Governor LePage, DEP Commissioner Aho Honor George R. Roberts Co. For Environmental Excellence

April 19, 2012

CONTACT:
Samantha DePoy-Warren, Maine DEP Spokesperson/Director of Communications samantha.depoy-warren@maine.gov / 207-287-5842 (office) or 207-592-0427 (cell)

-The Alfred company receives a Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence alongside other 2012 recipients including IDEXX, CLYNK, Maine Energy Systems, the Washington County Council of Governments and the Environmental Living & Learning for Maine Students Project-

GORHAM – The George R. Roberts Co., known as “The Step Guys,” has been recognized as part of the first state-sponsored environmental achievement awards handed out in Maine since 2005.

The Alfred-based company was honored as one of six stewards of sustainability presented with the 2012 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence by Governor Paul LePage and Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho in a ceremony at Jotul North America’s headquarters in Gorham.

The awards, administered by the Maine DEP and scheduled in conjunction with Earth Day (April 22), recognize entities voluntarily going beyond regulatory requirements to creatively and collaboratively initiate innovation that is both environmentally and economically sustainable.

George R. Roberts Co. won in the “Businesses Over 15 Employees” category. A leading manufacturer of precast concrete products, in 2010 the company switched on the largest solar array in the state, which now provides 90 percent of their electrical energy needs. To date, the 638 U.S. made panels atop their manufacturing facility roof have produced 244,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power 130,000 light bulbs each year and accounting for a 10,000 ton annual reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

In addition to their leadership on the energy front, the company has also partnered with another Maine business to develop a home-grown bioretention unit system which treats stormwater runoff from their site, adjacent to the Littlefield River, which flows into Estes Lake. Water quality monitoring of the units will take place through 2012 and if data shows they meet state treatment standards, the design will be approved for use in Maine and help meet the growing demand for this type of stormwater treatment system at a significantly lower cost than national competitors.

"I am very excited about accepting this award on behalf of our employees. We are celebrating our 50th year in business in 2012 and we take great pride in our ability to combine the hard-working efforts of so many people in our company with great environmental technologies in both solar-power and stormwater runoff control,” said George R. Roberts Co. owner Tim Cook. “Environmental stewardship can and should be part of every business plan. Our customers recognize our environmental leadership and comment on it regularly. It helps our hearts as well as our bottom line. We are doing our best to lead by example. George Roberts Company/The Step Guys is an example of exactly the kind of company we all read that we need so much in this country.”

Other winners included IDEXX, of Westbrook; CLYNK, of South Portland; Maine Energy Systems, of Bethel; the Washington County Council of Governments; and the Environmental Living & Learning for Maine Students Project, a collaborative of Chewonki, Ferry Beach Ecology School and the UMaine 4-H Camp and Learning Centers at Bryant Pond and Tanglewood (in Lincolnville).

“For many Maine employers, Earth Day isn’t just one day a year, but a constant commitment to stewarding our natural resources and ensuring a sustainable economy. These Governor’s Award winners illustrate the interdependence of Maine’s economy and the environment, and why the choice between the two should never be ‘either or’ because it must always be ‘both,’” said Governor LePage.

Commissioner Aho said it was important for the state to start acknowledging Maine’s many environmental leaders who are modeling her department’s vision of a mutually healthy environment and economy.

“Maine has long been a national leader when it comes to environmental excellence and our 2012 Governor’s Awards recipients are carrying on that legacy,” Aho said. “As Maine’s foremost environmental organization, it has great meaning when we respect and recognize these leaders and that the innovation improving our environment and our economy comes directly from Maine employers and people. I want to thank all of the nominees for their commitment of creativity, time and resources toward our shared vision of making Maine a better place to live, work and play for ours and future generations.”

Aho added the awards program is one of the many activities the DEP has advanced under the LePage administration that further the agency’s culture of cooperation with the regulated community. Others include expanded technical assistance, permitting process improvements and pragmatic regulatory reform.

Based on the success of this year’s awards, Maine DEP intends to continue the annual recognition program with nominations for the 2013 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence opening in late 2012. More information can be found at http://www.maine.gov/dep or by contacting Samantha DePoy-Warren at 207-287-5842 or samantha.depoy-warren@maine.gov.

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