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AWB presents Environmental Excellence, Leadership awards

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May 15, 2015 Share This!

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RICHLAND, Wash. — AWB presented its 2015 Environmental Excellence and Leadership awards and top leadership awards Tuesday at the two-day Spring Meeting held in Spokane at the Davenport Hotel.

At Tuesday's luncheon, Jim Bruce, senior vice president for public affairs, energy and environment for UPS, offered his remarks and presented AWB's 23rd annual Environmental Excellence Awards.

The Environmental Excellence Awards recognize AWB member companies of all sizes and types across the state for their initiative, innovation and outstanding achievements in environmental compliance, protection and conservation. This year's winners are:

Sustainable Communities & Green Buildings

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland continues to prove that innovation, collaboration and detailed planning can lead to energy efficient and sustainable facilities that support important research and development. In the past two years, PNNL has certified three buildings as High Performance Sustainable Buildings, resulting in 36% of its campus facilities meeting the HPSB criteria, saving $146,000 a year in energy costs. This included an extensive retrofit to the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory, originally built in 1953. Its newest facility, the Systems Engineering Laboratory, earned a LEED Gold certification and is connected with the PNNL building automation system to find energy-saving opportunities throughout the site. PNNL also supports sustainable commuting. Its support for bicycle commuters, from street upgrades to shower/change rooms and bike racks, earned praise from the League of American Bicyclists. Through the Telework Program, PNNL staff has eliminated 263 metric tons per year of carbon emissions from avoiding commutes to and from work. The community now has the nation's first diesel converted to all-electric bus, with a 130 mile range per single charge, in regular transit service thanks to PNNL's partnership serving its campus.Follow them on Twitter: @PNNLab.

Resource Conservation/Pollution Prevention

Shields Bag & Printing Co. in Yakima is a family-owned business manufacturing flexible packaging products shipped worldwide. Their full-color printing process uses solvent-based inks containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). To destroy the VOC emissions, the company has vested its resources in an energy-intensive combustion process known as a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer. A Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) provides more than 99 percent efficiency in destroying VOCs while recovering 97 percent of the heat generated in the process. After months of site preparation and planning, the company installed, and started up the new, highly-efficient environmental control system in August. This state-of-the-art technology came with significant initial capital costs, but the lower ongoing operating costs justify the investment - as does the prospect of saving enough natural gas to heat more than 325 homes and enough electricity to power over 600 homes. The company has also calculated that it will reduce its carbon emissions by 1,500 tons a year while reducing nitrogen oxide by two tons.

Resource Conservation/Pollution Prevention

IEDS Logistics, based in Spokane, is reducing its environmental footprint by cutting energy use, carbon emissions and reducing fuel use and expanding its recycling programs. In January, they installed electronic on-board recording devices, a move that is not required by regulators but which has already paid off for the company and the environment. IEDS Logistics uses the real-time driver and vehicle performance information to optimize delivery routes and reduce fuel usage. Within the first two months, the company reduced engine idle time by 40 percent and increased mileage per gallon by 8 percent - moves that will save the company $11,000 a year and decrease fuel use by 3,870 gallons. IEDS Logistics, which operates warehouses in Spokane and Pasco, is cutting energy use as well. They are currently retrofitting light fixtures, optimizing availability of natural light, while also installing "smart lighting" motion detectors, creating lighting sectors to only light areas where work is actually being completed. IEDS also provides customers the logistical option to convert freight from truck to rail allowing for movement of more freight per gallon fuel. On the ground, propane-powered forklifts reduce both carbon emissions and noise pollution.

Leading Environmental Practices

ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston in Kennewick is proof of what voluntary sustainability goals can achieve. In 2010, ConAgra set a voluntary goal of diverting 75 percent of its waste from landfills by this year. It reached that goal early, so it set a further goal of striving toward zero-waste-to-landfill. One way to pursue that goal is through recognition of facilities making strong progress toward that goal. Seven of the 13 Lamb Weston plants earning the "Zero Waste Champion" award are in Washington: Pasco, Connell, Paterson, Quincy, Richland, Warden and Columbia Basin Blends (Pasco). Overall, the Evergreen State's plants have achieved a 99 percent diversion rate. Methods to achieve this success include facility Green Teams actively seeking opportunities for continuous improvement in reduction, recycling, and diversion, as well as recognizing the value of material for recovery as a saleable product. Not only is ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston helping the environment, this strong, voluntary focus on reducing waste is creating a notable revenue stream for the company. Follow them on Twitter: @ConAgraFoods.

Leading Environmental Practices

Avista Utilities, located in Spokane, is nearly finished removing all PCB-containing transformers from its electrical distribution system. This is an unprecedented move that goes far beyond state and federal regulations. PCBs have been banned since 1979, but can continue to be used in existing products. Since the 1980s, Avista has been surpassing regulatory requirements, actively removing equipment with PCBs from service. Even so, in 2011 more than 11,000 of its 120,000 transformers were known or predicted to contain PCBs. Avista decided to remove them all by 2018, making them the first major utility to do so. Because the project is voluntary, Avista has the flexibility to tackle the change methodically and efficiently, linking work with other upgrades and maintenance. The project is well underway, with 9,600 of the original 11,099 PCB-containing transformers removed and retired. Avista is also sharing the details of its model program with other interested utilities, including its creative "serial number sequencing process" to link PCB-containing transformers to others made by the same manufacturers. It's proof that Avista's innovative approach to environmental protection can be duplicated across the nation. Follow them on Twitter: @AvistaUtilities.

The dinner event, which featured as keynote speaker former Vice Chairman of General Motors Bob Lutz to speak on leadership, also included the presentation of AWB's annual Leadership and Service Awards. This year's winners are:

Bruce Briggs Award

AWB established the Bruce Briggs Award in honor of the late Bruce Briggs, founder and owner of Briggs Nursery of Olympia, who was known for his energy and dedication to community service.

This year's recipient is Gebbers Farms.Gebbers Farms was recognized for the long-standing community service and their most recent assistance during the Carlton Complex Fire - the largest wildfire recorded in the state's history - last summer. The company used farm equipment to build a fire line and stop the spread of the fire to Brewster and elsewhere, saving homes, livelihoods and, quite possibly, lives. In addition to providing jobs, Gebbers Farms is well-known for their continued support of local youth sports teams and events.

Judy Coovert Award

This award was established to recognize and honor excellence in volunteerism on behalf of AWB. It is named for Judy Coovert, a longtime AWB supporter and active member of the AWB Board.

Catherine Brazil, fourth generation resident of Spokane and chair of the AWB's Advocacy Transition Team and the local district chair of the Government Affairs Council, received this year's award. Not only is she active in AWB, but she serves on several local boards, including the YWCA, Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House, Community Colleges of Spokane Foundation and Armed Forces and Aerospace Museum where she makes a difference in the lives of her fellow community members.

C. David Gordon Award

In 2004, AWB established the C. David Gordon Award to honor Washingtonians who distinguished themselves in service to the citizens of the state of Washington.

Former U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings received this year's award as a way to honor his years of service in the state Legislature and Congress. First elected state representative in 1978, he served in the first-ever 49-49 tie, the majority and the minority. In 1994, Doc was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He retired at the end of his term last year.

Tags: Energy, Environment, Awards and Honors, Green Energy

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