(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – In a ceremony tonight at House of Sweden, Mayor Vincent C. Gray presented the 2012 Mayor’s Sustainability Awards to 10 individuals, businesses and civic organizations for demonstrating outstanding achievements and leadership in sustainable practices. Mayor Gray was joined by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ambassador Jonas Hafstrom of Sweden, U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin, District Department of the Environment (DDOE) Director Christophe A.G. Tulou and numerous community and environmental leaders. Wendy Rieger of NBC4 served as Mistress of Ceremonies.
Since 2009, the Mayor’s Sustainability Awards (previously the Mayor’s Environmental Excellence Awards) have been awarded through a competitive selection process. This year’s winners represent a range of innovative endeavors to improve the lives of residents, the quality of our environment and access to healthy and affordable food and housing.
“Tonight’s winners are dedicated to improving our city’s environment, communities, and economy. Our ongoing effort to plan for a Sustainable DC will build on the innovation, determination, and leadership we see among these dedicated members of our community,” Mayor Gray said. “I thank them for their contributions and look forward to working with them to spread sustainable best practices to businesses, institutions, and neighborhoods across the District.”
The 2012 awardees represent programs and business that support the Mayor’s Vision for a Sustainable DC and its ambitious goals for jobs, health, the built environment, climate, energy, food, nature, transportation, waste, water and the green economy. The 2012 award winners are:
- Andrea Northup, founder of D.C. Farm to School Network, who connects students to the food they eat and helps to make healthy, locally-grown foods available in school meals in more than 200 public and charter schools in the District.
“In a society where children are more likely to recognize a Cheeto than a sweet potato, we thank you for recognizing that farm to school programs help address some of the most pressing health, environmental and social problems of our time. I am truly honored to accept this award.” – Andrea Northup
- Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C., an organization that is working to complete construction of two passive, net-zero-energy homes in Northeast D.C.’s Deanwood neighborhood by the end of 2012. These Empowerhouse homes will feature 5.2 Kilowatt photovoltaic solar arrays, resulting in up to 90% less energy for heating and cooling than traditional houses.
“To get something new accomplished, such as building the first passive house in the city, it has taken the talent and energy of people who could cross boundaries and work together in a truly innovative way. We are hopeful that our work inspires others to emulate sustainable design and construction initiatives.” – Susanne Slater, President & CEO
- Cassidy Turley, a national real-estate-management firm that manages over 9 million square feet in the District, including 4.4 million square feet of LEED-certified buildings and 6 million square feet of ENERGY STAR-certified buildings. Their efforts address both operations of buildings and education of owners and tenants.
“We’re dedicated to integrating sustainable initiatives into every aspect of our services, from property management and agency leasing to tenant representation. We would like to thank Mayor Gray for recognizing us as committed leaders in the local community.” – Evan Tyroler, Vice President of Sustainability Services
- FRESHFARM Markets, which operates five producer-only farmers markets in the District, bringing together over 100 farmers and 354,000 customers.. They also donated 39,360 pounds of fresh produce to organizations such as DC Central Kitchen and Miriam’s Kitchen in 2011.
“We are deeply honored to receive the 2012 Mayor's Sustainability Award and to be recognized with other sustainability leaders in our home town." – Bernadine Prince, Co-founder and Co-executive director
- Groundswell, a local organization that brings non-profits, housing providers, faith groups, schools, and households together in collective purchasing groups for clean energy and energy efficiency. In 2012, they organized more than 100 institutions, including SEED Charter School, affordable housing buildings, and Southeast D.C.’s First Rock Baptist Church, into a group electricity purchase of almost $5 million.
“We’re deeply honored by Mayor Gray's recognition of our efforts to expand local economic opportunity across the District through community investments in clean energy. Together, we’re expanding prosperity, bringing our city closer to achieving the Mayor’s vision and positioning D.C. as a beacon of sustainability.” – Elizabeth Lindsey, Managing Director
- The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) works to promote sustainable practices and spur innovation. The BID joined the District Government to take President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge and reduce energy consumption 20 percent by 2020 for all its buildings, and has spearheaded initiatives for recycling along sidewalks and nurturing urban forests, with a canopy-keeper program for its 2,600 street trees. The organization purchases 100 percent wind power for its operations headquarters.
“We appreciate this recognition. The ecoDistrict gives the DowntownDC BID a framework within which we can pursue our goals of economic vitality and environmental sustainability working with building and business owners in our area.” -- Richard Bradley, Executive Director
- Monaco Washington DC, a Kimpton hotel that reduced its water use by nearly 68 percent, its energy use by 26 percent, its greenhouse-gas emissions by 28 percent and its utility costs by more than 32 percent within a 12-month period. The hotel uses non-toxic cleaning supplies, is committed to recycling and composting, and donates unused amenities and “end of service life” furniture to charity.
“We’re very proud to reside in a city that recognizes and rewards sustainable business practices – it’s a true honor to receive this award on behalf of Kimpton Hotels.” -- Ed Virtue, General Manager
- Sol Systems, LLC, a solar energy finance and development firm that has provided Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) financing to more than 3,000 solar project owners across 13 states, including 400 solar energy projects in the District. In addition, Sol Systems recently launched SolMarket, a new transaction-driven platform that transforms solar project finance.
“The solar industry has the potential to tie together the complex tapestry that is the District, creating jobs, enabling affordable housing, and attracting some of the most influential and creative thinkers our nation has to offer. We’re proud to be part of it.”—Yuri Horwitz, CEO and Co-founder
- Urbana Restaurant & Wine Bar, a local restaurant that composts all food scraps for an average of 4,500 pounds per month (and 25 pounds of oyster shells weekly), converts cooking oil into biodiesel, and recycles roughly 1,800 corks from wine bottles per month. The facility has replaced disposable utensils and packaging with biodegradable materials, and it uses non-toxic cleaning products.
“We strive to be one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly restaurants in D.C. We recycle everything from paper to fryer oil, food composting, energy conservation, and sustainable sourcing practices, and are honored to help further Mayor Gray’s goal of a more sustainable D.C.” –Executive Chef John Critchley.
- Ethan Landis, D.C. resident, business owner of Landis Construction Corporation, and an active member of the Mayor’s Green Building Advisory Council (GBAC), has committed his firm to implementing construction best practices such as energy efficiency, recycling of construction debris, improving indoor air quality, saving water, and promoting deep energy retrofits and the use of renewable and recycled building materials. He plays an active role in greening the District’s building codes as well.
“There is an undeniable energy in the city committed to becoming the most sustainable city in the United States. I am happy to be a part of this movement and am honored to receive this award. Working together with so many others, we will go far.” -- Ethan Landis.
Summaries and case studies on each award winner become part of an online library of best practices in the District, which is posted on DDOE’s website, www.ddoe.dc.gov. Information on the Mayor’s Vision and the ongoing development of the Sustainable DC implementation plan is available at www.sustainable.dc.gov.