The Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award winners were announced on April 28 at an award ceremony at the State House Cedar Creek Room. Since 1993, Environmental Excellence awards have recognized efforts and actions of Vermonters to conserve and protect natural resources, prevent pollution, and promote environmental sustainability. To date, more than 200 awards have been presented.
“These projects contribute significantly to Vermont’s environmental quality and encourage others to take similar actions to protect our resources,” said Deb Markowitz, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. “They demonstrate the importance of innovation and partnerships in enhancing and sustaining Vermont’s environmental quality.
Collectively, the award winners represent the best of the best, showcasing organizations who have exceeded regulatory requirements and made meaningful, measurable improvements to Vermont.
2016 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence winners:
Global Foundries, Essex Junction. Reduced chemical use in semi-conductor chip making processes, saving $90K in chemicals, 3.1 million gallons of water and 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and eliminating 360 tons of chemicals and 600 tons of waste per year.
Global Foundries, Essex Junction. Enhanced the overall energy efficiency of the site and reduced the use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons and ethylene glycols by optimizing the chillers. The amount of energy saved was equivalent to 1,400 tons of CO2 emissions.
Lyndon Furniture, Lyndon. Changed to a chemical-free furniture stripper that decreased the use of toxic substances and reduced waste by over 2,000 pounds per year, reducing overall waste generation by over 50 percent, toxin use by 76 percent and emissions by 70 percent.
WallGoldfinger, Randolph. Waste diversion program diverted more than 23,000 pounds of plywood, fiberboard and veneer scraps from the waste stream to partners around the state, including non-profit ReSOURCE, Green Mountain Drums, the Vermont Woodworking School and Atlantic Plywood.
Municipal, non-profit & educational category
Addison County Solid Waste District, Middlebury. Constructed a new residential drop-off facility for recycling to enable implementation of the new Universal Recycling Law (Act 148), including collecting large volumes of food waste in addition to the residential food waste it already accepts.
Boardman Hill Solar Farm, West Rutland. Implemented an innovative 150kW community solar project that is wholly member-owned, financed and managed.
Stowe Farmers Market, Stowe. Partnered with Lamoille Regional Solid Waste Management District to separate waste and compost and reduce the weekly volume of 2,500 visitors’ trash by 50 percent.
Vermont Foodbank, Barre. Food rescue initiatives have diverted 4,157,711 pounds of waste into consumable food, and the close partnership between the Foodbank and ANR gained national recognition for this work.
Vermont Energy Education Program, Montpelier. Increased awareness and understanding of energy science and the environmental impacts of energy production, reaching more than one third of all Vermont schools with at least one program.
St Johnsbury Academy, St. Johnsbury. Advanced environmental education by enabling students to install five solar photovoltaic systems in partnership with a donor and a local business, reducing costs and environmental impact.
TRY for the Environment/UVM Extension, Burlington. Partnerships between the Lamoille Regional Solid Waste Management District and UVM Extension 4-H Teen & Leadership Program reduced food waste: in six weeks, teams saw the overall amount of trash generated decrease by 20 percent and recovered 43 percent of compostable material that had previously been going to the trash.
Youth honorable mentions
Harwood Union High School, Moretown. Collected data that show existing conditions in the nearby brook and proposed a plan to minimize stormwater runoff into the brook. (Independent study)
Mad River Valley TV, Waitsfield. Received a grant from The Vermont Community Foundation to produce the film, “The Mad River: It’s Our River, and Yours.”
Mater Christi School, Burlington. Eliminated the use of plastic water bottles by receiving a grant to purchase water bottle refilling stations. Also, installed and implemented a new recycling sorting station and composting system in the cafeteria.