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.

This Q&A series highlights the impressive efforts of the award recipients, starting with:

Read the full responses below and stay tuned for the second round of Q&A’s with the remaining winners.


Get to know the Hydraulic Institute:

The Hydraulic Institute (HI) was recognized with the Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Innovation for its Energy Rating Program, which allows users to view and verify data that indicate the power savings obtained from a pump system upgrade. The program offers the largest database in North America for easy identification of pump technologies that capture energy and cost savings. The program also includes Utility Resources, a collection of tools and educational materials designed to drive the development and implementation of incentive programs that advance pump system energy savings, while helping utilities meet regulatory goals and providing direct value to customers.

  1. What is unique and innovative about the Energy Rating Program?
HI Energy Rating Program WINNER

Pump energy consumption can be complicated to the untrained eye, so the Energy Rating (ER) program is unique because it takes the data and provides a label that clearly communicates relative energy savings for each specific pump compared to similar pumps available on the market. The ER Program was the first public database to provide qualified energy efficiency data for pumps. This provides a verified resource that can be used to incentivize the adoption of pumps that will reduce energy demand. Additionally, the ER program provides Utility Resources so utilities can more easily develop programs for pumps and use the ER database for their qualified product list.

  1. What role has the Northwest played in the success of the program?
    The Northwest was a key driver and early adopter of the program, with several critical first steps occurring in the Northwest. NEEA was a great advocate for the development of the ER program. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Regional Technical Forum (RTF) developed planning and subsequent proven measures that utilize the ER. The RTF work, along with additional research from NEEA, will support utility programs in using the ER and ensure the long-term success of the program. Additionally, the first distributor to package products using the program’s Energy Rating Certificate was in the Northwest.
  1. What are the biggest challenges the program faces in getting adopted in the market? 
    The biggest challenge continues to be awareness – on several fronts. First, the awareness that investing in pumping systems represent huge savings potential and also that the database and the resources are available to develop pump efficiency programs. There is a need for the energy efficiency community to spread the word and share success stories with others, so that the program can continue to grow.
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  1. How can an organization get information/resources on saving energy by upgrading their pump system? What are some key things to consider in evaluating an upgrade?
    The first step is to document the pumps in the facility, with the connected horsepower and estimated operating hours, and any maintenance costs that are available. This assessment provides an organization with information on what pumping systems will likely provide the most savings from an upgrade. The Hydraulic Institute provides a certification of Pump System Assessment Professionals (PSAP) and our educational foundation, Pump Systems Matter, provides educational resources and training on pump system assessment and optimization. A key thing to consider is to not just replace old equipment in-kind. Rather, organizations should take time to work with trusted vendors to replace old pumps with ones that are sized and controlled properly for the system.
  1. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
    Thanks to the alliance for recognizing HI’s efforts in creating the Energy Rating Program. HI has been working on this for some time and it would have been much more difficult to launch without the support of the Northwest. HI looks forward to the growth of the ER program and the advancement of programs that incentivize the adoption of energy saving pumps.


Get to know Larry Blaufus: 

Larry Blaufus headshot chairperson award

This year, the alliance added the Chairperson’s Award, an honor bestowed by NEEA’s Board chair and executive director in recognition of individual dedication and effective, long-term commitment to advancing energy efficiency. The inaugural recipient of this award is Larry Blaufus, who retired from Clark Public Utilities in 2019 after being actively involved in the proliferation of energy efficiency in the Northwest since 1978.



  1. Congratulations on being recognized by the energy efficiency community in the Northwest. What parting advice would you give to the next generation of energy efficiency professionals?
    The great news is that the concern we had a couple of years ago that there would be an “EE brain drain” from EE professional retirements did not occur. The EE professionals that have stepped in to take the reins are incredibly talented, knowledgeable, and competent. And they lead with kindness and they understand the strength of working collaboratively, not just within their organization but across the region. I would add that the NEEA staff are a wonderful example of this great news. My parting advice is simply to keep this game-winning attitude and the strength it brings to the EE community as a key part of our core values.
  1. Looking back on your career, what accomplishment/s are you most proud of?
    I have been so fortunate to work for over 40 years for two incredible organizations: PacifiCorp and Clark Public Utilities. The people at each of these organizations and others we partnered with are what made these work experiences so special. I think my EE accomplishments are so intertwined with the people I worked with that each of these shared moments in my career would not have happened without teamwork. We should have a collective pride. Thinking back there have been so many accomplishments but five examples I think we should be most proud of. Learn more about Larry's accomplishments >>
  1. If you had a time machine, is there anything that you would go back and change?
    Yes. I think we can all think of times when we could have given more effort or maybe handled a situation better to improve results. I like to think that a couple of my strengths are to be a good listener, be a lifetime learner and to always work to be a better person…to have continuous improvement. So, if I got into Mister Peabody’s Wayback Machine, a fictional time machine that goes back in time to visit important events in human history, it would have been to go back and participate in the first conversations on EE equity. I would have loved to have been in the room when the Energy Trust of Oregon, Seattle City Light and others were formulating their thoughts and resulting actions in this area. I wish I would have been more involved with this effort. This work continues today…I encourage all EE professionals to be a part of this important work.
  1. Energy efficiency is an ever-changing industry. Do you have a sense of the biggest changes, or challenges, that lie ahead for efficiency in the region?
    The obvious ones are the inherent risk of customer site visits and working remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lots of lessons are being learned every day in the travel industry, utilization of products like Zoom and online services that all may be transferable to EE work. Call centers may also be playing a larger role in the future, too.
  1. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
    Two things. First, to always remember the customer in our EE work. During my first run on the NEEA Board it had a much larger number of members. At that time there were two customer representatives including Richard Beam, Providence Health System and Norm Beckert, Boise Cascade Company. They each brought a different perspective, consistently challenging Board priorities, and seldom voting with the rest of the Board. In my view they offered important insights. During my second stint on the Board and continuing to today, Ben Otto is the public interest representative. Ben does a good job of keeping the interests of the customer in the conversation. I think this is an important position that should always be present in Board deliberations.

    Second, I have always wondered why a recently graduated Pacific University student was lucky enough to be selected to be an energy consultant for Pacific Power in 1978. My original mentors including Glenn Jackson, Barney O’Doherty, Buzz Thielemann, Dibb Jamison and Russ Grove were knowledgeable, patient and kind. The training and work experiences that I received from the very beginning have shaped my individual dedication and effective, long-term commitment to advancing energy efficiency. All I know is that at the end of the day I can say that being an EE professional was a great choice that led to a wonderful career of meaningful work.

Larry's five most memorable accomplishments:

  • Project SWEEP, an industrial custom energy efficiency project with SEH America, Clark Public Utilities' largest industrial customer, is Number 1. This single site industrial energy efficiency project saved the second most kWh’s of all time in the Northwest and possibly in the country. This was an incredibly challenging project that required working with flexibility and adaptability at each step in the process. A project of this scope and magnitude did not happen without the extraordinary effort of the customers, BPA, Energy Smart Industrial and Clark Public Utility staff. Core team members included Nirav Sheth, Todd Gleason, PE (recognized by Oregon Association of Professional Energy Managers with the Energy Manager of the Year award), and Hobata Son, SEH America; Chris Milan and Todd Amundson, BPA; Steve Martin and Erik Holman, Energy Smart Industrial; and Sam Walker (later Zeecha Van Hoose) and me, Clark Public Utilities. It must be noted that Clark Public Utilities senior management and the Commissioners were always supportive and worked to find a way to say “yes.”
  • Chairing the NEEA 2020-2024 Business Plan Ad Hoc committee and the game plan that resulted for the region to implement. An incredible example of teamwork and collaboration in the face of vastly different priorities and goals! I appreciated the engagement and support of Andrew Grassell, NEEA board chair (as well as all board members especially those participating on the committee as needed including Scott Coe, Michael Cosgrove, Monica Cowlishaw, Theresa Drake, Dan Johnson, Bonnie Rouse, Bob Stolarski, Kim Thomson, and Deb Young); Brent Barclay, BPA (my confidant and sounding board); Susan Stratton, NEEA Executive Director (every participating member of the NEEA staff were great and Becca Yates, Julia Harper, Susan Hermenet, Kyle Burchard and Jeff Harris went above and beyond); and the region’s energy efficiency organizations. All were instrumental in producing this roadmap for success.
  • In 1998 I had the honor of facilitating the implementation of the very first USA EnVINTA One2Five engagement at Oregon Health and Science University with Ali Sadri, an incredible forward-looking facilities manager and Bob Helm, Pacific Power program manager. This unique product was offered by Energetics, an Australian engineering company that came to the United States following the PacifiCorp purchase of Australian utility PowerCor in December 1995. OHSU was and is a PGE customer that we were able to work with as an acquired large customer as part of the 1998 customer choice pilot program in Oregon. This was a highly successful engagement and could very well be considered the birthplace of Strategic Energy Management in the Pacific Northwest. Bob later led the SEM effort at NEEA.
  • In the late 1980’s, Pacific Power was one of the first utilities to engage in energy efficiency Market Segmentation marketing and to staff an Energy Efficiency Call Center. I was chosen to lead the effort to build a market segregation database and teamed up with New York consultant Bernice Grossman, DMRS Group, Inc, and Dave Johnsen, an incredibly talented IT specialist. My other responsibility was to manage the energy efficiency call center and fulfillment activities. Due to the success of our efforts these responsibilities were later incorporated into the larger call center effort which was concurrently being formulated. This initiative was a game changer for targeting the right customers across a six-state service area with the right EE products and services at a reduced cost.
  • In 2011, Frito Lay was facing serious challenges from increased water and sewer costs due to the expiration of an agreement that had been in place for over 20 years. I attended a meeting of civic and city of Vancouver officials to determine what, if anything, could be done to reduce these costs to keep the company in Clark County. It became obvious that cost savings projects for water, sewer, electricity and natural gas were all needed to keep the plant from being closed and moved to another more cost-effective location. The other issue for Frito Lay management was insufficient staff to implement the projects even if they could be identified. I proposed we look at the BPA EnergySmart Industrial Program. The idea was to fund an Energy Project Manager with electric energy savings but look holistically at all utility projects to reduce overall costs. In and of itself this was not an earth-shattering suggestion however we further proposed including all food processors in Clark County to both broaden the funding opportunity from a larger savings base for the Frito Lay effort but also to support smaller food processors that could not meet the 1 million kWh per year saving threshold. The catch though was that it had not been done before in the BPA ESI program. Therefore, we had to request and receive approval to have the first BPA multiple company Energy Project Manager made up of all the food processors in Clark County. Once approved we consulted with Dave Zepponi, Northwest Food Processors Association President and hired Tim McMenamin, PE, CEM and owner of Envision Controls, LLC, to be the EPM. Was the effort successful? Since 2011, Tim has teamed up with Clark Public Utility Energy Engineers, Sam Walker, Lizzy Safranski and Zeecha Van Hoose to produce impressive results for these food processor companies, anchored by Frito Lay and Great Western Malting. During this period, spanning nearly a decade, over 40 projects have been implemented saving more than 15 million kWh/year. The other fun fact: Frito Lay continues to operate in Clark County, has invested in automation and robotic technologies and has grown its operation when a similar plant was closed in California a couple years ago. A great Clark Public Utility customer success story.