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Each year, the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards recognize Indiana’s businesses, nonprofits, private institutions, and governmental institutions that demonstrate commitment to waste and pollution prevention, source reduction, and resource conservation.
The 2010 winners excelled in preventing pollution in a variety of ways and focused on preventing, reducing, and reusing through innovative and creative strategies.
Awards were given in the following six categories:
In 2008, Valparaiso launched its own daily express bus service to Chicago to reduce pollution caused by automobile emissions, mitigate congestion on roadways, provide a convenient alternative to Valparaiso residents commuting to Chicago, and promote economic development. The service offers three trips to Chicago from Valparaiso each weekday morning and three returning trips each weekday afternoon. The buses offer reclining seats, reading lights, restrooms, WiFi internet service, satellite TV, and other amenities which ranked highest in pre-service surveys. The bus service realized: the reduction of 224,287 pounds of volatile organic compounds; the reduction of 7,384 pounds of carbon monoxide, and the removal of 56 cars from regional roads.
Valparaiso City Administrator Bill Oeding and Transit Administrator Tyler Kent accepted the award for pollution prevention efforts on behalf of the city.
During 2008 and 2009, Kimball Office - Jasper implemented a new technology for furniture finishing which eliminated the use of solvent-borne coatings from the top coating and implemented a water-based finish called Pura. Manual spray applications of top coat finishing have been replaced with automated systems of roll coating, edge coating and a flat line robotic spray line. In addition, three continuously fired gas ovens were replaced with two computer-programmed electrically powered halogen ovens.
The combination of these projects resulted in an annual reduction of 3,940 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and a reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) greater than 33 percent or 23.57 tons. Overall water consumption was reduced by 56 percent, or 432,545 gallons per month. Material efficiencies from the clear coating process have also increased by 32 percent or 15.25 tons. These innovative improvements have reduced employee and community exposure to potentially harmful emissions. Additionally, the conversion of the solvent-based high solids metal paint to a powder coat application reduced VOCs from this process by 100 percent.
Rhonda Scherer, Safety/Environmental Manager and Kathy Sigler, Director of Operations, accepted the pollution prevention award for Kimball Office – Jasper.
In the five years since its original EMS certification, Cummins Columbus Midrange Engine Plant has achieved significant reductions in air, waste, and energy impacts. Between 2000 and 2009, the facility reduced landfilled wastes by 15.53 pounds per engine, representing a 68 percent reduction, and avoided discarding 11,867 tons of refuse in the landfill. It has taken great strides in its painting system and has evolved from a solvent-based paint to a water-borne paint and eventually, to only a rust preservative. The solvents used in the paint process transitioned from xylene to acetone and, eventually, to a non-hazardous solvent. The facility has completed several energy reduction projects that have resulted in a 8.2 million kWh decrease in electricity use and 12 million CF decrease in natural gas use, which together equates to a 18,649 tons CO2e reduction.
Randy Surface, Operations Support Leader, Mike Galarno, Quality Leader and Mila Radovanovic, Environmental Manager, accepted the award on behalf of Cummins.
Alcoa Warrick Operations, celebrating 50 years in Southwestern Indiana, was recognized for five consecutive years of improvement, including a 94 percent decrease in sulfur dioxide emissions from the installation of wet flue gas desulphurization equipment at the Alcoa Warrick Power Plant.
In 2000, Alcoa established sustainability goals, which included goals meant to achieve large-scale reductions of wastewater, landfill use, and air pollutants. At Warrick Operations, strategic plans were implemented that included the introduction of a formalized environmental management system (EMS), and Warrick Operations were ISO 14001 certified in 2004. Alcoa’s reduction of sulfur dioxide was possible because of a $600 million investment in its power plant, the corporation’s largest capital expenditure in North America at the time of the project, which was completed in 2008.
Mr. Scott Darling, Mr. Jim Beck, and Mr. Denny Wene accepted the award on behalf of Alcoa Warrick Operations.
Originally built in the 1960s, the school used innovative infrastructure in its 2008 and 2009 renovations. The solution was a unique synthesis of three technologies that independently had proven to be both cost effective and very efficient, saving $232,838 in two years while adding air conditioning to the gym and auditorium, which previously not cooled. Overall, total utility costs were reduced 26 percent.
Dr. Glenn Krueger, Superintendent of Schools, and Mr. Thomas H. Durkin, of Durkin & Villalta Partners Engineering, accepted the award in the Energy/Renewable Resources category on behalf of Kankakee Valley High School.
The Indianapolis Zoo utilizes a comprehensive approach to recycling in an effort to not only protect our natural resources, but also to model the way for other organizations and zoo guests. The Zoo’s innovative approach ranges from reusing materials in the construction of new animal exhibits such as Cheetah: The Race for Survival which opened Memorial Day weekend to partnering with Ray’s Trash Service to recycle animal manure.
Their operations team has challenged the Zoo and its leaders to implement energy efficiency and recycling programs in an effort to reduce long term costs and dependence on rising fuel and utility costs. In addition, they have done extensive research to ensure all stakeholders that the programs developed ensure for the health and safety of their living collection; including 65 tons of concrete, 21 tons of trees, 13 tons of asphalt, 6 tons of paper and over 200 yards of composted waste.
Tim Savona, Vice President of Operations, and Norah Fletchall, Vice President of Conservation, accepted the award on behalf of the Indianapolis Zoo.
By conducting outreach efforts to over 500,000 households, volunteers from TREES, Inc with support from the Indiana State University Recycle Center and Workforce, Inc. were able to divert over 1.5 million pounds of electronic waste from landfills and collect over 24,000 pounds of televisions. These are astounding figures generated by an extremely committed volunteer corps. TREES, Inc. should be commended for bringing together multi-faceted parties to improve the environment.
Joy Sacopulos, TREES Inc., Paul Reed, Indiana State University Recycle Center, and Tom Gray, Workforce, Inc., accepted the award on behalf of TREES, Inc.
Eli Lilly transformed a former gravel quarry into a 255-acre recreational park and incorporated the use of computerized technology in a multi-year project to reduce water usage by 39 percent across 120 acres within the Indianapolis area. The company also manages a fleet of propane mowers that emit less carbon dioxide emissions than traditional gasoline-fueled equipment, cultivates a garden designed for zero storm water runoff, and utilizes insect management methods that diminish chemical use.
Jeff McClain, Consultant Engineer, Indianapolis Facilities Management, and Steve Gillman, Vice Pres., Health Safety Environment, accepted the award from Commissioner Thomas Easterly during Association of Indiana Solid Waste Management Districts, Inc. conference and exposition.
Daubenspeck Community Nature Park is a unique venture that combines a volunteer run non-profit organization, land belonging to the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township, and a private homeowners association. As a volunteer-run 22-acre nature park, it inwardly focused on the details of plantings, organizing eco-walks, maintenance, etc. The visitors and supporters come to this park from all over the state and raise the park's profile so that more people discover it, to enjoy and support the park or get ideas for their own projects.
The park is a shining example of what can be accomplished when the community rallies together for a common purpose, and is quite impressive that a diverse group of community leaders and grassroots supporters envisioned were able to create a unique natural green sanctuary amid a highly populated, highly developed area of the city.Deb Ellman, Daubenspeck Community Nature Park Board President, Greg Gerke, Board Vice President, and Phil Smith, Director of Operations, Metropolitan School District of Washington Township, accepted the award.
The West Lafayette Go Greener Commission’s 2009 project engaged citizens and stakeholders to reduce the city’s overall environmental impact. The commission sought to provide information while making deep and significant changes in the community’s behavior regarding plastic and event-related waste.
The project had three major components: an informational campaign to inform citizens of daily changes they can make to reduce their environmental impact; the introduction of an “Eliminate Plastic Waste” campaign to highlight the waste of one-time use plastics; and the implementation of a “Green Standard for Events Certification” program for local events and Farmers’ Market vendors.
David Henderson and Diane Damico accepted the award on behalf of the commission.
In the Indian Creek Watershed project. student volunteer monitors and their teacher conducted the chemical, physical, and biological monitoring of twelve sites in the Indian Creek Watershed and its tributaries. This project is a shining example of what can be accomplished when educators, students and the community rally together for a common purpose. Over 600 hours of documented student and teacher volunteer time were contributed in the 2009-10 monitoring efforts, and highlight the work of over 300 students involved during the nine years of this project. This was a value of over $50 thousand dollars of in-kind volunteer community service hours.
Many more thousands of dollars have been donated to the project by community partners. Switzerland County High School was also the recipient in 1998 of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Recycling.
Bonnie Fancher, Switzerland County High School AP Environmental Science Teacher/Indian Creek Watershed Steering Committee Chair, Cary Louderback, Indian Creek Watershed Coordinator, and Leslie Johnson, representing the Switzerland County High School Advanced Placement Environmental Science students of 2009-2010, accepted the award.