ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATiVE AWARDS:
2010 Finalists & WINNERS

Congratulations to the finalists and winners of the 2010 Environmental Initiative Awards. Read more about them below.

Energy and Climate Protection

Winner

Minnesota Schools Cutting Carbon
Students and teachers from 100 public high schools, colleges and universities are participating in Minnesota Schools Cutting Carbon (MnSCC) and working to save energy, reduce their carbon footprint, and explore renewable energy options. The three-year project is a collaborative initiative of the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Minnesota Office of Energy Security. MnSCC provides technical and financial assistance, working with student-led teams to help schools respond to climate change and reduce their carbon footprints. The assistance included an energy assessment walk-through from Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM), an action plan identifying low and no-cost actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and a $500 seed grant for each school. The estimated overall carbon reduction from the project is 2-3%, or between 8,660 and 12,990 tons of carbon dioxide.

Finalists

Minneapolis Pilot Curbside Organics Recycling
The City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Linden Hills Power and Light and residents of southwest Minneapolis are collaborating on a pilot curbside organics project. The City collects organic garbage weekly from residents of the Linden Hills and East Calhoun neighborhoods, including food waste and soiled paper products. Currently 50% of Linden Hills households are recycling their organic waste, diverting about 4 tons of organics each week. This helps create a valuable soil enhancer that replenishes depleted soils, protects against erosion, can replace synthetic fertilizers and helps retain water. The initial success of the project in Linden Hills led to its expansion into East Calhoun neighborhoods, adding an additional 200 households, and the Seward neighborhood planned for later in 2010.

Target Center Green Roof
An effort by the City of Minneapolis to reduce annual energy costs and demonstrate environmental leadership led to the installation of a green roof on Target Center, home of the Minnesota Timberwolves in downtown Minneapolis. The roof is the largest green roof in Minnesota, the first green roof on a North American sports arena, and, upon installation, was the fifth largest green roof system in the country. Working with the Target Center management team and a group of developers, architects, designers, and builders, the City set a high standard for Minnesota and other sports arenas across the country, utilized local workers and served as an example of green job creation, and installed a roof that will save at least $75,000 a year in energy costs, improve air quality, and sustainably manage an estimated one million gallons of rainwater a year.

Environmental Education

Winner

Youth Energy Summit (YES!)
Youth Energy Summit (YES!) is a team-oriented youth program that uses hands-on, experiential learning to address energy opportunities and issues. Twenty-one active YES! teams in the 2009-2010 school year are taking on energy action projects in their communities, leading to increased knowledge of energy issues, climate change, and conservation. The YES! Teams are also developing awareness among young people of career and economic opportunities in clean energy, as well as building leadership and community-building skills. Projects include a text-message campaign to encourage walking, biking, and carpooling in Springfield, and a community effort to insulate and re-roof a theater in New London. In three seasons, 24 school districts and two community organizations have fielded teams and more than 100 businesses, post-secondary educational institutions, nonprofits, utility companies, and economic development organizations have been directly involved.

Finalists

Get the Lead Out!
The Get the Lead Out! program is an innovative suite of partnership-based strategies that increased the manufacture, sale, and use of environmentally-friendly, non-lead fishing tackle in Minnesota. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources partnered to develop and implement the ten-year campaign, which included such activities as tackle exchanges, collecting 8,000 pounds of lead tackle, point-of-purchase displays for retailers, enlisting involvement of hundreds of lake associations, fishing clubs and other nonprofit and civic organizations, and the delivery of technical and financial assistance to Minnesota’s fishing tackle industry. The program resulted in several existing and new Minnesota businesses introducing lead-free fishing tackle product lines, significantly increasing the availability of environmentally-friendly weights at retail stores, and raising consumer awareness and demand for lead-free tackle.

Help Make Rochester a Litter Bit Better!
Utilizing volunteers from neighborhoods, faith-based organizations, business and service groups, this program addresses litter and its associated issues including reducing pollution and litter-producing behaviors. A Litter Bit Better! (ALBB) is a weeklong event, now entering its fourth year, which has included educational activities, poster contests, and site clean-ups. Since the program’s inception, 8,600 volunteers have collected over 85,000 pounds of litter, diverting it from Rochester’s waterways. The number of participants has continued to increase, as have the number of “adopted” sites for clean-up. Volunteers also report that less litter is found at the sites each year. In addition, Rochester citizens have gained greater awareness about the connection between their actions, environmental pollution, and pollution prevention.

green building, development and land use

Winner

Minnesota Green Communities Initiative
This initiative between the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, the Family Housing Fund, and Enterprise, is designed to foster the creation of affordable, healthier, more energy-efficient housing throughout the state of Minnesota and seeks to ensure that all new affordable housing built in Minnesota is green. The project partnered with local nonprofits to demonstrate the viability of green affordable housing, and developed a Minnesota Overlay to the nationally recognized Green Communities Criteria. All affordable housing units and projects in Minnesota funded with state dollars must now meet these criteria. To date, 4,000 units are complete, under construction, or under development throughout the state. The initiative also provided green building training and introduced new financing tools, helping Minnesota become a national model for integrating green building into affordable housing policy. 

Finalists

Mississippi Market Co-op’s West 7th Store
On July 16, 2009, Mississippi Market Co-op opened their newly constructed certified organic natural foods store in the revitalized West 7th neighborhood of Saint Paul. The store was built on a remediated brownfield and, while not LEED certified, was built to LEED Gold standards. It includes such features as LED cooler lighting, a heat recapture unit on the coolers, a highly efficient HVAC unit, a thermoplastic olefin (TPO) white roof, showers for bicycle-commuting staff, and rain gardens surrounding the parking lot. About 72% of the construction waste was recycled, and more than 20% recycled content materials were used. Education of members, shoppers, and the community about sustainable business practices continues to be a goal of the store. To date, Mississippi Market has hosted six educational tours, and shoppers can also learn about the building’s green features by following informational plaques throughout the store.

Skyridge Business Center and Nature Preserve
The Skyridge Business Park and Nature Preserve is a 17-acre collaborative between a realtor, landscape architect and their tenants in the City of Minnetonka. Jerry and Mary Jo Bailey of Bailey Properties chose an undesirable site containing an existing swamp and developed it with innovative technologies, a sequential series of stormwater retention ponds, and properly-sited buildings, all with their commitment to sustainable development in mind. The site is adjacent to a bike path, contains native plantings, and receives 100% of its electrical energy from Xcel Energy’s Windsource Program. Business decisions such as a green cleaning product purchasing policy, replacement of old water fixtures, and on-site restoration of wildlife habitat, show a unique, long-term perspective on what it means to operate a business effectively, profitably, and sustainably.

Green Business and Environmental Management

Winner

Faribault Foods Cannery Heat Recovery Project
Faribault Foods, Thermo-Environmental Systems, and Xcel Energy worked in partnership to support the design and installation of an energy-saving heat recovery systems retrofit for Faribault Foods’ bean cannery in Faribault, MN. The project was completed in November 2009. Using the industry standard practice of cooking beans inside cans, the company accounted for roughly 21% of the city’s water use and 20% of sewer flow, and was one of Xcel Energy’s largest-volume natural-gas customers. To address these environmental impacts and increase efficiency, the project partners developed a system to recover and reuse 100% of the process heat, allowing Faribault Foods to decrease its heat-energy per can by 25%, decrease water use by 20% and sewer flow by 25%, and account for 13% of Xcel Energy’s business customers’ natural gas savings in 2009.  

Finalists

Butler Square
On May 16, 2009, Butler Square was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) under its new “LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance” rating system (LEED – EBOM). This makes Butler Square the first century-old, multi-tenant commercial building in the world to achieve this level of certification, the oldest building in the Midwest to achieve LEED certification, and the first building in Minnesota to be certified as LEED – EBOM. This certification is the only LEED program requiring re-certification, at least once every five years, allowing Butler Square the opportunity to engage its over 750 tenants in contributing to the further greening of the building as a whole.  The building achieved LEED points for such as activities as encouraging bicycle commuting, replacing plumbing fixtures to reduce water consumption by 750,000 gallons per year, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 68,000 pounds in a year through improved lighting.

Making Dirt, Not Waste: Expanding Commercial Composting in Minneapolis
Eliminating waste in Minnesota would have a greenhouse gas reduction equivalent of reducing the usage of every car in the state by two-thirds, or households using 75% less electricity. Eureka Recycling’s commercial composting program gives business owners, their employees, and their customers a direct experience of the possibility of zero waste and an understanding of the environmental benefits of their actions. The program initially worked with restaurants and grocery stores, and then took on the greater challenge of partnering with the Mill City Farmers Market, the Mill City Museum, and the entire mixed-use Mill Ruins Building, including its individual tenants, building management, and maintenance staff. In 2009 alone, the project’s 22 partnering businesses composted a total of 984,000 pounds of material, creating a greenhouse gas emission reduction equivalent to 1,415 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Natural Resource Protection and Restoration

Winner

Arlington-Pascal Stormwater Improvements
The fundamental goal of the six-year, community-wide Arlington-Pascal Stormwater Management project was to improve the water quality of Como Lake in Saint Paul while addressing neighborhood drainage and flooding issues. Project partners utilized a unique cost-share system and worked across municipal borders to implement a variety of innovative stormwater management techniques including constructing the largest underground storage and infiltration tank in Minnesota, installing infiltration trenches directly under roadways, retrofitting a regional treatment pond to serve as a water feature at Como Golf Course, and creating native plant rain gardens throughout the neighborhood. These efforts have resulted in a 77-pound annual reduction in phosphorus loading, exceeding the reduction goal of 58 pounds, and have successfully reduced neighborhood flooding.

Finalists

Conservation Based Land Use Planning: City of Hanover
This three-year project created solutions to preserve and protect Minnesota’s waters, sensitive and critical habitat, and the valued natural and cultural resources of the region. The City has engaged in a broad range of activities including the establishment of an ecological corridor between the Crow River and lakes west of Hanover, orienting new homes and roads to allow for passive solar gain, and planting windbreaks in open spaces. This comprehensive approach to community planning helped to reduce energy consumption and promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Balancing the economic prosperity and conservation of natural resources in Hanover, this project upheld a commitment to efficient and sustainable building practices, reducing the environmental footprint of both residential and business activities.

Scott Cost Share and Incentive Project
Since its inception in 2006 the Scott Cost Share and Incentive Project has enabled the implementation of over 200 land and water conservation projects, preventing an estimated 5,275 tons of sediment and 7,380 pounds of phosphorus annually from entering lakes, rivers and streams in Scott County. The project works to reduce barriers that prevent or discourage landowners from making good stewardship decisions. Financial barriers are addressed by supplementing state and federal funding with local contributions from the Scott Watershed Management Organization and local project participants themselves. In total, the project has leveraged more than $2.75 million to assist landowners in implementing conservation projects. Local conservation experts working on the ground with landowners promote awareness and understanding of available programs and provide technical support. In addition, the project’s utilization of new scientific information allows conservation efforts to be targeted where they will be most effective.

PARTNERSHIP OF THE YEAR

Winner

Faribault Foods Cannery Heat Recovery Project
Faribault Foods, Thermo-Environmental Systems, and Xcel Energy worked in partnership to support the design and installation of an energy-saving heat recovery systems retrofit for Faribault Foods’ bean cannery in Faribault, MN. The project was completed in November 2009. Using the industry standard practice of cooking beans inside cans, the company accounted for roughly 21% of the city’s water use and 20% of sewer flow, and was one of Xcel Energy’s largest-volume natural-gas customers. To address these environmental impacts and increase efficiency, the project partners developed a system to recover and reuse 100% of the process heat, allowing Faribault Foods to decrease its heat-energy per can by 25%, decrease water use by 20% and sewer flow by 25%, and account for 13% of Xcel Energy’s business customers’ natural gas savings in 2009.  

Past Finalists and Winners

2015 Awards Finalists and Winners »

2014 Awards Finalists and Winners »

2013 Awards Finalists and Winners »

2012 Awards Finalists and Winners »

2011 Awards Finalists and Winners »

2010 Awards Finalists and Winners »

2009 Awards Finalists and Winners »

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Awards Sponsorships »

Presenting Sponsors

Environmental Lay Group

Great River Energy

Reception sponsor

25th Anniversary Sponsors

CATEGORY SPONSORS

Community Action

Critical Collaborator

Stoel Rives LLP

Emerging Leader

Aveda

Energy and Climate

The Weidt Group

Natural Resources

Sustainable Business

Supporting Sponsors


Minnesota Power



partner SPONSORs

In-kind sponsors

AFFILIATE SPONSORs

CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Consulate General of Canada

Rochester Public Utilities

Associate Sponsors

Bremer Bank
G & K Services
Nova Consulting
Smith Partners