VIEW OR DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT
Even amidst the ongoing challenge of the COVID pandemic and a relentless spate of climate-fueled disasters, including the devastating Marshall Fire that destroyed more than 1,000 homes in the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project’s (SWEEP) home county, this past year marked a joyous milestone for SWEEP: our 20th anniversary.
Founded in 2001 by Howard Geller as a one-person organization, SWEEP has grown to 13 staff spread across the Southwest. In the past two decades we’ve logged an impressive array of accomplishments, most notably catalyzing a steady increase in annual funding for electric utility energy efficiency programs in the region, from about $21 million in 2001 to $375 million in 2020.
SWEEP marked this auspicious birthday last September with coalition partners, SWEEP business Allies, lawmakers, staff, and Board at an event in Boulder to both celebrate our 20 years of progress and to honor Howard with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of outstanding service.
In the pages ahead, you’ll read about some of our most exciting wins from just the last 12 months: Championing a landmark package of four building decarbonization bills at the Colorado state legislature; working with coalition partners to make Nevada the 16th state to adopt clean car standards to reduce emissions from the transportation sector; updating the New Mexico sustainable tax credit to promote higher performance homes and greater benefits to low-income residents; collaborating with the Navajo Nation in Arizona to advocate for Just and Equitable Transition funding for tribes and other communities impacted by coal plant closures; pursuing adoption of a new holistic, deep energy efficiency incentive program for new commercial buildings in Utah; and partnering with the new federal administration, which happily has resumed investing in energy efficiency programs again.
I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished in the past year even in the face of significant headwinds. Yet there is so much more to be done.
Which is why SWEEP is excited to roll up our proverbial sleeves and get to work on the next chapter of our future. In the coming year, we will launch implementation of a new strategic plan that will build upon our foundation of past success by strategically expanding to take on emerging challenges and opportunities.
One growing focus area will be explicitly amplifying our work to identify and advocate for solutions to the climate crisis, including how to speed up the necessary transition away from fossil fuels through beneficial electrification of our homes and buildings, as well as our cars, taking advantage of decreasing costs and improving technologies. Similarly, as we acknowledge the institutional racism that has shaped our country, SWEEP will join with others in the conservation community to apply an equity and environmental justice lens to our work, and prioritize policies, projects, and processes that target efficiency investments and other benefits in disproportionately impacted communities. Additionally, we will take on the new opportunity presented by the historic levels of federal economic recovery and infrastructure dollars that are flowing to state and local governments; these dollars could trigger transformative changes in how we power our vehicles, buildings and industries — if groups like SWEEP can strategically shape how they are spent.
Looking back over the past year — my first at SWEEP — I’m grateful to have joined this impactful and nimble nonprofit as we dive deep in trying to solve the Southwest’s energy and climate challenges. What a fantastic team to be a part of!
Here’s to celebrating SWEEP’s first 20 years — as well as our next 20! We hope you will continue to be a partner with us on this next leg of our journey.
May 25, 2022