Written by Ed Osborn
Willimantic, CT -- The Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern Connecticut State University received the prestigious Power of Change Award for "State Difference Maker Leadership" at the Connecticut State Capitol on June 17.
The 2014 Power of Change Awards celebrate the energy efficiency achievements of more than 20 Connecticut state agencies and municipalities. The winners received awards for their innovative initiatives and approaches to reducing energy spending and protecting the environment -- efforts which benefit all Connecticut residents.
Rob Klee, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, addressed the gathering of more than 100 awardees, legislators and other guests with a message that reinforced the importance of energy efficiency, both as a cost-saving measure, and as a key strategy in reducing carbon emissions. "The cheapest and cleanest energy is the energy you don't use," he noted.
ISE Director Lynn Stoddard received the award on behalf of the institute. The First Honors was awarded in the Difference Maker Leadership State category for the work that ISE has done for energy efficiency in Connecticut, through benchmarking of state buildings, training of facility managers in efficient operations and maintenance practices, sustainability partnerships with state colleges and universities, initiation of energy conservation retrofit projects in state buildings, and coordination with green programs at K-12 schools. Ms. Stoddard was also honored with an individual Leadership Award for her work on the state's Lead by Example program.
"We are very proud of this achievement by the Institute for Sustainable Energy," said Elsa Núñez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University. "As a university that is committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship, Eastern has benefitted greatly over the years by the presence of the institute on campus. It is wonderful to see this recognition for not only the work the ISE has done at Eastern, but for the difference it has made across the state of Connecticut."
This year, the Power of Change Awards added new categories to recognize individuals, state agencies and municipalities, not only for specific energy efficiency projects, but also for leadership and innovation in making a sustainable and systemic difference in the state's approach to reducing energy use. State facility managers, town leaders, boards of education and stakeholders entered energy efficiency projects in five award categories: Top Building, Innovation, Difference Maker, Performance Contracting and Breaking Ground.
The sponsors of the Power of Change Award (the Common Sense Fund, Hampshire Foundation and the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation) brought together a panel of energy and environment experts from government, business, academia and advocacy organizations to judge the 2014 entries. The judges included John Rathgeber, President of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA); Jessica Boehland of the Kresge Foundation; and Bryan Garcia of the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, Connecticut's green bank.
In her remarks, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation President Michelle Knapik noted, "As these award winners have shown, investments in energy efficiency, energy infrastructure, best practices and behavior provide immediate, multiple and long-term benefits. These town and state leaders are demonstrating what is possible to achieve in the built environment, and they are setting an example for public leaders nationwide. Their efforts put Connecticut on the leading edge of transforming our relationship with energy -- this is a path toward a brighter, cleaner energy future."
About Eastern Connecticut State University and the Institute for Sustainable Energy
Eastern Connecticut State University is the state's public liberal arts university and serves approximately 5,400 students each year on its Willimantic campus and satellite locations. The Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern works to support energy efficiency and sustainability in Connecticut through education, research and technical support. The institute's dedicated team of staff and student interns collaborates with state agencies, municipalities, colleges, universities, K-12 schools, public and private companies, and others on practical applications of energy efficiency, sustainability and resilience. The Institute believes that a sustainable world is possible, and works to help make that possibility a reality.
About the Power of Change Award
The Power of Change Award was created to honor the best achievements and innovations in energy efficiency across Connecticut's state and municipal buildings. The award is sponsored by three Connecticut-based foundations - the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Hampshire Foundation and the Common Sense Fund. More information is available by visiting www.powerofchangeaward.org.