, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (the Council) called for the creation of a regional organization committed to encouraging local markets to favor energy-efficient products and services. To answer this call, six Northwest investor-owned utilities joined forces with the publicly owned utilities represented by the Bonneville Power Administration to form the nonprofit Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA).

    NEEA’s first Board of Directors represented all primary stakeholders across Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Washington, including regulators, public and privately-owned utilities, energy efficiency businesses and government representatives.


    JUMP TO:   1997-2000   |   2001-2004   |   2005-2009   |   2010-2014   |   2015-2019   |   2020-Today |   Video


    The newly formed organization began with a challenging objective: in a three-year time frame, they were tasked with developing strategies to guide, affect and disrupt markets—and then proving those strategies out. The alliance quickly began identifying opportunities for region-wide savings, pooling resources to achieve more with less, and partnering with regional partners and the market to marshal in a new era of energy efficiency in the Northwest.

    Permanently elevating clothes washer efficiency.

    In 1997, the alliance began to shift consumer behavior and increase the demand for ENERGY STAR® certified washers. The alliance’s tactics—including manufacturer incentive programs and consumer awareness campaigns—successfully transformed the market by dramatically increasing efficient-washer market share and influencing a new federal standard requiring a 35% increase in product efficiency.

    Learn More
    Neea 25 timeline icons manufacturer 60

    The alliance drives the market adoption of a new industrial product.

    Cutting industrial energy consumption by up to 60%, the alliance drives innovation and market adoption of a revolutionary product: the magnetic adjustable speed drive.

    Neea 25 timeline icons building commissioning

    The alliance helps create the Building Commissioning Association.

    An expansion of the Northwest Building Commissioning Collaborative, this international organization continues to this day training and certifying commissioning providers to optimize the safety, efficiency and resilience of buildings.

    NEEA serves as a great arbiter and a great mobilizer to have great results. Being energy efficient isn’t just about saving energy, it’s about making people more comfortable, making a product look more appealing, and making people’s lives better at the end of the day.
    - Cal Shirley
    Former VP Energy Efficiency Services, Puget Sound Energy


    JUMP TO:   1997-2000  |   2001-2004   |   2005-2009   |   2010-2014   |   2015-2019   |   2020-Today   |   Video


    Empowered by the successes and lessons learned in the first three years, the alliance begins to develop its unique approach to Market Transformation that will sow the seeds of permanent change across the Northwest and the nation at large. Throughout this era, the alliance works to influence the products and behaviors of a variety of mid- and upstream market partners to set the stage for many of its long-term Market Transformation efforts.

    Neea 25 timeline icons efficient windows 75

    Efficient Residential Windows initiative debuts, achieving 75% market share in just four years.

    The initiative went on to win the ENERGY STAR and ACEEE Innovative Program awards.

    Learn More
    Neea 25 timeline icons better bricks

    BetterBricks launches as the alliance’s first-ever Market Transformation initiative.

    The platform motivates decision-makers in the healthcare, grocery, office and real estate markets to rethink their business practices around energy.

    Visit BetterBricks.com

    The alliance develops its first residential sector plan.

    Continuing to benefit the region to this day, the comprehensive plan leveraged the widely known and trusted ENERGY STAR platform and became the starting point for two of the alliance’s most successful Market Transformation efforts: the Ductless Heat Pump and Heat Pump Water Heater initiatives.

    The Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes program is born.

    Guiding the residential new construction market to build 15% more energy-efficient than state energy code requirements, this program was just the beginning of the alliance’s efforts to influence state codes by advancing practices and proving market readiness.

    Visit BetterBuiltNW.com
    138 a MW NEEA25 icon

    The alliance delivers 138 aMW of co-created savings across the Northwest.


    JUMP TO:   1997-2000   |   2001-2004   |   2005-2009   |   2010-2014   |   2015-2019   |   2020-Today   |   Video


    An era of growth and scaling, the alliance continues to elevate and expand successful Market Transformation footholds across a variety of industries and markets. This time period also sees a broad expansion of the alliance’s data collection efforts, including large-scale building stock assessments, that will grow to become a large and valuable aspect of the long-term efforts to influence state codes and product standards and specifications.

    Neea 25 timeline icons hospital

    10-year Hospitals and Healthcare Strategic Energy Management (SEM) initiative launches.

    Designed to foster energy management integration into standard hospital business practice, this alliance initiative increased SEM use in regional hospitals from 0% to 60% within ten years.

    Learn More
    Neea 25 timeline icons PC

    Northwest utilities partner with ENERGY STAR to launch 80 PLUS.

    This national program successfully elevated the market share of efficient power sources for desktop PCs and servers from 0% to 70%.

    Learn More

    CFLs eclipse 24 million units in sales in 2008.

    This milestone is the result of a comprehensive campaign launched by the alliance in 1997 in partnership with the region’s utilities, manufacturers, laboratories, government agencies, retailers and ENERGY STAR.

    Learn More

    The ductless heat pump (DHP) pilot greets the market.

    Beginning its first year with 47 trainings for more than 500 contractors, the pilot became a highly successful Market Transformation program spurring 19,000 DHP installations and a sprawling network of nearly 1,000 contractors.

    Regional building stock assessments begin.

    While most of the country relies on phone surveys, the alliance’s building stock assessments provide incredible insight for regional planning efforts. By completing these assessments every five years, the region can uncover trends and progress while pooling resources to collectively save a significant amount of money and resources.

    Learn More
    354 a MW NEEA25 icon

    The alliance delivers an additional 216 aMW of co-created savings across the Northwest for a total of 354 aMW.


    JUMP TO:   1997-2000   |   2001-2004   |   2005-2009   |   2010-2014   |   2015-2019   |   2020-Today   |   Video


    The alliance pushes its Market Transformation efforts to the next level by deepening the region’s influence with manufacturers, national organizations and government agencies. This work includes a heightened focus on emerging technologies, and expanding the reach and amplifying the voice of the Northwest by partnering with a variety of influential extra-regional organizations that multiply the region’s power while sharing the cost.

    Neea 25 timeline icons HPWH

    Advanced Water Heater Specification developed.

    The Advanced Water Heater Specification (AWHS) provides energy efficiency guidance to manufacturers developing products that thrive in the Northwest and beyond. Developed by the alliance and a host of partners, the AWHS led to the creation of a heat pump water heater conducive to the Northwest and similar climates. Two years later, Sears conducted a market test of the product, resulting in a 600% increase in sales.

    Learn More
    Neea 25 timeline icons TV

    Influencing a national leap in TV efficiency.

    In coordination with major California utilities and ENERGY STAR, the alliance’s Energy Forward program elevates ENERGY STAR specifications and state and federal standards for energy-efficient TVs. These efforts result in a 55% efficiency increase for nearly 90% of TVs sold in the Northwest.

    Learn More

    Energy efficiency proves to be a competitive advantage for the commercial real estate market.

    The alliance initiates the Kilowatt Crackdown, an energy efficiency competition designed to help large portfolio management firms understand the business benefits of wise energy management. The competition motivated more than 180 existing buildings to save 4.7 aMW.

    Learn More

    Efficiency Connections Northwest conference convenes the region.

    Now known as Efficiency Exchange, this annual conference provides a platform for regional collaboration among utilities and industry experts.

    Learn More

    SEM efforts expanded into the commercial sector and beyond.

    In addition to sector expansion, this era of the alliance's SEM advancements include debuting the nation’s first energy efficiency certification for industrial energy specialists, and the nationwide adoption of the alliance’s SEM framework.

    Visit SEMHub.com
    600 a MW NEEA25 icon

    The alliance exceeds business plan targets by achieving a total of 600 aMW of co-created savings across the Northwest.


    JUMP TO:   1997-2000   |   2001-2004   |   2005-2009   |   2010-2014   |   2015-2019   |   2020-Today   |   Video


    The alliance made another Market Transformation leap by ringing in a new era of dual-fuel efforts. Beginning with the debut of a natural gas portfolio in 2015, the end of this period cemented the inclusion of both natural gas and electric portfolios moving forward, and for the first time ever, a program funded jointly by electric and gas utilities (Next Step Homes). In addition to delivering more savings for the region, this holistic approach to Market Transformation provides the same value for Northwest gas customers that electric customers have enjoyed for decades.

    Neea 25 timeline icons GHPWH

    The country’s first gas-focused Market Transformation effort.

    In 2015, a collective of regional gas utilities launched a five-year plan to accelerate natural gas efficiency. After identifying gas heat pump water heaters as an opportune emerging technology, the alliance partnered with utilities across North America to quickly and effectively bring the product to market.

    Neea 25 timeline icons T8 Lamp

    The alliance influences T8 lamp stocking practices.

    Building on the successes of elevating TV efficiency, the alliance works with 275 distributor branches representing 40% of the region’s T8 sales to influence T8 lamp stocking practices. These efforts increased the market share of 28-watt T8 lamps from 8% to 52% by 2018.

    Learn More

    Everyone wins with energy efficiency.

    In an ongoing effort to enhance collaboration and innovation within the region, the alliance unveils the Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards—an annual, formal recognition of individuals and teams for exemplary dedication and performance in energy efficiency.

    View the 2020 Winners

    Unprecedented insight into how the Northwest uses energy.

    Replacing 30-year-old data, the Northwest End Use Load Research project (EULR) reveals how people use energy today. Among a variety of uses, EULR’s commercial and residential 1-minute interval data will allow for more accurate energy resource forecasting and provide insight into how the pandemic affected Northwest energy use.

    Learn More
    823 a MW NEEA25 icon

    The alliance delivers 823 aMW of co-created savings across the Northwest.


    JUMP TO:   1997-2000   |   2001-2004   |   2005-2009   |   2010-2014   |   2015-2019   |    2020-Today   |   Video

    2020 – Today

    The COVID-19 pandemic revealed new layers of resilience built into the alliance’s approach to Market Transformation. Over the years, the alliance fine-tuned a flexible approach based on collaboration, market relationships and continual adaptation to new circumstances and changing data. This inherent flexibility allowed the alliance to swiftly and successfully pivot tactics and strategies, proving that even during times of disruption, the Market Transformation paradigm continues to permanently change markets toward greater efficiency.

    Neea 25 timeline icons WA code

    Washington state adopts a Total System Performance Ratio (TSPR) requirement into code.

    The alliance-driven TSPR requirement requires building designers to evaluate commercial HVAC systems on whole-system performance rather than the performance of individual HVAC components. This approach will significantly increase energy savings in buildings throughout Washington.

    Learn More
    Neea 25 timeline icons DHP4states

    The Ductless Heat Pump initiative continues a legacy of lasting change.

    After almost two decades of Market Transformation interventions working closely with utilities and the supply chain, the initiative will transition to monitor continued market progress while setting its sights on new heat pump technologies and solutions to further support all customers and climate zones in the Northwest.

    Keep Reading

    In partnership with the Attachments Energy Rating Council, the alliance shepherds in the nation’s first certification program for commercial secondary windows.

    Learn More

    The ENERGY STAR Retail Products Platform begins collecting online sales data, further enriching its ability to influence manufacturers, product specifications and federal standards.

    Access to online sales data coincided with a historic spike in online shopping brought on by the pandemic.

    Keep Reading

    The alliance’s electric hybrid and gas heat pump water heater teams adapt to the pandemic’s changing circumstances, innovating new ways to strengthen partnerships and strategies.

    Keep Reading
    Neea 25 timeline icons 859a MW saved

    In only a year the alliance delivers an additional 36 aMW of co-created savings across the Northwest for a total of 859 aMW saved since 1997, equivalent to enough to power more than 620,000 homes each year.

    Thank You!

    To our funders and other stakeholders who volunteer their time, talent and resources toward making energy efficiency a cornerstone of a vibrant and
    sustainable Northwest.


    The milestones and impacts of the alliance would not be possible without the many hands across the region combining efforts to advance energy-efficient products, practices and services. We remain humbled by the alliance’s 25-year commitment of working with market partners and stakeholders to strive for a more energy-efficient future.

    - Susan E. Stratton
    Former NEEA Executive Director

    1 2020 NEEA funder block letter 01
    With Further Support From
    • Idaho
    • City of Albion

      City of Bonners Ferry

      City of Burley

      City of Declo

      City of Heyburn

      City of Minidoka

      City of Plummer 

      City of Rupert

      City of Soda Springs 

      City of Weiser

      Clearwater Power Company

      East End Mutual Electric Company, LTD

      Fall River Electric Cooperative

      Farmers Electric Company, Ltd.

      Idaho County Light and Power Cooperative Association, Inc.

      Idaho Falls Power

      Kootenai Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Lost River Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Northern Lights, Inc.

      Raft River Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Riverside Electric Company, LTD

      Salmon River Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      South Side Electric Lines, Inc.

      United Electric Co-op, Inc

    • Montana
    • Big Horn County Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Central Montana Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.

      City of Troy

      Flathead Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Glacier Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Lincoln Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Mission Valley Power

      Missoula Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Ravalli County Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Southern Montana Electric G&T Cooperative, Inc.

      Vigilante Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Western Montana Electric G&T Cooperative, Inc.

    • Nevada
    • Wells Rural Electric Company

    • Oregon
    • Blachly-Lane Electric Cooperative

      Canby Utility Board

      Central Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Central Lincoln People's Utility District

      City of Ashland

      City of Bandon

      City of Cascade Locks

      City of Drain

      City of Forest Grove

      City of Hermiston

      City of Monmouth

      Clatskanie People's Utility District

      Columbia Basin Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Columbia Power Cooperative Association

      Columbia River People's Utility District

      Consumers Power, Inc.

      Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Cowlitz PUD

      Douglas Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Emerald People's Utility District


      Harney Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Hood River Electric Cooperative

      Lane Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      McMinnville Water and Light Commission

      Midstate Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Milton-Freewater Light & Power

      Northern Wasco County People's Utility District

      Oregon Trail Electric Consumers Cooperative, Inc.

      Pacific Northwest Generating Cooperative

      Portland General Electric

      Salem Electric

      Springfield Utility Board

      Tillamook County PUD No. 1

      Umatilla Electric Cooperative

      Umpqua Indian Utility Cooperative

      Wasco Electric Cooperative

      West Oregon Electric Cooperative, Inc.

    • Washington
    • Alder Mutual Light Co., Inc.

      Asotin County PUD No. 1

      Benton County PUD No. 1

      Benton Rural Electric Association

      Big Bend Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      City of Blaine

      City of Centralia

      City of Cheney 

      City of Chewelah

      City of Ellensburg

      City of McCleary 

      City of Milton

      City of Port Angeles

      City of Sumas

      Clallum County PUD No. 1

      Columbia Rural Electric Association

      Consolidated Irrigation District No. 19

      Douglas County PUD No. 1

      Elmhurst Mutual Power & Light Company

      Energy Northwest

      Ferry County PUC No. 1

      Franklin County PUD No. 1

      Grant County PUD No. 2

      Grays Harbor County PUD No. 1

      Inland Power and Light Company

      Jefferson County PUD No. 1

      Kittitas County PUD No. 1

      Klickitat County PUD No. 1

      Lakeview Light and Power

      Lewis County PUD No. 1

      Mason County PUD No. 1

      Mason County PUD No. 3

      Modern Electric Water Company

      Nespelem Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Ohop Mutual Light Company

      Okanogan County Electric Cooperative, Inc.

      Okanogan County PUD No. 1

      Orcas Power and Light Cooperative

      Pacific County PUD No. 2

      Parkland Light & Water Company

      Pend Oreille County PUD No. 1

      Peninsula Light Company

      Richland, City of

      Skamania County PUD No. 1

      South Columbia Basin Irrigation District

      Tanner Electric Cooperative

      Town of Coulee Dam

      Town of Eatonville

      Town of Steilacoom

      Vera Water and Power

      Wahkiahum County PUD No. 1

      Whatcom County PUD No. 1

      Yakama Power

    • Outlying
    • Surprise Valley Electrification Corporation

      Sierra Pacific Power Company dba NV Energy

      Wells Rural Electric Company

      Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems

      Lower Valley Energy, Inc.