Green is Golden for Pennsylvania Award Winners

Fifteen Pennsylvania organizations earned 2009 Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence on Monday in a presentation from Gov. Edward Rendell that recognized their environmental achievements in energy savings, recycling, LEED certification, removal of illegally dumped tires, and more.

"What these businesses and organizations and one inspiring educator all have common is their ability to view environmental challenges as opportunities to do things differently. Their leadership is inspiring and together we will continue to preserve and protect the commonwealth's precious natural resources," Rendell said. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection received 40 applications from businesses and organizations for the awards, which are open to any Pennsylvania business, governmental agency, educational institution, non-profit organization, individual, farm, or agribusiness working to promote environmental stewardship and economic development.

A summary of the 15 winning projects is available at DEP's Web site. They include Pittsburgh's Green Building Alliance for launching and leading the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative; Nalco Co., which reduced peak electricity usage by 375,000 kilowatt hours per year at its Ellwood City plant and will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 228.4 metric tons per year; the Recreational Equipment Inc. Eastern Region Distribution Center in Bedford, a 525,000-square-foot building that achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification for New Construction from the U.S. Green Building Council in January 2008; Dickinson College in Carlisle, which buys 50 percent of its energy from wind power and composts all food waste, with which it fertilizes its soil; the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center, which has added sustainable, advanced building processes and products to its building and construction training program for high school seniors interested in home building careers; and Jason Drake, a biology and environmental science teacher at Maplewood High School in the Penncrest School District whose students have removed more than 23,000 illegally dumped tires from three sites. Drake partnered with a waste tire recycling company that transported and recycled the tires at a greatly reduced price.

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