The Blue Skies Awards recognize individuals and organizations taking exemplary steps to improve air quality in the PAMZ region. The awards recognize achievements in:

  • Innovation and application of technology to reduce energy use and air pollution;
  • Environmental protection activities that reduce air pollution, conserve energy, or protect environmental health;
  • Public education and outreach activities that reduce air pollution to protect and promote a healthy environment.

Awards are normally presented every two years on Clean Air Day. However, the 2020 Blue Skies Awards were deferred to 2021 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

While we are still coping with the impacts of the pandemic, we will be running the 2021 Blue Skies Awards as planned. This year’s ceremony will be held virtually on Clean Air Day, June 2, 2021. The nomination deadline is April 23, 2021.

Eligibility

Individuals, businesses, educational institutions, local government agencies and not-for-profit organizations whose exemplary actions occur in the PAMZ region are eligible, and may be nominated by themselves or others.

Nomination process

Nominations must be submitted to [email protected] by midnight on Friday, April 23, 2021.

Please describe:

  • What the nominee initiated, developed, implemented, or managed that made a positive environmental contribution (one-page maximum);
  • Why you believe the nominee deserves this award (one-page maximum);
  • Resulting benefits or expected benefits to the environment, as a result of the nominee’s initiative(s) (one-page maximum);
  • Level of participation and awareness by others in the community (one-page maximum);
  • Demonstration of leadership, creativity, innovation and social responsibility (one-page maximum).

Include at least two letters of reference. One letter can be from the nominator, if the nominator is not also the nominee.

Nominations may include samples of the initiative, if available such as pictures, videos, reports, etc.

Nomination Forms can be found here: 2021 Blue Skies Awards Nomination Form

Selection of recipients

The PAMZ Selection Committee will award recipients based on the information submitted. All nominees will be contacted to advise them of the decisions of the PAMZ Selection Committee. The number of award recipients is at the discretion of the PAMZ Selection Committee. Recipients will be advised of the award by May 3, 2021 and contacted to coordinate award acceptance for the planned virtual event.

For more information, contact Bailey Doepker at [email protected].

Virtual event

The awards ceremony will be held virtually on June 2, 2021. The ceremony will provide recipients an opportunity to showcase their achievements. Award recipients will be asked to accept their award either by direct participation at the online event or through a pre-recorded message provided in advance. Method of acceptance will be discussed with recipients following award selection and will be coordinated with the support of the PAMZ Communications Committee. A video recording of the virtual awards ceremony may occur.

2021 Award Recipients

The Red Deer Association for Bicycle Commuting (RDABC) hosted Cyclovia events in Red Deer in 2018 and 2019. The 2019 event saw several major downtown streets closed to motor-vehicle traffic for four hours to allow people of all ages and abilities to use them for any non-motorized activity. Encouraging active transportation is important because emissions from motor vehicles are one of the largest sources of air pollution in Red Deer. Cyclovia’s goal of reducing motorized transportation helps both The City and the Province achieve their emissions reduction goals.

Lacombe County was recognized for their longstanding dedication to environmental stewardship. In 2013 they implemented an environmental policy and completed a comprehensive State of the Environment Report. They made firm commitments to the environment when they released their 2014-16 and 2021-2026 Environment Management Plans (EMP). In 2021 they installed a 115.2 kWh solar photovoltaic system on the roof of their shop building.

The Town of Innisfail and Elemental Energy collaborated on the Innisfail Solar Farm to produce clean, sustainable energy. The Innisfail Solar Farm uses some of the most current technology to generate electricity. As demand for electricity continues to increase and environmental issues are of growing concern to energy consumers, solar power provides an alternative to traditional methods of power generation. The resulting community funding that came as a result of the collaboration between the Town of Innisfail and Elemental Energy is unique and provides obvious social benefits to the community.

Ermineskin Cree Nation created the Sundancer Solar Project. The Sundancer Solar Project is a solar generation plant that started producing energy on March 25, 2020 and had exported 1707 MWh of solar energy to the grid as of April 21, 2021. During that time, the project offset the equivalent of 973 tonnes of carbon dioxide. After the success of the first project was proven, the Ermineskin Cree Nation immediately began planning for the development of a second MW expansion that will double the size and value of the solar farm.

The 2021 PAMZ Blue Skies Awards – Virtual Awards Presentation Ceremony 

2018 Award Recipients

NOVA Chemicals – As part of NOVA Chemicals’ commitment to sustainability and continuous improvement in their operations, in 2014 they initiated a Furnace Refurbishment Project related to the Ethylene 2 manufacturing facility at the NOVA Chemicals Joffre Site. The goal for this project is to achieve a 30%-40% reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions. 5 of 11 furnaces have now been refurbished with 4 of the remaining 6 scheduled for completion by 2021.

Developments 2 Inc. Timberlands Market ProjectThis retail mall development is an industry leader in environmental practices, including several that support clean air within the PAMZ region. Through an investment in solar energy using solar panels, a focus on encouraging pedestrian traffic and green operating guidelines for tenants, the project has created a visible leading example of sustainable development with a focus on reducing environmental impact.

Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) Program– The Counties of Mountain View, Red Deer and Lacombe operate ALUS programs in partnership with ALUS Canada. The ALUS program supports farmers and ranchers who adopt beneficial land stewardship practices on marginal agricultural lands, which enhances natural ecosystems. The program helps farmers and ranchers to produce cleaner air in concert with a range of ecosystem services, including cleaner water, more biodiversity, and flood and drought mitigation.

2016 Award Recipients

Terry Krause was recognized as an outstanding role model with a 2016 Blue Skies Award. Terry has embarked on a personal journey to live an environmentally responsible lifestyle on a 2.5-acre lot just outside of Red Deer. He has broken with convention to create a home and garden that minimize his environmental footprint. By incorporating things like high efficiency hydronic heating, insulated external roll shutters over large windows, and a 4 kWh grid-tied solar system which provides 130% of his annual electricity needs, Terry has shown how the commitment of one individual can reduce emissions into the environment.

Red Deer Public and Catholic School Divisions were recognized with a 2016 Blue Skies award for promoting the Idle Free Program in their respective schools. By February 2016, all 38 Red Deer schools sites throughout both Divisions were established as Idle Free. All schools have established themselves as idle free zones, and continue to promote the importance of being idle free to drivers in their school communities.

Border Paving received a 2016 Blue Skies Award for its 74.88 kW solar installation, which generated 82 MWh of electricity and reduced GHG emissions by 51 tonnes in 2015. Border Paving recognized that their business is carbon and emissions intense, and wanted to demonstrate leadership by generating clean solar power from their rooftop. This is the largest private solar installation in Red Deer, spearheaded by the company and developed without grants or incentives from government.

Ferus Inc. received a 2016 Blue Skies Award for increasing transportation options by investing in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) infrastructure throughout Alberta to help industry transition away from diesel. By reducing diesel fuel use in heavy duty applications, Ferus helps prevent many forms of pollution including ozone. Reducing diesel pollution, especially fine particulate matter and its precursors, will positively affect human health. Ferus is also walking the talk by converting their own fleet to operate with natural gas.

The City of Red Deer’s Collicutt Centre was recognized for installing Combined Heat and Power (CHP) in 2014, in partnership with ATCO Gas. Using CHP, the Collicutt Centre generates its own power and heat for a lower cost than if The City would have to pay for both heat and power from a utility company. ATCO estimates that the CHP unit, combined with its waste-heat recovery technology will save the facility nearly $35,000 per year in energy costs over the life of the project. In 2015 conventional electricity use at this facility was reduced by more than 30% and GHG emissions by 760 tonnes, akin to taking 160 cars off the road.