My friend and one of the nation’s leading pioneers in energy efficiency, Blair Hamilton of Burlington, Vermont, died on April 8, 2011 after a long battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was first diagnosed with the disease in 1991, but continued his highly productive work for two more decades.
In 1986, Blair was the cofounder with his wife Beth Sachs of the nonprofit Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC). At VEIC, he was the visionary and driving force behind Efficiency Vermont, the nation’s first “efficiency utility.” Efficiency Vermont has set the benchmark for how utilities can support energy-efficiency improvements; the program has been emulated not only in the U.S. but also worldwide.
Despite his long battle with cancer, Blair was the policy director at VEIC, and he continued to lead innovative efficiency initiatives nationwide—and even worldwide—right up until his death. I had lunch with Blair just last month at the March 2011 NESEA BuildingEnergy Conference, where he was doing what Blair has always done so effectively: championing energy efficiency.
A lot of people may not realize that Blair was also part of the team at MIT that invented low-emissivity coatings on suspended plastic window films (like those sold today as Heat Mirror). This pioneering work led to low-e coatings directly applied to glass—through which window performance has improved dramatically.
We will greatly miss Blair and the dedication and enthusiasm he brought to the energy-efficiency movement. In his honor, VEIC has established the Blair Hamilton Memorial Energy Efficiency Fund for innovation in energy and social justice; donations can be sent to VEIC, 255 S. Champlain St., Burlington, VT 05401.
April 19, 2011
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