Awards Presentations

Outstanding Government Organization – Large City
City of Houston

Under Mayor Annise Parker’s leadership, the City of Houston has remained on the forefront of promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency. The city is taking a holistic approach to energy consumption by implementing energy performance contracting, demand response programs, retro-commissioning programs and behavioral change management programs; and raising standards for new construction, with a goal of leading the nation in the number of Energy Star and LEED certified projects.

  • The EPA has recognized the city for 4 years in a row as the number one municipal purchaser of green power and the seventh largest overall purchaser in the nation. The current purchase of 50 MW accounts for about a third of the city’s energy use.
  • The city has adopted a green building resolution, which set a target of LEED Silver certification for new construction and major renovations of city-owned buildings. A total of 297 city facilities are expected to achieve guaranteed energy use reductions of 30%, saving over 22 million kwh of electricity every year, with paybacks of, on average, less than ten years.
  • To date, over 80 buildings have been retrofitted, representing over 5.2 million square feet. Phase 1 has saved the city over $1.8 million, and phase 2 has saved over $2.2 million in energy costs. These cost savings equate to over 35 million kwh reduced through June 2012.
  • The mayor recently issued a new city policy on energy efficiency and resource management, working with departments to phase out desktop printers and space heaters and reduce excessive air conditioning.
  • On the residential side, the city has been a leader in weatherization through the Residential Energy Efficiency Program (REEP) developed with a $23 million grant from USDOE. Over 13,000 Houstonians have benefited from this program, realizing 12-18% kwh reductions and as high as 20% over summer months, and average savings for households of $60 – $125 per month.
  • In January 2012, the city adopted the Houston Residential Energy Code, which is 5% above the state code for residential energy efficiency standards. The city is also requiring new residential buildings to be solar ready.
  • The city launched the Houston Green Office Challenge (HGOC), in January 2011 as a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in private sector buildings, the largest green office challenge in the nation, with more than 375 participants. The objective of the program is to encourage property managers, office tenants and building owners to improve energy efficiency, conserve water, promote alternative transportation options, and involve employees in a concerted effort to improve the environmental performance of their business.
  • As a subset of the HGOC, Houston launched its first energy efficiency incentive program for commercial buildings. The energy efficiency incentive program (EEIP) provides a financial incentive to help building owners and property managers located in the city reduce energy consumption and increase the economic performance of their building, targeting a 15% energy savings. The EEIP is supported with $3 million in funding from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program from DOE, and a portion of these funds have been allocated only for class B and class C buildings.
  • Results from private sector participation in the first year of the Houston Green Office Challenge were reduced electricity usage by 28 million kwh and reduced water usage by 74 million gallons.
  • This year the city became a community partner in the DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge. Houston has committed 30 million square feet with a 20% energy reduction goal by 2020. On the municipal side, the city will be committing 7 million square feet.
  • Through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant to the Texas Comptroller of Public Account’s State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) grant program, Houston will install and showcase commercially available, innovative solar photovoltaic (pv) and urban wind turbine technologies on top of its LEED-certified Houston Permitting Center (HPC) (four different wind turbine technologies, 1 – 10 kw each, and two different solar arrays.) An educational display in the green building resource center will discuss the building’s energy and water use, building control systems, energy saved, energy produced and air emissions avoided.
  • The city has a robust partnership with the University of Houston’s School of Architecture whose faculty designed the first movable solar-powered container office/generator designed for emergency use. Seventeen solar units have been installed at parks, fire stations, schools and neighborhood centers.

In recognition of these and other contributions toward cleaner air through energy efficiency and renewable energy, and on behalf of the Energy Systems Laboratory, the CATEE Steering Committee and our Collaborating Organizations and Sponsors, it is our pleasure to present the CATEE 2012 Outstanding Government Organization Award for a Large City to the City of Houston.

The Award was accepted for the City by Ms. Laura Spanjian, Director of Houston’s Office of Sustainability.

Outstanding Government Organization – Mid-Sized City
City of Irving

The City of Irving has ten strategic goals. Goal 10: “Set the Standard for Environmental Stewardship” serves as the city’s guide to developing new and innovative programs and projects related to environmental impacts, while improving existing programs to maximize efficiency and performance.

  • Irving recently completed construction of a new library. The West Irving Library, a net zero energy facility, was designed and constructed as a LEED Project. The project was submitted as a Gold level project, and the LEED certification and review is currently in process.
  • The solar power system at West Irving Library is a 346 KW system consisting of over 1400 solar panels, totaling about 29,000 square feet.
  • In its first year of operation, the West Irving Library solar system generated over 460,000 kilowatt hours of power. Approximately 200,000 kWh went back onto the grid, while 170,000 kWh were purchased for night-time operations, cloudy days, etc. sending a net difference of 30,000 kWh back onto the grid, surpassing its goal of "net zero energy."
  • A highly efficient geo-thermal heat pump system provides heating and air conditioning. The geo-thermal system saves approximately 25%-40% of energy consumption compared to a typical commercial heating and air conditioning system. The geo-thermal system includes 140 wells that are 250’ deep. The constant groundwater temperature at this depth provides a source for of heat exchange.
  • The city was awarded a 2 million dollar grant from DOE for the implementation of a Solar-Powered LED Street Light Project. This project removed 266 grid-connected lights along a 5-mile stretch of Texas Highway 356 and replaced them with 170 solar-powered LED off-grid lights. It is the longest corridor in Texas powered by solar LED lights and is projected to save approximately$125,000 per year and almost 2 million kWh per year.
  • As part of the West Irving Library, a viewing monitor was installed at the entrance of the library for visitors. The monitor displays information about how solar power is generated and displays in real time the amount of power generated by the system, to educate the public on the benefits of solar power. Additionally, an information panel reflecting real time data regarding the use and environmental impacts and benefits of the solar-powered LED street lights is located in a prominent area of Irving’s Central Library.

In recognition of these and other contributions toward cleaner air through energy efficiency and renewable energy, and on behalf of the Energy Systems Laboratory, the CATEE Steering Committee and our Collaborating Organizations and Sponsors, it is our pleasure to present the CATEE 2012 Outstanding Government Organization Award for a Mid-Sized City to the City of Irving.

Ms. Fran Witte, Senior Community Outreach Coordinator had been scheduled to accept the award for Irving, but the City received a site visit this week by the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award Examination Team and city staff are absorbed in that process.

Outstanding Government Organization – Small City
City of Cedar Hill

Since 2009, the City Council of the City of Cedar Hill has prioritized an environmentally friendly future and clean air for its citizens by Growing Green! Per the city’s Sustainability Action Plan, all projects have to make sense Socially, Environmentally and Economically. Various initiatives have been undertaken to lower the City’s carbon footprint.

  • A 152 kW solar PV system at the Government Center reduces the City’s purchased energy consumption by over 210,000 kilowatt hours, which equates to $21,000 per year.
  • A 4.5 kW wind turbine at the Government Center reduces the City’s purchased energy need by over 4,400 kilowatt hours or $400 per year.
  • Electric vehicle charging stations are positioned for the citizens’ and City use at the Government Center
  • A green fleet initiative purchased the City’s first two (2) all electric Nissan Leafs and will add hybrid vehicles whenever possible
  • Community-wide change is pursued by re-structuring city’s solid waste contract to be more recycle-friendly and reducing the trash pickup by 50%, which in turn, lowering the City’s carbon emissions significantly.
  • With the help of NCTCOG, the City will deploy 12 “Big Belly” Solar Recycle Compactor solar-powered recycle cans at the City’s largest 164-acre park to provide recycling amongst park users and divert over 208 cubic yards of trash from going to the landfill. The citywide solid waste changes initiated with the solar recycle cans and trash service changes have saved the City over 752,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  • Annually, all of the City’s Growing Green projects combined have lowered carbon emissions by over 1,070,000 pounds or 486 metric tons; reduced energy consumption by over 235,000 kilowatt hours, and diverted over 208 cubic yards of trash from the landfill.
  • The projects are a partnership between the City of Cedar Hill and the Independent School District to ensure the city is maximizing its return on investment, integrating these projects so that schools, citizens and visitors are able to make a trip to one location (Cedar Hill Government Center) to see, learn and experience various forms of clean energy.
  • Cedar Hill has aggressively pursued a variety of administrative, planning and public works grants for advancing these projects from its electric utility (Oncor), North Central Texas Council of Governments, State Energy Conservation Office, USDOE Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants, Bureau of Reclamation and Texas Department of Transportation — totaling $4.6 million and resulting in annual energy savings of 234,572 kWh/year and 486 metric tons of carbon dioxide savings.

In recognition of these and other contributions toward cleaner air through energy efficiency and renewable energy, and on behalf of the Energy Systems Laboratory, the CATEE Steering Committee and our Collaborating Organizations and Sponsors, it is our pleasure to present the CATEE 2012 Outstanding Government Organization Award for a Small City to the City of Cedar Hill.

The Award was accepted for the City by Ms. Renee Ramey, Customer Service Manager.

Outstanding Commercial Enterprise
Oncor Electric Delivery (Solar PV Program)

Oncor Electric Delivery’s commitment to reducing peak demand and electricity consumption among its customers is evidenced in the variety of energy efficiency programs it provides each year. Oncor launched its Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Program in 2009, targeting residential, commercial, and governmental customers within its service area. The Program, the first of its kind among investor owned utilities in Texas, offers financial incentives for Oncor customers for the installation of eligible distributed solar energy generating equipment.

  • Since its launch, the solar photovoltaic systems installed through the Program total nearly 11 MW(dc). The Program, in which over 900 customers (roughly 775 residential and 150 commercial customers) have participated, has reduced the need for over 9 MW(ac) of demand and 17,562 MWh(ac) of energy from the grid.
  • Over 100 installers have been involved in Oncor’s Solar PV Program, 43 of which have installed five or more projects, demonstrating commitment to the Program and a solar PV installation business model.
  • Fifty percent (50%) of participating installers employ staff that are North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified, showing the commitment to the solar industry within their companies and the commitment to promoting quality within the solar industry.
  • Oncor’s original commitment of $16.7 MM in incentives for this Program has grown to over $21.5 MM over the multiyear Program.
  • In order to ensure that incentive funds were distributed among many customers, a limit was placed on the size of the solar PV system that could be installed at each electric meter per year (10 kW for residential customers and 100 kW for non-residential customers). Limiting eligibility at a system size that makes sense to each utility’s specific market may be replicated to drive similar successes in other programs.
  • In 2008, a majority of the municipal jurisdictions within Oncor’s service area had never seen, or needed to inspect, a solar system. Trainings and educational events were provided for the inspections staff throughout the area to ensure they understood the solar technologies that would soon be installed and knew the resources that were available to them if questions arose during an inspection. Now, there are permitted installations throughout Oncor’s service area.
  • Systematic improvements have been made to the interconnection process to streamline the experience for both customers and installers. As system installations increased, it became more and more important to provide interconnection information to the public. Now, a distributed generation page is available to those who visit Oncor’s website where necessary paperwork can be downloaded and they can be connected with the interconnections team.
  • It has developed an installer base that has branched out to support the solar incentive programs offered by utilities across the state. In 2008, there were 15 known solar installers in Oncor’s service area. Today, this has grown to over 100. The Program has also supported the development of the installer marketplace, providing the opportunities for many HVAC and electricians to grow their skillset and become NABCEP certified. While only seven (7) PV installation companies had employed NABCEP certified installers in late 2009, there are now 50 with that credential.

In recognition of these and other contributions toward cleaner air through energy efficiency and renewable energy, and on behalf of the Energy Systems Laboratory, the CATEE Steering Committee and our Collaborating Organizations and Sponsors, it is our pleasure to present the CATEE 2012 Outstanding Government Organization Award for a Commercial Enterprise to the Oncor Electric Delivery.

The Award was accepted for Oncor by Mr. Mike Baker, Senior Program Manager, Energy Efficiency & Forecasting.

Outstanding Individual
Jennifer DuPlessis

From the nomination submittal:

“Most governmental entities across the state have suffered significant loss of funding in various forms in the past year. Whether it is from lower tax revenue or loss of state funding, public entities have had to cut back in many ways. In this fiscal environment, it can be difficult to continue to promote the importance of energy efficiency. Some entities and individuals are able to use this as an opportunity to demonstrate the value of energy efficiency and better our environment, while limiting excess expenditures and focusing on solutions that fit the current circumstances. We believe Arlington Independent School District and the work of Jennifer DuPlessis exemplifies the answer to the call for these opportunities.”

  • Arlington Independent School District (ISD) benefitted from having an Energy Manager in place to help save energy and prepare for the coming financial constraints.
  • As Energy Manager, Jennifer DuPlessis began a behavioral modification, or energy awareness program called “Turn it Off.” The program was used to get the simple message to every student, staff member, and teacher in the District that the easiest way to save energy and help our environment was to turn things off when not in use.
  • The “Turn it Off” program used low-cost, District-created elements to remind building occupants to aid in the efforts to save, including posters, stickers, memos, and events such as light bulb recycling contests, Earth Day webinars with the Environmental Protection Agency, and grant awards for energy-efficient refrigerators.
  • The program touched over 70 campuses, including over 8,000 employees and 64,000 students, who also took their message home. Through partnership with the other entities in the area, the program has captured the attention of the local community.
  • This program enabled everyone in the District to rally around the idea to “Turn it Off” and use simple energy-savings behaviors to benefit the environment and save critical funds. Additionally, as building occupants participate in energy efficiency, they begin to expect efficient use of their facilities and communicate with facilities personnel to ensure their buildings are running efficiently.
  • During the contest alone (November 2011-March 2012), Arlington ISD saved over $150,000, despite regulated electricity prices increasing. Over 5 million kWh of electricity was saved, equaling 13% of the previous year’s electricity usage. Natural gas consumption decreased 18%, compared to the same baseline. The environmental impact was equivalent to taking 776 cars off the road for the year.
  • By using in-District resources, partnering with local entities, and using outside funding of less than $1,000 for an entire year, Jennifer was able to help her District face the funding challenge. They were also able to overcome the time and manpower challenge by using volunteers in each building, who were critical partners in the success of the program.
  • Jennifer has shared AISD’s efforts with many school groups to help support others in implementing programs in their Districts. This program has already been replicated in other school districts in the North Texas area and Jennifer DuPlessis has shared her expertise on Behavior Modification through the Texas Energy Managers Association, Texas Association of School Business Officials, the CATEE conference, and other groups.

In recognition of these and other contributions toward cleaner air through energy efficiency and renewable energy, and on behalf of the Energy Systems Laboratory, the CATEE Steering Committee and our Collaborating Organizations and Sponsors, it is our pleasure to present the CATEE 2012 Outstanding Individual Award to Ms. Jennifer DuPlessis.

Lifetime Achievement
Felix A. Lopez, P.E.

Felix Lopez has served his professional lifetime promoting and advancing energy efficiency. Mr. Lopez, who has recently retired from his role at the Texas State Energy Conservation Office as a Senior Engineer and Program Manager, has supported and helped establish and administer the Texas Building Energy Performance Standards in Texas, and helped make Texas one of the leading states in energy efficiency as related to the built environment. In the last several decades, Mr. Lopez has ben involved in, led and managed numerous projects that focused on development of tools for implementing and evaluating energy efficiency in buildings, as well as projects that focused on knowledge transfer, education and training of the building industry with regard to energy codes and standards and the tools available to achieve compliance with these codes.

The support Mr. Lopez has provided to the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan and to the Energy Systems Laboratory in particular under this Plan is especially cherished by our institution as well as by the many individuals in our organization.

In recognition of Public service and consummate professionalism dedicated to energy efficiency and championing energy codes and standards in Texas to support clean air through energy efficiency and renewable energy, and on behalf of the Energy Systems Laboratory, the CATEE Steering Committee and our Collaborating Organizations and Sponsors, and with special appreciation from the Texas Home Energy Rating Organization, it is our pleasure to honor at CATEE 2012 Mr. Felix A. Lopez, P.E. for Lifetime Achievement.

Lifetime Achievement
Tom Fitzpatrick

Tom Fitzpatrick is a registered architect, and energy efficiency and sustainability advocate who has been an applying system design principle to construction, energy efficiency and quality management issues for over 30 years.

To quote him: “I am most interested in building and supporting collaborative efforts that are directed toward a sustainable future.”

Over his 30 years, Tom has served as:

  • Director of the Office of Facility Planning for the Texas General Services Commission (where he published the first sustainability guidelines for state projects in 1993)
  • Director of the Texas Building Energy Institute
  • A consultant to the Texas Energy Efficiency Partnership, a joint project of Texas environmental organizations, providing policy analysis and outreach to policy leaders on energy efficiency and renewable energy issues at state legislature and Public Utility Commission.
  • A policy analyst and liaison with Energy Systems Laboratory of Texas A&M University and the implementation team for emissions reductions through building energy efficiency; he worked to solve energy code issues and performed policy analysis.
  • President of his own venture, he has been instrumental in the adoption energy codes and above code certification programs, both in new construction compliance and enforcement efforts and existing homes in organizing new efforts to realize energy and emissions reduction potential. And in addition, as a champion of renewable energy.
  • COO of Texas HERO, he led the way in developing the first Texas Comprehensive Home Energy Audit Standard, nationally recognized by RESNET as a Home Performance Standard. He led the way in developing an infrastructure project for residential energy audits to assist homeowners in identifying cost-effective opportunities for energy efficiency in existing homes. That program received RESNET’s 2010 Industry Innovation Award, with over 6,000 homes having had comprehensive energy audits in the last 3 years and many going on to have extensive energy efficiency improvements made.
  • Executive Director of the CATEE conference, he continues to lead, by bringing the brightest minds in energy efficiency policy and application together, in order to continue “building and supporting collaborative efforts that are directed toward a sustainable future” the same effort he has quietly helped lead over the last 30 years.

Therefore, Texas HERO and the Energy Systems Laboratory would like to recognize Mr. Tom Fitzpatrick by presenting him with a Life Time Achievement Award for having dedicated his life to building and supporting collaborative efforts that are directed toward a sustainable future.

Gregg Cooke Award for Excellence in Environmental Leadership
George P. Mitchell

George P. Mitchell is an American businessman and philanthropist best known for pioneering techniques of horizontal drilling that led to economic development of shale gas, and his keen interest in science and sustainability issues. He and his late wife, Cynthia, have exemplified the spirit of generosity, creativity and collaborative problem-solving that was embodied in the late Gregg Cooke. In addition to being a successful business leader, George Mitchell continues to influence Texas’s future sustainability through his philanthropic support of environmental, scientific, historic preservation and educational initiatives.

Born in Galveston (May 21, 1919), Mitchell graduated first in his class in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University. He founded Mitchell Energy & Development Corporation (MND), an independent oil and gas company, and built it into a Fortune 500 company. After successfully developing thousands of wildcat wells, Mitchell sold MND to Devon Energy in 2002.

Mitchell has a particular interest in the preservation and enhancement of the Galveston community. For decades he led the charge to protect historic buildings in the Strand area, including the rebuilding of downtown after its recent devastation from Hurricane Ike. The Strand is also the focal point of the annual Mardi Gras celebration that was reintroduced by the Mitchells. The Mitchell family established FeatherFest in Galveston, the largest birding festival in the United States, and the Galveston Nature Tourism Council. In addition, Mitchell funds numerous public school programs, including establishment of an after-school program for at-risk children and a Music Trade Cottage for high school students. Mitchell provided funds for the development of a comprehensive assessment of education in Galveston and outlining a path to transformative and positive change.

In the mid-1970s, Mitchell developed The Woodlands, a 25,000-acre planned community north of Houston, that has been deemed one of the “greenest” communities in the U.S. with a quarter of its total area protected as green space, including greenbelts and forest preserves.

Working with national leaders, including Dennis Meadows whose book, The Limits to Growth, was a global wake-up call on the pressing need for sustainable energy technologies and food sources worldwide, Mitchell created The Woodlands Conference series and the International George and Cynthia Mitchell Prize, both dedicated to using sustainability science to find solutions that included a combination of social, economic, and environmental protection.

In 1982, Mr. Mitchell founded the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), an institution dedicated to environmental issues and sustainable growth, with special emphasis on critical regional issues such as clean air and water. Today, it generates more than $20 million in annual revenue and has a staff of more than 40 research scientists.

The Mitchells underwrote the National Academies’ landmark Our Common Journey: A Transition Toward Sustainability, the 1999 report that redefined the role science and technology can play in sustainable development.

Mitchell also gifted $10 million to create the National Academies’ Cynthia and George Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Science, a key step in developing new efforts in regard to finding sustainable solutions.

The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation is a mission-driven grant-making foundation that seeks innovative, sustainable solutions for human and environmental problems. The foundation funds high-impact projects in Texas at the nexus of environmental protection, social equity, and economic vibrancy.

To date, the foundation has distributed some $80 million in grants under the leadership of three generations of Mitchell family members. In addition, Mitchell has personally donated in excess of $300 million to causes, programs, and institutions to develop informed problem definitions and innovative solution strategies. Funding includes $44.5 million to establish the Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M and the build-out of the Giant Magellan Telescope Project.

In addition, Cook’s Branch Conservancy—5,600 acres of piney woods that Mitchell acquired in 1964—has been restored to pre-settlement conditions by the foundation. The conservancy was awarded the state of Texas’s top award for private land conservation in 2012, the Leopold Conservation Award.

In 2011, Mr. Mitchell joined the Giving Pledge sponsored by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates. In doing so, he made public his and Cynthia’s long-held private intent that the majority of their wealth would be donated to philanthropic initiatives.

This is generosity aimed at fact-based problem-solving, excellence in science and technology, and responsible leadership in environmental policy.

His late wife, Cynthia Woods Mitchell, referred to these principles in the dedication of their philanthropic foundation:

"… dedicated to enhancing the quality of life by nurturing creative and scientific solutions to human and environmental problems, with integrity and compassionate respect for the individual and his natural surroundings, intolerance of prejudice, and an emphasis on the value of education and moral uplift."

In recognition of these and other contributions toward cleaner air through energy efficiency and renewable energy, and on behalf of the Energy Systems Laboratory, the CATEE Steering Committee and our Co-hosts and Sponsors, it is our pleasure to present the CATEE 2012 Gregg Cooke Award for Excellence in Environmental Leadership to Mr. George P. Mitchell.

The Award was accepted on behalf of Mr. Mitchell by his son, Mr. Todd Mitchell.

  • Host

    • Energy Systems Laboratory
  • Gold Sponsor

    • The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation
  • Silver Sponsors

    • Carlisle HVAC Products
    • Command Commissioning
    • EUMMOT
    • METCO Engineering
    • Mitsubishi Electric
    • Oncor
    • Texas HERO
  • Collaborating Organization

    • SECO
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