BC Hydro has named the University of British Columbia’s Professor John Robinson as this year’s recipient of the Larry Bell award for his inspirational work in imagining and promoting new sustainability solutions.

The Larry Bell award, named after a former chair of BC Hydro, recognizes an outstanding contribution to advancing energy conservation within B.C. over an extended period of time. BC Hydro announced this year’s winner at its Power Smart Excellence awards Monday night, where UBC also received a Leadership Excellence award as one of the province’s top organizations for energy conservation.

Throughout his distinguished career, Professor Robinson has been a champion of environmental responsibility. He has been an active member of BC Hydro’s Electricity Conservation and Efficiency Advisory Committee pursuing the development and promotion of new theories about behavioural change related to electricity consumption. He has been the driving force behind the creation of UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability. When it opens in 2011, it will be the greenest building in North America, demonstrating leading-edge research and partnerships on sustainable design practices, products, systems and policies.

“Professor Robinson has shown outstanding leadership and has been a tireless champion for our province’s energy future as we all work together toward achieving our provincial target of meeting 66 per cent of the BC’s future electricity needs through conservation by 2020,” said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy.

Robinson is the executive director of the UBC Sustainability Initiative, which is transforming UBC into a living laboratory for environmental and social sustainability by integrating UBC’s sustainability efforts in teaching, research and campus operations.
Robinson contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2007 and continues to raise awareness on and off campus about the effects of climate change. He also helps to educate the next generation of sustainability leaders as a professor in UBC’s Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability and Department of Geography.

“On behalf of everyone at BC Hydro, I’d like to extend heartfelt congratulations to Professor Robinson,” said Dave Cobb, BC Hydro president and CEO. “It is with the continued commitment and forward-thinking ideas of people like Dr. Robinson that we are making such great strides in achieving our conservation goals. Increasingly, we see BC Hydro’s commercial and industrial customers recognizing the importance of saving energy and it’s encouraging to note they already account for more than half of our annual Power Smart program savings – thanks largely to leaders like Dr. Robinson.”

“UBC, already one of the greenest campuses in the world, has set aggressive targets for climate action which make it a global leader in sustainability,” said Pierre Ouillet, UBC vice president, Finance, Resources and Operations. “John Robinson is helping UBC achieve these targets by making it a living laboratory for sustainability and innovation. His efforts on this important global issue have been inspirational during his 18 years at UBC.”

Now in its eighth year, the Power Smart Excellence Awards showcase the best and brightest energy conservation practices amongst BC Hydro customers. The awards strive to not only recognize B.C. businesses for their continued efforts toward energy efficiency but to also inspire other businesses to step up and make their own commitments to conservation.  BC Hydro is highlighting the leadership and achievement of the winners through an online and print advertising campaign. For more information and a list of all the winners, visit bchydro.com/awards.

About the University of British Columbia’s Sustainability Initiatives

Earlier this year, UBC announced aggressive new greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets for UBC’s Vancouver campus. Having already met international targets established by the Kyoto Protocol for its core academic buildings – which required a six per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2012 – the university will now aim to reduce GHGs an additional 33 per cent from 2007 levels by 2015. By 2020, they plan to reduce GHGs to 67 per cent below 2007 levels and by 2050 they will eliminate 100 per cent of GHGs.

About BC Hydro

BC Hydro is a commercial Crown corporation owned by the Province of British Columbia and is one of North America’s leading providers of clean, renewable energy. As the largest electric utility in British Columbia and the third largest in Canada, BC Hydro serves approximately 95 per cent of British Columbia’s population and 1.8 million customers.

BC Hydro provides clean energy solutions to its customers by balancing British Columbians’ energy needs today with respect for concerns of the environment and future generations to come.