August 11, in the beautiful Panorama Room of the Pacific Tower in Seattle, NEEC celebrated the 20th year of its incorporation as a non-profit industry association. A sold out room of energy businesses, policymakers, utilities, and efficiency advocates enjoyed a stunning view of downtown Seattle and Elliott Bay. A welcome from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray kicked off the event (he shared the fact that he saw an energy dashboard on display at his recent visit to the Vatican!) followed by a brief history of NEEC and the industry by Executive Director, Stan Price. Seattle Councilmember Mike O’Brien told the crowd, as a native Seattleite, about the evolution of Seattle City Light from the heyday of Gold Medallion homes to a 40 year track record of conservation.
A customer panel with representatives from Boeing, Microsoft, JSH Properties, University of Washington, and Washington State University (and yes, the Husky and the Cougar sat next to one another) had an extemporaneous discussion between themselves and the audience. Lots of great content was shared including a unanimous view of the panel that the future challenges in making strides in energy efficiency were not rooted in technologies but instead in human and organizational behaviors (a completely different answer from what one would have gotten in 1995).
Just prior to lunch, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell addressed the audience and offered her congratulations to NEEC. The Senator is the ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Senator Cantwell relayed that this committee recently passed out its first major comprehensive energy legislation since 2009. The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 is an omnibus energy bill including provisions that enhance energy efficiency (see related article below). The Senator ended her remarks by declaring that this is now “The Age of Energy Efficiency” predicting that there will be substantial progress in the coming years.
The event ended with a presentation on NEEC’s newly released study written by economics consulting firm, ECONorthwest. The conclusions from this work (analysis was done for both Washington State and Oregon) indicate that there is economic value to the broader economy from doing energy efficiency beyond the traditional short term economic effects that are most frequently cited.
Thank you to our featured guests and panelists:
US Senator Maria Cantwell
City of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray
Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Seattle City Council
Emma Karlsson, Director of Sustainability, JSH Properties
John Chapman, Director of Campus Engineering, UW
Christopher Roe, Energy Resource Manager, Boeing
Darrell Smith, Director of Facilities Operations and Energy, Microsoft
Olivia Yang, Associate VP Facilities Services, WSU
KPLU – Sen. Maria Cantwell: We’ve Entered The Age Of Energy Efficiency By Bellamy Pailthorp
Puget Sound Business Journal – Energy-efficient buildings worth $216M to Washington’s economy, create 3,800 jobs by Marc Stiles
KOMO-AM: “Making commercial buildings energy efficient pumps an extra two hundred sixty million dollars a year into Washington’s economy a report by the northwest energy efficiency council also found that the practice creates thirty eight hundred jobs annually.”
Energy Efficiency 1995-2015 presentation by Stan Price, NEEC Executive Director