For Immediate Release: March 27, 2018

Tucson, Ariz. – Tucson Electric Power (TEP) today presented its fifth annual TEP BrightEE Awards to 12 organizations that educate, inform and inspire the community about sustainability and energy efficiency (EE).

TEP began recognizing customers with BrightEE (pronounced “brighty”) Awards five years ago as a way to promote awareness of its EE programs, which help customers save energy while producing substantial environmental benefits. Energy savings achieved through these programs help TEP work toward the goals in Arizona’s Energy Efficiency Standard, which requires utilities to achieve a cumulative energy savings of 22 percent by 2020.

Customers participating in TEP’s EE programs saved 172,198 megawatt hours (MWh) in 2017, enough energy to power more than 17,000 homes for a year. Efforts taken last year will continue to save energy over many years, eventually resulting in  savings equivalent to 1.8 million megawatt hours – enough to power 180,000 homes for a year.

“Our BrightEE Award recipients have demonstrated their leadership in sustainability efforts. We hope their achievements will inspire others to follow in their footsteps,” said Catherine E. Ries, TEP’s Vice President of Customer and Human Resources. “TEP is pleased to serve as an energy partner for our customers to help them make wise energy choices that support their sustainability initiatives.”

This year’s award recipients include:

Community Partner of the Year: The Town of Oro Valley was honored for its EE improvements and for taking steps to make its community more sustainable. The town upgraded inefficient lighting with LED bulbs, saving both energy and money. It also began harvesting rainwater and deployed a “Green Team” to work toward integrating sustainable thinking and goals in its management and operations.

Program Contractor: Environmental Education Exchange (E3) has been teaching Arizona students about sustainability since 1991, reaching more than 526,000 students to date. Two E3 educational outreach programs for TEP – Bright Students and Safety Land – have allowed 84,000 students to explore energy sources and use, electricity generation and energy safety and efficiency. E3 also has presented TEP’s Home Energizer workshop to more than 10,000 adults, teaching them how to be more energy efficient at home.

Homebuilder of the Year: With more than 65 years of homebuilding experience, Pulte Homes continues to design homes that are up to 30 percent more efficient than an average house. In 2017, Pulte built more than 180 energy efficient homes in TEP’s service area.

Nonprofit Organization: TEP and the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona have partnered for many years to teach girls how to save energy by upgrading to efficient LED lighting. During their annual cookie sales, Girl Scouts give out 30,000 LED lightbulbs to the community. In August 2017, the Girl Scouts opened a new energy efficient building, Angel Charity Place for Girls, which promotes health and wellness, art, entrepreneurship, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for girls.

Private/Charter Schools: With three Tucson locations, the Sonoran Science Academy dedicates itself to graduating future leaders, global citizens and world-class talent by focusing on STEM education. Putting its teaching into practice, the schools in 2017 saved nearly 200,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) by replacing inefficient lighting with LEDs through TEP’s Schools Energy Efficiency Program.

Public School District: With more than 16,000 students, the Sunnyside School District is dedicated to EE improvements and sustainability. Over the past decade, Sunnyside has been one of TEP’s Top 10 energy-saving customers with nearly 8 million kWh saved. This year, the district took its commitment to a new level by having three of its schools compete in a pilot program to see which one could save more energy over a 90-day period.

Small Business of the Year: Harlow Gardens has been assisting Tucsonans with all things green since 1937. TEP is proud to call Harlow Gardens a participating nursery in our Trees for You program, which provides discounted shade trees to our customers. In 2017, Harlow went above and beyond to upgrade its facility with new energy efficient LEDs.

STEM-focused Nonprofit Organization: The Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation (SARSEF) has offered STEM programs for children since 1955. Every year, it  hosts the SARSEF Fair Week, where more than 75,000 students create research projects at their schools to try and win a spot at the show. SARSEF’s dedication to STEM education promotes sustainability among our youth.

Large Business/Government Entity of the Year: The Arizona Air National Guard completed two projects in 2017 that resulted in more than 1.5 million kWh in energy savings. It updated exterior induction lighting on streets, parking lots and building exteriors, and installed energy management systems for its heating and cooling units.

The Big Picture Award: This award honors a forward-thinking customer that has shown sustained dedication to saving energy through the use of new cutting-edge technology. Banner Health University Medical Center recently upgraded its cooling towers and installed new custom heating and cooling controls.

Sustainability Partners of the Year: The Nature Conservancy was selected for this award because of its overall commitment to sustainability, supporting its mission to conserve the land and water on which all life depends. It achieves this mission through the dedicated efforts of its diverse staff; by partnering with individuals, governments, local nonprofits and corporations; and by using a non-confrontational, collaborative approach.

Lifetime Achievement Award: David G. Hutchens, TEP President and CEO, and Gina Murphy-Darling, host of the “Mrs. Green’s World” online radio show and former recipient of a TEP BrightEE Lifetime Achievement Award, presented this year’s Lifetime Achievement in Sustainability Award to The University of Arizona (UA).

Through the efforts of its Office of Sustainability and continual participation in TEP’s EE programs, the UA has achieved more than 22 million kWh in energy savings in the past decade. As partners with TEP in the development of the UA Tech Park Solar Zone, the UA is leading the way in the research and development of solar energy and storage systems through its facilities at the Science and Technology Park, the one of the largest multi-technology solar testing facility in the U.S.

A fifth-grade class from Elvira Elementary in the Sunnyside School District also attended the BrightEE Awards event. Elvira is one of three schools in the district that participated in a recent energy-saving contest, Battle of the Buildings. The students created artwork depicting ways to save energy for their class’ ArtEE contest.

TEP provides safe, reliable electric service to approximately 422,000 customers in Southern Arizona. TEP and its parent company, UNS Energy, are subsidiaries of Fortis Inc., which owns utilities that serve more than 3 million customers across Canada and in the United States and the Caribbean. For more information, visit and

News Media Contact: Sherri Cadeaux, (520) 884-3923,

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