DEP Commissioner Aho and Senior Staff from Governor LePage’s Office announce Environmental Excellence awardees

May 22, 2013

CONTACT:
Chris Swain, Maine DEP Director of Innovation and Assistance, 207-287-7811

-Recipients include WindowDressers, Cary Medical Center, Agri-Energy, The Meadowmere Resort and Edwards-United Technologies-

WINSLOW – Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho and Senior Natural Resources Policy Advisor to Governor LePage Carlisle McLean honored five stewards of sustainability today with State-sponsored environmental achievement awards.

The 2013 Environmental Excellence awards, administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, were presented by Commissioner Aho and Carlisle McLean in a ceremony at Mid-State Machine Products, a leading precision manufacturer located in Winslow.

Senior staff from the Governor’s office and from Maine DEP, representatives from each of the winning organizations, members of the Board of Environmental Protection and the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee, and leaders from Maine’s environment and business community attended the awards.

Recipients were recognized for voluntarily going beyond regulatory requirements for innovation in environmental sustainability.

Commissioner Aho said it was important for the State to acknowledge 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 2013 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, understanding that a healthy environment and a strong economy support one another and where stewardship of our natural resources ensures a vibrant economy.”

Edwards-United Technologies, known for their production of life safety devices, based in Pittsfield, won in the “Businesses Over 100 Employees” category for their efforts in reducing annual water usage from 13 million gallons to 1.2 million gallons; installing a closed loop system for their paint line; reduced propane usage by 28 percent; replacing chemicals with less harmful alternatives, including reduction of 37 tons/yr of VOC emissions, 6.5 tons/yr of hazardous waste, and incorporated recycling, waste reduction for a decrease in waste of 40 percent and 91 percent recycle rate.

The Meadowmere Resort, a family run business for 30 years located in Ogunquit, won in the “Businesses with 20-99 Employees” category. The Meadowmere is one of first DEP certified Environmental Leaders recognized for installing a 48 panel solar hot water system which at peak provides 70 percent of their energy needed (this project also created one full-time staff position in order to manage the system). The Meadowmere has also implemented property-wide recycling and no longer has trash bins at the front desk because only recyclables are produced. “It is an honor to receive this award for our family resort," said Allyson Cavaretta, Director of Sales & Marketing, for The Meadowmere Resort. "It is the result of the dedication of our employees who incorporate our green efforts into each day. Our eco-programs help to take better care of our guests and our community in the spirit of Maine’s great hospitality. The Meadowmere began this eco-friendly path over seven years ago and we continue to add new ways to deliver a greener stay to our customers. We hope our independent family owned hotel inspires others to deliver an environmentally friendly customer experience."

Agri-Energy, of Exeter won in the “Businesses With Less than 19 Employees” category. Agri-Energy is recognized for incorporating a 1 MW anaerobic digestion system at Stonyvale Farm to treat 150 wet tons of 75 percent cow manure daily produced by 1000 dairy cows and 25 percent food waste. This $6 million construction project, started in 2011, has created 24 full-time construction jobs and three permanent while converting into energy 7.3 million gallons of cow manure that otherwise would have washed into nearby waters. Agri-Energy’s process has the methane destruction equivalent to taking 3,000 cars off the road all while producing 5.2 million kilowatt hours for the grid and greatly reducing odors in the community. By accepting food waste from other Maine institutions including hospitals, schools, Agri-Energy has succeeded in reducing demand on Maine’s landfills.

Cary Medical Center, of Caribou won in the “Not-For-Profit” category. Cary is recognized for launching the Cary Medical Center Safe Sharps Disposal Program with a vision to provide community options for disposal of household medical sharps; especially critical given the County has one of Maine’s highest rates of diabetes. In 2012, a total of 86 boxes or 4,300 pounds of community medical sharps had been collected at six partnering community sites. Cary’s program was inspiration for DEP’s own sharps education campaign in 2012. “It is an honor for Cary Medical Center to accept the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for our Community-Based Safe Sharps Disposal Program,” said Kris Doody, RN, CEO. “This program represents the collaborative efforts of multiple community partners and creates a safe solution to the disposal of community generated medical sharps. The project speaks well to our vision as we aspire to create a healthier community.”

WindowDressers, of Rockport won in the “New Venture” category. WindowDressers is an all-volunteer organization that is being recognized for manufacturing insulating window inserts built using Maine pine that cuts home heating fuel use by 20 percent or more. So far, inserts have been installed in more than 300 homes 42 Maine communities, saving customers a projected $4,400 over the next decade and reducing nearly 3,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions by 2020. Many inserts are provided to low income families at reduced rate. "WindowDresser’s collaborative effort with the Maine State Prison (MSP) System will significantly boost the annual production of thermal window inserts from two thousand to tens of thousands of units saving Maine residents over 20 million dollars in heating fuel costs and eliminating 54,000 metric tons of CO2 from entering the environment. For Mainers who must choose each year between buying fuel or food, this is a godsend. Other benefits are vocational and business skills training for, and employment of MSP inmates. This is the kind of joint effort between the State and private donors that has no downside for either party and is bound to serve as a model elsewhere in the U.S. In addition these efforts are at no cost to taxpayers." – WindowDressers

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.

Recipients said being recognized by the State goes a long way.

“For our efforts to be recognized by the Governor and DEP with this award is a great honor for Exeter Agri-Energy and Stonyvale Farm. Preserving our environment for the next generation of Mainers has been a longstanding goal of our work and we’re proud to be able to introduce this cutting edge technology to help the state further its own environmental goals. Improvement and this recognition validates that we are on the right path to environmental excellence.”

Based on the success of the awards, Maine DEP intends to continue the annual recognition program, with nominations for the 2014 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence opening in late 2013. More information can be found at http://www.maine.gov/dep or by contacting Chris Swain at 207-287-7811 or chris.swain@maine.gov