[BOULDER, CO] – The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) announced its 2022 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards yesterday, selecting as awardees a member of the Nevada legislature, the Colorado legislature, and the New Mexico legislature, as well as the Town Council of Crested Butte, Colorado.
The announcement was made at SWEEP’s annual Utility Workshop, held this year in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Nevada State Assemblyman Howard Watts (District 15) was on hand to receive his award in person. Assemblyman Watts was the prime sponsor of an appliance standards bill approved by the Nevada legislature in 2021 to reduce the energy and water waste in more than a dozen common consumer and business products. “SWEEP applauds Assemblyman Watts for his commitment to energy efficiency and his leadership in championing this important legislation,” said Angie Dykema, SWEEP’s Nevada Representative. “This policy will help save Nevadans tens of millions of dollars annually, while reducing energy waste and removing one million tons of carbon pollution from our atmosphere.”
SWEEP is also giving an award to New Mexico State Representative Kristina Ortez (District 42). As a freshman legislator in 2021, Rep. Ortez sponsored two SWEEP priority bills: the Sustainable Buildings Tax Credit, which passed, and the Community Energy Efficiency Development (CEED) Block Grant Act, which was enacted a year later along with a $10 million appropriation. “Rep. Ortez is one of the hardest working lawmakers in the Capitol and a champion of pivotal policies to reduce energy burdens for low-income New Mexicans, lower energy use, and enable the state to meet its climate goals,” noted Tammy Fiebelkorn, SWEEP’s New Mexico Representative.
A third lawmaker, Colorado State Senator Kevin Priola (Senate District 25), was also tapped for recognition due to his sponsorship of multiple efficiency-related bills over the years, including bills on green building codes, utility demand-side management programs, electric vehicles, beneficial electrification, and battery storage. “Senator Priola stands out for how he puts his values around democracy and climate action first, before party or politics, as well as for his consistent and steadfast leadership on critical clean energy and efficiency policies over his many years in the legislature,” said said Elise Jones, Executive Director of SWEEP.
The final award announced went to the Town Council of Crested Butte, Colorado for being the first town in the Southwest to adopt a green building code requiring new buildings to be powered entirely by electricity rather than relying on fossil fuels for space and water heating. The town’s staff also deserves credit for its extensive preparation showing that this policy is technically feasible, economically beneficial, and resident-supported. “Crested Butte showed bold leadership in taking decisive action against climate change, in a way that supports the town’s values and traditions. They deserve our heartfelt appreciation for paving the way for other Southwest communities to follow,” said Christine Brinker, SWEEP’s Senior Buildings Policy Manager.
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a public interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency and clean transportation in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. swenergy.org