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Gov. Rendell Announces Nine Winners of Environmental Excellence Award
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Gov. Rendell this week recognized nine Pennsylvania businesses and organizations adopting environmentally friendly practices and technologies and who are working to revitalize communities, reduce pollution, and educate the public on the benefits of being good stewards of the state's natural resources.

Winners of the 2008 awards will be honored by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council at a special Earth Day celebration dinner on April 22 in Harrisburg. Visit the PEC website for more information on tickets and sponsorship opportunities.

"These businesses and organizations, large and small, all have one thing in common – they look at environmental challenges as opportunities to do things differently," said Gov. Rendell in announcing the recipients of the 2008 Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence. "These awards recognize and celebrate that unique perspective and can-do spirit that makes Pennsylvania a progressive place to do business."

Any Pennsylvania business, government agency, educational institution, non-profit organization, individual, farm or agribusiness engaged in efforts to promote environmental stewardship and economic development in Pennsylvania are eligible to apply.

This year, the Department of Environmental Protection received 35 applications from businesses and organizations from across the state. The projects are judged on environmental protection, teamwork, public service, environmental education and outreach, pollution prevention, economic impact and innovative technology.

"Whether by investing in new technology, promoting conservation, or educating future generations about environmental issues, these winners show how we all benefit when we make the health of our natural resources a priority," said DEP Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty. "We applaud their conservation efforts and innovative thinking."

Winners of the 2008 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence receive a commemorative plaque and an outdoor flag to acknowledge their commitment to environmental quality during an event at the winner's location.

The winning organizations are listed below—

Land Conservancy of Adams County Inc., GettysburgThe Land Conservancy purchased conservation easements on 11 properties covering 1,011 acres to protect Gettysburg's public water supply. These properties border about 2.3 miles of Marsh Creek upstream from Gettysburg Municipal Authority's surface water intake, along with many miles of Marsh Creek tributaries. Protecting these properties allows the aquifers to continually recharge and helps to maintain the quality and quantity of water of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

The success of this project has been recognized with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region III Source Water Protection Award that credits the project as the first successful source water-based land preservation/best management practices conservation effort in Pennsylvania.

Conservation Consultants Inc., PittsburghCCI, Inc. conducted a pilot program about renewable energy technologies in 10 schools in the 2006-07 school year. The renewable energy technologies program provides educators with a written curriculum reinforced with hands-on tools for demonstration purposes. Students see first-hand that renewable energy technologies are cleaner and safer alternatives to fossil fuel generation and viable solutions for western Pennsylvania. CCI developed the program after a survey of teachers showed a critical need for such curriculum.

Specific objectives for the renewable energy technologies program include students being able to: recognize various conventional and renewable energy generation options; measure the impact these technologies have on the environment; show that renewable technologies, especially solar power and wind power, are viable technologies for Western Pennsylvania; develop ways to implement renewable energy technologies in small ways today and stimulate creativity to find solutions for the future after graduation; suggest concrete personal actions everyone can adopt to reduce air pollution; and relate particulate and mercury pollution to health risks.

ESS Energy Products Inc., Paoli, Chester County -- ESS Energy Products developed Energy Guardian Kits to eliminate heating and cooling loss through attic entrances. More energy is lost though attics than any other area of the home. While newly constructed and most existing homes have insulated and reasonably air-sealed attics, it is the entrances to the attic that are most inevitably overlooked for air sealing, insulation or both.

To date, more than 1,000 Pennsylvania homeowners have one or more of the kits installed. The projected savings from installation of an Energy Guardian Kit is about $312 per year, assuming the current cost of electricity and heating fuel. These savings provide a complete payback of the kit's purchase price in a matter of months.

Kendall Auto Parts, Erie -- Kendall Auto Parts is an automotive and truck recycling facility that has made it its mission to reduce pollution to zero; to reduce, recycle and reuse everything; and to reduce and conserve energy and water.

In addition to being built on a brownfields site, Kendall's porous parking lots are made from recycled aggregate, the landscaping materials were retrieved from construction sites, steel fencing was salvaged from demolished sites, stormwater runoff is channeled into swales and held in a retention pond, and the loading dock leveler was removed from a building that was to be demolished and reinstalled in its current location.

Inside, the building's sub-base is made from recycled aggregate, floors have radiant heat with individual temperature controls, large windows in public spaces make use of natural light, Energy Star lighting is zone switchable, and floor drains are connected to an oil/water separator before discharging the sewer. Even the furnishings in the showroom, counter area and offices are recycled or were retrieved from other facilities that were to be demolished. The glass-top tables are made from aluminum wheels and tires from new cars that were in a train wreck.

Kendall's indoor automobile recycling operation practices zero discharge of all fluids, including engine oil, gasoline, antifreeze and air conditioning refrigerants. The oil is used as a source of supplementary heat. The antifreeze is recycled by a licensed waste/water treatment company. The tires are disposed of by a licensed waste tire company and the gas that is pumped from the vehicles' gas tanks is circulated through filters and used for the company's delivery trucks.

Borton-Lawson, Wilkes-Barre -- Borton-Lawson is an engineering and architectural firm that worked in partnership with the Housing Development Corp. of Northeastern Pennsylvania, government agencies, financial institutions and community groups to spearhead the Pine Street Neighborhood Revitalization project in a three-block area of downtown Hazleton.

The 24 single-homes have highly efficient heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and appliances. Energy-efficient construction paired with these features can provide energy cost savings of about 30 percent over standard construction. The solar electric (photovoltaic) systems included on the southern-sloped roofs of the residences supplement the domestic hot water heater and enables residents to produce solar energy, thereby reducing utility costs.

Additionally, through net metering, residents have the ability to transfer any energy surplus to the local utility in return for reductions in their billable energy consumption level.

Pine Street homeowners can expect to spend about $700 a year for energy costs verses more than $1,100 a year for owners of a traditional home built to code. In addition, ventilation heat recovery systems recapture 70 percent of the heat.

Keystone Pallet & Recycling LLC., Milton, Northumberland County -- Keystone Pallet & Recycling is a small, wooden pallet manufacturing and recycling business employing seven people, but the company has prevented more than 836 tons of wood waste from being disposed of in local landfills since its debut in 2004.

Keystone has done this by collecting used and damaged wooden pallets and then repairing and reselling the refurbished products. Keystone Pallet saves energy and prevents air pollution emissions in the process.

A major challenge for recycling businesses is finding and maintaining a steady source of raw materials to recycle. While, traditionally, that has involved driving to collect the materials, increased fuel costs coupled with long travel distances, Keystone devised an innovative way to collect more used pallets. Rather than sending trucks to multiple business locations to pick up pallets, a mobile collection unit is installed, the used pallets are collected in the unit, and Keystone picks up the unit only when it is full.

Keystone received a 2006 Small Business Advantage Grant (for the third year in a row) that was used to purchase three 53-foot portable recycling collection units. In May, two more units were purchased and Keystone now collects all of the damaged wooden pallets at 14 of its collection sites in the portable recycling collection units. It was estimated that 367 tons of wood waste was going to local landfills per year from these businesses, adding about $8,074 in disposal costs.

These pollution prevention measures at Keystone Pallet will save 2,624 gallons of diesel fuel, amounting to $7,272 annually in fuel savings. Additionally, 330 tons of carbon dioxide, 209 tons of sulfur dioxide and 28 tons of nitrogen oxide will be eliminated.

Heron's Eye Communications LLC, Greeley, Pike County-- As producer of the public television documentary Nature's Keepers, Heron's Eye Communications spearheaded a fundraising campaign, coordinated interview subjects and locations, and handled publicity efforts for this inspiring story of the people of one of Pennsylvania's fastest growing counties –Pike– who are taking a leadership role in land stewardship and smart growth. The film presents Pike County as a model for other communities nationwide that struggle with similar challenges.

Often called the birthplace of the American conservation movement because it was home to the Pinchot family, the documentary highlights the county's 150-year-heritage of natural resource conservation and land stewardship and examines how this legacy continues today through citizen activism in response to development pressures that have made it one of the fastest growing areas in the northeast United States.

Iron Oxide Recovery Inc., Pittsburgh, Allegheny County; and the Sewickley Creek Watershed Association, Sewickley Township, Westmoreland County-- Iron Oxide Recovery and the Sewickley Creek Watershed Association became partners in 1999 when company owner Robert Hedin approached the association about supporting iron oxide recovery experiments at the abandoned Marchand Mine site in Lowber, Westmoreland County. The mine has discharged thousands of gallons-per-minute of iron-polluted water to Sewickley Creek for decades.

The collaboration has resulted in the Lowber site becoming Pennsylvania's first and only commercially successful resource recovery project. So far, the project has resulted in:

· The recovery and recycling of 4,000 tons of wet iron sludge that would have otherwise been landfilled, avoiding at least $150,000 in disposal costs;

· Successful treatment of 1,400-2,200 gallons per minute of mine water containing 70-85 milligrams per liter of iron;

· Retention of about 400 tons of iron solids that otherwise would have ended up in Sewickley Creek and the Youghiogheny River;

· Compliance of Sewickley Creek in Lowber (downstream of the system) with the DEP's in-stream iron limit of 1.5 milligrams per liter for the first time in at least 60 years; and

· Successful incorporation of a 1.6-acre wetland into the system and creation of 13 acres of open water and wetland habitat that has already been colonized by fish, amphibians and aquatic insects, and has become a refuge for water fowl.

This treatment system can be maintained through eight hours of labor per month. Iron Oxide Recovery has taken on that responsibility and has committed to maintaining the system in the future. The company will fund its long-term maintenance with revenue produced by sludge recovery.

NewsClip: Growing Greener Grant Presented to Cleanup Sewickley Creek

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Household Hazardous Waste Program Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties -- Household hazardous waste coordinators from southeastern Pennsylvania first met in 1997.

The individual counties signed a three-year intergovernmental agreement allowing residents from one county to participate in another county's collection event. In 2006, this agreement was extended for an additional three years through 2009. As a result, in 2006-07, residents in the five-county region had 48 opportunities to responsibly dispose of hazardous waste.

Each county runs its own program as it pertains to billing. As such, a request for proposal was issued to contract with one household hazardous waste vendor guaranteeing 24 annual events to the winning vendor, giving the counties the benefit of a "volume discount." Improvements are made with each successive three-year program. Language has been added to allow local recyclers to arrive at the end of the day and to harvest such items as lead acid batteries and cardboard, which results in cost avoidance for the program.

In 2006, the Southeastern Regional Household Hazardous Waste Program held 24 collection events in separate locations within the five counties and 22,656 residents participated. Through these events, 981 tons (nearly 2 million pounds) were collected.

The southeastern region is the first region in the state to try an intergovernmental agreement as a successful way of disposing household hazardous waste. Meeting monthly and sharing information, this program continues to improve while holding down costs.

Environmental Results

The 295 winners of the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards from 1997 to 2003 have saved over $1.6 billion, eliminated 3.9 billion gallons of wastewater, 249 million tons of air pollution, 266 million tons of solid waste and saved 346 million kilowatt hours of electricity.

Past Winners

Past winners of the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards are available online: 2007 Winners, (no 2006), 2005 Winners, 2004 Winners, 2004 Winners, 2003 Winners, 2002 Winners, 2001 Winners, 2000 Winners, 1999 Winners, 1998 Winners 1997 Winners, and 1996 Winners.

You can also be inspired by the good work of the winners of the Governor’s Watershed Stewardship Awards for 2002 and 2001.


3/21/2008

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