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.

Award recipients will be recognized at an in-person ceremony on June 22nd, 2023. The ceremony will showcase a video airing their achievements. The nomination deadline is April 14, 2023.


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 14, 2023.

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: 2023 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 1, 2023 and contacted to coordinate award acceptance for the planned virtual event.

For more information, contact Sarah MacLeod at [email protected].

In-person event

The awards ceremony will be held in-person on June 22nd, 2023. The ceremony will showcase a video airing their achievements. Award recipients will be asked to accept their award either by direct participation at the in-person 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.

2023 Award Recipients

PACE Canada is developing a utility-scale solar farm in Joffre, Alberta that will generate 47MW of clean, affordable energy. This project is incorporating innovative and sustainable practices into its solar development projects that either involve the co-location of clean energy solar generation and agricultural activities OR land maintenance regimes that promote biodiversity. The Project will result in 46,030 tonnes of carbon emission reductions in year one, and 1,198,197 tonnes over 30 years, the initial lifetime of the Project. The 47MW generated by the Project is enough to power 8,791 Albertan homes with non-polluting, low carbon energy. The project lands will remain in continued agricultural use. The landowner will continue to graze sheep and cattle and have incorporated a farm plan for the property into their overall agricultural activities. With the reduction of carbon emission and development of new sources of renewable energy, the PACE Canada project has created a positive impact on our air quality in the PAMZ region.

In the fall of 2022, the Richmond Family (Ania & Kit and their 2 boys, Aren, and Theo) was selected as 1 of 5 winning families from across Canada to participate in Canadian Geographic’s inaugural Live Net Zero (LNZ) Challenge. The Richmond Family took on this LNZ Challenge and significant time commitment it required, which has resulted in a significant reduction their household carbon emissions, and a positive impact on the air quality in the PAMZ region. The LNZ Challenge was developed recognizing that Canadian households make a significant contribution to Canada’s greenhouse emissions and that it is critical to engage Canadians to take meaningful actions to reduce their carbon footprint, which has direct impact on the health of our environment and quality of water, soil, and air. The LNZ Challenge consisted of 5 challenges, which were completed over a 10-week period. The 5 challenges were focused on: commuting, electricity usage, the house envelope, heating/cooling systems, and the holidays. The Richmond’s have been approached by many people who followed their live net zero journey, sharing that thanks to their efforts and creative ideas. Within the Richmond’s have shared that they are replacing their old inefficient furnaces, getting solar panels, considering putting in attic insulation, replacing their gas vehicles with EVs, and biking to school. Their journey brought the possibility of change to Red Deer in a more tangible way and is contributing to the growing momentum in Red Deer regarding reductions in carbon emissions and contributing to improving our air quality.

In late 2021, the Sunnybrook United Church’s installed a net zero solar power system that has resulted in a net zero impact on the electric power grid. Our church’s efforts have reduced its carbon footprint by reducing its total energy consumption. This recognition may help other faith communities and non-profit organizations understand that these efforts are not only of environmental value but are also cost-effective energy solutions. Sunnybrook Unitec Church believes that if everyone can take small steps to reduce our energy and carbon footprints it can amount to significant change in our world. The church has reduced our internal electrical consumption by 20% and our natural gas consumption by 28%. This has dramatically reduced our energy and carbon footprint. Sunnybrook United Church has an active Environmental working group. This group has been behind many of the building improvements to reduce energy consumption. This group also provides regular educational communication to the congregation and hosts meetings to educate the congregation and community on environmental issues.

Red Deer Polytechnic’s Green Campus Master Plan (GCMP) was developed in 2021 as a formal framework to move Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) forward as a leader in environmental sustainability. GCMP was developed in the context of six sustainability pillars that form the dominant strategies to move RDP forward to achieving net zero. These pillars are emissions reduction, energy generation, energy storage, waste reduction, energy efficiency, and educational opportunities. These projects include the expansion of on-site generation with ground mount solar, improving waste management across campus with recycling and organics processing, alternative transportation, battery storage, operational efficiencies, and integrating environmental sustainability into all campus project’s development and delivery. Red Deer Polytechnic has earned the opportunity to be recognized as a leader in Central Alberta. When the installation of 1.6MW of solar and 1MW CHP came to campus. Reducing air pollution, conserving energy, and protecting environmental health are key benefits of working towards and RDP goal of achieving net zero.

The 2023 PAMZ Blue Skies Awards – Awards Presentation Ceremony

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.