Get to know the winners of the 2020 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards

In December, the alliance hosted its sixth annual Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards ceremony to celebrate organizations, teams and individuals who have shown exemplary dedication to furthering efficiency in the region and beyond.

NEEA staff spoke with the 2020 award recipients to learn more about their impressive efforts. This Q&A series wraps with interviews from:

Keep reading to see the full responses and check out the first round of Q&A’s if you missed it.


Get to know the Northwest Strategic Energy Management Collaborative Leadership Team:

NW SEM Collaborative Leadership Team PNG

The Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Collaboration was awarded to the Northwest Strategic Energy Management (NW SEM) Collaborative, a community of Northwest practitioners dedicated to saving energy through strategic energy management. Founded in 2011, the Collaborative aims to help energy efficiency program administrators accelerate the adoption of SEM in the industrial and commercial sectors.

The current NW SEM leadership team includes: Katie Harper (chair), Energy Trust of Oregon; Sara York (vice chair), Cascade Energy/BPA Energy Smart Industrial; Todd Amundson, Bonneville Power Administration; Faith DeBolt, SBW Consulting; Nick Leritz, NEEA; Lionel Metchop, Puget Sound Energy; Jim Volkman, Strategic Energy Group; and Kevin Wallace, BC Hydro.

  1. Congratulations on being recognized by the energy efficiency community in the Northwest. Can you describe how collaboration has been part of NW SEM’s success?
    The NW SEM Collaborative convenes working groups and annual workshops bringing together diverse organizations and perspectives throughout the region that allows us to address and advance BIG SEM topics that we all face as program administrators, implementers, and evaluators. For example, this year, the collaborative was key in quickly pulling everyone together to discuss strategies for addressing COVID impacts in real times.
  1. What are the Collaborative’s biggest accomplishments to date?
    We’d say our biggest accomplishments is a full decade of coming together throughout the year and annually at workshops fostering productive discussions on program innovation and knowledge transfer as well as producing regional resources that range from model selection guide, a range of published papers, as well as engagement resources available on Conduit and SEM Hub.
  1. Looking ahead, what is the biggest opportunity for SEM in the region?
    Looking ahead, the biggest opportunity is to continue to build regional consensus and resources to address the big issues we are facing with COVID impacts, program barriers to advancing SEM, and leveraging SEM as a platform to continue to engage customers in energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction goals.
  1. How can an organization that is considering getting involved in SEM get information and/or get involved in the Collaborative?
    Anyone looking to get involved in the SEM collaborative or to find out more about SEM can visit for more information or to sign up.

    Individuals and program team members can easily get involved in Collaborative working groups convened around different priority topics identified by members each year. Attending the annual Collaborative Fall Workshop can expose organizations and their team members to a variety of SEM topics and offers opportunities to network and hear from leaders in the field. Signing up for the quarterly SEMHub newsletters brings notices of new regional resources and events to members’ inboxes.


Get to know Chuck Murray

Chuck Murray WINNER

Chuck Murray of the Washington State Department of Commerce was honored with the Tom Eckman Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Lifetime Achievement, in recognition of his more than 30 year-career spent in designing and implementing state energy policies and in advancing building energy efficiency.

Murray is recognized throughout North America for his expertise and influence at both the technical and policy levels of energy efficiency in the built environment. From building code development to legislative drafting to regional utility plans to weatherization program manuals, his analysis and advice have helped shape the energy systems of the Northwest and significantly influenced clean energy policy nationwide.

  1. Congratulations on being recognized by the energy efficiency community in the Northwest. What parting advice would you give to the next generation of EE professionals?
    I left my colleagues with examples of my approach and work. But I encouraged them to “make it your own.” I would pass that along to anyone.
  1. Looking back on your career, what are the accomplishment/s that you are most proud of?
    Of course, my work on codes and standards is most rewarding. Adoption of the Washington State Clean Buildings law was a great accomplishment. I also did a good number of demonstration projects. Duct testing through the Residential Construction Demonstration Project, Hygrothermal testing at WSU’s Natural Exposure Test Facility and deployment of net zero housing through the state Housing Trust Fund. Each of these has advanced how buildings are constructed.
  1. If you had a time machine, is there anything that you would go back and change?
    I would delete the word “incremental” from any of the policies I’ve written. It has slowed adoption of efficiency actions that were ready to go. Tens of thousands of new homes could have been more efficient.
  1. EE is an ever-changing industry. Do you have a sense of the biggest changes, or challenges, that lie ahead for efficiency in the region?
    Climate change and equity concerns will change the way efficiency actions are evaluated. These policy issues will have a strong influence on the evaluation of the economics of efficiency and distribution of efficiency benefits. In the end, the benefits of efficiency will increase in value.
  1. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
    Thanks again to the alliance for the recognition. And keep up the good work.

Congratulations again to all of the winners of the 2020 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards!