(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – In a ceremony tonight at The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), Mayor Vincent C. Gray presented the 2013 Mayor’s Sustainability Awards to nine individuals, businesses and civic organizations for demonstrating outstanding achievements and leadership in sustainable practices. Mayor Gray was joined by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin, District Department of the Environment (DDOE) Director Keith A. Anderson and numerous business and community leaders. Sheila C. Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts and co-owner of the Washington Mystics, Wizards, and Capitals served as Master 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.
“The District is taking its place as a national and international leader in urban sustainability because of the innovative ideas and civic commitment of people who care deeply about our community and our environment,” said Mayor Gray. “Our Sustainable DC Plan outlines the key challenges we face as a community: growing jobs and our economy; ensuring health and wellness; promoting equity and diversity; and protecting the climate and our local environment. The actions of our award winners will ensure we meet these challenges, because they are creating a greener, healthier, and more livable city today and for generations to come.”
The 2013 award winners are:
Brainfood, a non-profit youth development organization serving almost 200 teens each year at three community-based sites, uses food and cooking to build life skills and empower District teens to become valuable resources in their own communities. “Brainfood believes in sustaining the entire community – its people and the environment – and achieves this through food education, urban agriculture and youth
empowerment,” said Paul Dahm, Brainfood Executive Director. “We are grateful to Mayor Gray for supporting these efforts through the creation of the Mayor’s Sustainability Awards.”
Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) is incorporating environmental sustainability into all of its daily operations now and into the future in all of its 30 locations inside and around the Beltway. CNMC provides children with access to gardens and nature to improve the healing process and their overall experience at the hospital, its clinics, and specialty care centers. Children National is also tackling waste management, providing recycling at all facilities and managing pharmaceuticals to keep chemicals out of landfills and waterways. “We take our role as stewards of the environment and this community to heart by caring for children throughout the District, and by engaging children and families in developing healthy habits that lead to healthy lives,” said CNMC President and CEO Dr. Kurt Newman. “We applaud the Mayor and District leadership for making Washington, D.C., a model of sustainability. As an advocate for all children, Children’s National joins with our community leaders in assuring a safe and healthy environment for all.”
ANC 7B Commissioner Robert A. Jordan in partnership with the Fairfax Village Community, is converting long-abandoned basketball and tennis courts into a new community garden and multi-purpose site. Working with public and private-sector partners, he is restoring the site to provide fresh food for local residents, prepare youth for new jobs and serve as an amenity for the community.
CoStar Group, Inc. has a long-standing commitment to sustainable operations and creating world-class, environmentally conscious workspaces. Its new LEED Platinum-certified world headquarters in the District was designed and built with innovative approaches that enhance sustainability, conservation, accessibility, and a quality work environment. CoStar’s commitment to alternative vehicles and employee subsidies for public transportation are eliminating, according to Commuter Connections, approximately 4.8 million vehicle miles each year. “It is a great honor to be recognized by Mayor Gray for our company’s dedication to sustainability,” said CoStar Group Founder and CEO Andrew C. Florance. “CoStar has a long-standing commitment to sustainable business practices throughout our company, and also within the built environment that our business serves. We are proud to call Washington, D.C. our home, and to support the Mayor’s vision for making the District a model for achieving a healthier environment, job creation and expanded prosperity.”
Dumbarton House, a leader in preserving our city’s history and conserving resources today and for the future, has infused sustainability across their operations. They purchase 100 percent wind power for electricity usage – enough to power 15 homes for a year and an equivalent to offsetting more than 100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions – and 100 percent carbon offsets for their natural gas usage, offsetting carbon emissions and also saving six cents for every thermal unit used.
Meredith Sheperd, founder of Love & Carrots, a home-based garden education service that converts lawns from biological deserts into productive ecosystems, is committed to creating landscapes that are beautiful, healthful, tasty, and less expensive than traditional yards. Her company ensures that food production is visible in neighborhoods citywide, reducing food miles and providing healthy food alternatives for residents.
Mundo Verde Public Charter School engages and educates students through hands-on projects or “expeditions” used to address environmental issues. Students in every grade engage in sustainability-focused expedition fieldwork, participate in data collection and benchmarking and actively practice sustainability values and habits – among them interconnectedness, stewardship, and collective action.
The Tower Companies is a leader in sustainable and energy-efficient construction and facility management. Across its portfolio, 90 perdent of the buildings are LEED-certified, including all three properties located in the District. They have installed the Real Time Energy Management Program at their downtown D.C. buildings and reduced energy consumption by 17 percent between 2011 and 2012.
Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. (WGES) is one of the largest green-energy suppliers in the District. Residential, commercial and municipal customers can reduce the environmental impact of their energy usage through WGES CleanSteps® WindPower, sourced from regional wind farms, and WGES CleanSteps® Carbon Offsets, which offset greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas use. Annually, the positive environmental impact of all WGES customers in D.C. is equivalent to removing more than 447,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere or taking more than 93,000 cars off the road. “We are honored to be recognized by Mayor Gray with this award for our role in supporting the District as it becomes the greenest city in the nation,” said WGES President Harry Warren. “In addition to helping our business, municipal and residential customers meet their sustainability goals, Washington Gas Energy Services is committed to minimizing our own environmental impact, and we applaud the District Department of the Environment as well as the other award recipients for their leadership in this area.”
Summaries and case studies on each award winner become part of an online library of best practices in the District.
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