Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC)

Clean Air Excellence Awards

2016 Clean Air Excellence Award WinnersCongratulations to all the winners of the 2016 Clean Air Excellence Awards!The Clean Air Excellence Awards Program, established at the recommendation of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, periodically recognizes and honors outstanding innovative efforts to help make progress in achieving cleaner air.

Award-winning entries must directly or indirectly reduce pollutant emissions, demonstrate innovation, offer sustainable outcomes, and provide a model for others to follow.

General Selection Criteria and Process


Entries will be judged based on both general criteria and criteria specific to each individual category. The following general criteria will be used in assessing each entry:

  • The entry directly or indirectly (i.e., by encouraging actions) reduces emissions of criteria pollutants, hazardous air pollutants, and/or greenhouse gases.
  • The entry is innovative and unique.
  • The entry provides a model for others to follow (i.e., it is replicable).
  • The entry's positive outcomes are continuing/sustainable.

Although not required to win an award, the following general criteria will also be considered in the judging process:

  • The entry has positive effects on environmental media other than air.
  • The entry demonstrates effective collaboration and partnerships.
  • The individual or organization submitting the entry has effectively measured/evaluated the outcomes of the project, program, or technology.


EPA staff will conduct an initial screening of all applications received, and will consult with outside experts to the extent necessary. A special CAAAC workgroup will provide advice to EPA on the award entries. The EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation will make the final award determinations.

Award recipients will be recognized by the U.S. EPA at a special awards ceremony held in Washington, DC.  Awards are honorary and do not include monetary recognition.

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Apply for an Award

Entry Requirements

  • Use the provided Application guidelines and entry forms
  • Submit each entry under only one award category.
  • You may submit any number of different projects as separate entries.
  • You may combine multiple projects into one entry if all of the projects fall under the same category.
  • Supporting documentation may include:
    • images/video
    • documents (e.g., an evaluation of the outcomes of the initiative; product literature; development plans; press releases; copy of the state, local, or tribal policy)
    • any other information that may assist program judges in making award decisions.
  • If your entry does not win an award, you may reapply with the same or different project in future years.
  • If your entry does win an award, you may still apply with different projects in future years. 


The Clean Air Excellence Awards Program is open to both public and private entities. Entries are limited to efforts related to air quality in the United States.

Submitting Entry Materials

Email entry form and supporting documents to:
- OR - 

Mail entry form and supporting documents to: 
Clean Air Excellence Awards Program 
ATTN: Catrice Jefferson
US EPA, Office of Air and Radiation (6103A)
Mail Code 6103A, Room 5442
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460

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Clean Air Technology Award

In addition to the general criteria, the following criteria will be used in assessing each entry:

  • The technology is commercially viable and can be widely applied.
  • The technology is cost-effective relative to other air pollution control technologies that already exist.
  • The technology is developed at the prototype stage or beyond.

2016 Recipient: Georgia Ports Authority

Electric Rubber Tire Gantry Cranes project

Clean Air Technology Award  2016 Recipient Georgia Ports AuthorityThe Georgia Ports Authority is implementing an electric rubber tire gantry (RTG) crane program that will transfer the entire RTG fleet to electric power over the next ten years.  This will virtually eliminate the diesel fuel usage for these machines and reduce the terminal’s diesel emissions.  The eRTGs use 95% less diesel fuel than conventional RTGs with corresponding reduced diesel emissions for improved local air quality.  Further, diesel is decreased by over 3 million gallons a year for a net saving of over $9 million dollars while providing a strong, positive environmental message to the community and customers.  This cutting edge technology, built to a GPA design, is the first electric RTG installation at a port in North America.

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Community Action Award

The Community Action Award applies to community partnership efforts that directly or indirectly (i.e., by encouraging actions) reduce emissions of criteria pollutants, hazardous/toxic air pollutants, and/or greenhouse gases. In addition to the general criteria, the following criteria will be used in assessing each entry:

  • Diverse stakeholders participate in planning and decision-making efforts aimed at improving air quality.
  • Partnerships among business, industry, government and non-government organizations are established and help to leverage community resources where appropriate.
  • Projects identify and address the community's priority air quality concerns.
  • Project has significantly improved the community quality of life.

2016 Recipient: Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District

Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies project

Community Action Award  2016 Recipient: Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District Thousands of ships going to and from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach travel through the Channel, emitting air pollution and raising the risk of ship strikes on endangered whales. Ships account for more than 50% of ozone-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions in Santa Barbara County and more than 25% in Ventura County. To help improve air quality in these two counties, the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District implemented a voluntary trial program encouraging ships traveling through the Santa Barbara Channel to reduce their speed to 12 knots.  This led to a reduction of more than 500 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 12 tons of NOx emissions, with no whales being hit by these ships.

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Education/Outreach Award

This category applies to efforts to educate and/or disseminate information to the intended targeted audience(s) about air quality and related issues. In addition to the general criteria, the following criteria will be used in assessing each entry:

  • The education/outreach program increases public awareness about the importance of clean air.
  • The program improves access to information on clean air issues.
  • The program successfully reaches the intended targeted audience(s).
  • Development of the program is completed or substantially underway.

2016 Recipient: Smartpower and National Grid

Rhode Island Energy Challenge:  “Find Your Four!”

Education/Outreach Award 2016 Recipient: Smartpower and National GridThe Rhode Island Energy Challenge: “Find Your Four!” engaged National Grid utility customers across the state to ‘find four’ simple energy reductions they can undertake in their homes or businesses.  The Challenge conducted an extensive outreach campaign, including sharing flyers at schools, in-person educational sessions, and a survey of residential electric and gas customers.  “Find Your Four!” broadened awareness with targeted towns and organizations and created leads for energy efficiency programs. When a community reaches 5% participation, they are named “A Rhode Island Energy Champion” and a street sign is displayed in their city.

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Regulatory/Policy Innovations Award

The Regulatory/Policy Innovations Award applies to regulatory or policy initiatives and programs implemented across all levels (state, local, tribal, non-profit, industry, etc.). In addition to the general criteria, the following criteria will be used in assessing each entry:

  • The regulation or policy encourages actions that go beyond compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  • The regulation or policy provides flexibility to the regulated community.
  • The development process for the regulation or policy has included a stakeholder (e.g., public) involvement component.
  • The regulation or policy has been put into effect.

2016 Recipient: Southern Ute Indian Tribe Air Quality Program

Tribe Implementation of a Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit Program

Regulatory Policy Innovations Award  2016 Recipient: Southern Ute Indian Tribe Air Quality ProgramThe Southern Ute Indian Reservation is in the San Juan Basin of southwest Colorado and is a center for natural gas production.  To improve the air quality for Tribal members and residents within the Reservation, Tribal members worked with the state of Colorado to direct air quality policy and develop air pollution source regulations.  The result was that the Tribe began fully implementing a Title V operating air quality program, taking over 33 permits from the EPA and conducting 27 of their own permit inspections since 2014.  So far, this is the first and only approved Title V air quality permit program in Indian country, setting an example for other Tribes to implement more sustainable air quality programs.

2016 Recipient: Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District

Regulatory Policy Innovations Award 2016 Recipient: Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control DistrictOwens Lake PM10 Project

This project involves cleanup of the dried Owens Lake bed, which is a significant source of PM10 (particulate matter 10 microns in diameter or less).  The Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District developed leading methods to identify pollution source areas, analyze particulate emissions, and determine suitable pollution control measures.  This project is 48.6 square miles, making it the largest PM10 emission control project in the world, and has led to annual air pollution reductions of 75,000 tons.

Transportation Efficiency Innovations Award

The Transportation Efficiency Innovations Award applies to programs and projects that make transportation systems more efficient and reduce air pollution in the process. In addition to the general criteria, the following criteria will be used in assessing each entry:

  • The project or program increases the number of available transportation options, improves transportation efficiency (e.g., fewer vehicles miles traveled or better fuel consumption), and/or reduces travel time and costs, with the result of improving air quality.
  • Development of the project or program is completed or substantially underway.

2016 Recipient: UC Irvine Transportation Services

Sustainable Transportation Program

Transportation Efficiency Innovations Award 2016 Recipient: UC Irvine Transportation ServicesCampus driving culture at UC Irvine has been turned on its head due to a wide range of sustainable commuter options implemented by UC Irvine Transportation Services.

The second largest employer in Orange County, UCI has developed a wide range of sustainable commuter travel options which has enabled the campus to not only meet, but exceed by 30% the South Coast Air Quality Management District mandate to reduce emissions from employee commutes. The goal was to make sustainable travel options seamless, including the use of vanpools, carpools, trains, buses, and bikes. Through its broad adoption of sustainable transportation, UCI annually reduces over 40 million vehicle miles traveled, saves 21,000 metric tons of GHG emissions, removes thousands of vehicles from campus and regional roadways each day, and defers the need to build more parking infrastructure. 

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Thomas W. Zosel Outstanding Individual Achievement Award

The Thomas W. Zosel Outstanding Individual Achievement Award recognizes up to one individual for outstanding achievement, demonstrated leadership, and a lasting commitment to promoting clean air and helping to achieve better air quality.

In addition to meeting the general criteria, the candidate should be an innovative leader in his or her field and demonstrate a lifetime of achievement in promoting clean air. Candidates for this award must be nominated by a third party.

2016 Recipient: Dr. John C. Wall

Thomas W. Zozel Outstanding Individual Achievement Award  2016 Recipient: Dr. John C. Wall

Dr. Wall has played a major role in reducing commercial vehicle engine emissions throughout his career.   A champion of alternative fuel technology, he has promoted the development of renewable fuels, fuel cells and other advancements for future technologies to help the world meet its energy and environmental challenges.  Dr. Wall played a key role in advancing the landmark 2010 heavy-duty vehicle emissions standards and worked with the EPA and multiple other stakeholders to establish the first commercial vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel consumption standards.

Gregg Cook Visionary Program Award

The Gregg Cooke Visionary Program Award recognizes the air quality project or program that most successfully blends aspects from two or more of the existing awards categories (i.e., Clean Air Technology, Community Action, Education/Outreach, Regulatory/Policy Innovations, and Transportation Efficiency Innovations). The program must also meet the general criteria.

This was last awarded in 2015.

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