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Farewell to Hal Wilhite
(17 Aug 2019) Sadly, Hal Wilhite left us this week, after a period of illness. He was one of the founders of eceee and its first director, and he served on the organisation's Board of Directors for many years.
Hal will always be fondly remembered, not the least for his relentless care and devotion to eceee. He was dedicated to promoting the role that energy efficiency should have in our energy and climate policies. He was a firm believer in putting the consumer first, with strong emphasis on the human dimension.
Hal was a true academic, never fully satisfied with his work and always challenging and wanting to develop further in order to ensure there was a rigorous intellectual foundation to work in energy efficiency. Maybe it was part of his cosmopolitan character that Hal took such a keen interest in new solutions, in people and different cultures.
He started his career as an engineer and was a lecturer in mathematics before he became an anthropologist with and academic interest in social theoretical perspectives on energy consumption and conservation.
Hal was Professor emeritus and academic director of the interfaculty research area environmental change and sustainable at the University of Oslo. He died in Berkeley California where he lived with his wife, Zehlia and his family.
An anthropologist at heart, Hal's life mission was to understand the whole picture and make sure that different, sometimes conflicting, aspects were taken into account and woven into solutions that could satisfy a range of parties.
Hal especially appreciated the importance of strong organisations advocating the importance of energy efficiency and he was constantly seeking to develop eceee to be more than just another meeting place in Europe for the energy efficiency "nerds". He saw eceee as a melting pot of ideas to ensure a better sustainable world. Hal was one of the leading figures for the creation of the eceee summer studies to ensure there was a fresh input of experience-based, peer reviewed evidence.
The energy efficiency community owes a huge debt of gratitude to Hal. We will greatly miss him. Now, with the challenges to ensure a low-carbon energy transition, it is our duty to carry his dream forward.
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eceee's energy sufficiency library contains all concept papers, workshop reports and presentations from the Energy Sufficiency project. It also highlights relevant reports from other sources to help you dig deeper and better understand what sufficiency might mean for you and our society.