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GAEE: Award Categories

Award Categories | Award Criteria | Nomination Process | Past Recipients

The award categories and their descriptions are as follows:

  • Energy Efficiency/Renewable Resources

For projects or programs that prevent pollution by reducing energy use or by producing energy using zero- or very-low-emission technologies. Examples include efforts to significantly increase the energy efficiency of buildings or equipment, the use of environmentally benign energy production technologies, and/or the use of innovative technologies that reduce dependence upon energy sources that generate high emissions.

  • Environmental Education and Outreach

Recognizes excellence in education or outreach programs promoting environmental stewardship or resulting in enhanced environmental protection. Examples include creative school presentations and assemblies, hands-on group activities, green marketing techniques, or business outreach and media campaigns. One-day events are not eligible.

  • Five Year Continuous Improvement

Applies to a business or industry that has achieved proven environmental results through a comprehensive environmental management system, such as ISO 14001. Nominees must verify that the environmental management system has been in place at the facility for at least five (5) years. Nominations should describe several projects which have resulted from implementation of an environmental management system and led to significant environmental benefits. Only those nominations demonstrating exceptional continued environmental excellence through proven results will be considered for an award.

  • Greening the Government

Recognizes local, county, or state government which pursue improvements in environmental performance within their own operations as part of a broader Greening the Government effort. To be eligible in this category, the nominee must demonstrate a comprehensive Greening the Government initiative, which includes at least three in-house, environmentally focused program areas. Examples include an environmental education program for government employees; an internal recycling collection program; a program for purchasing recycled-content and environmentally preferable products; the implementation of pollution prevention and energy efficiency strategies; or the development of programs to reduce impacts of employee transportation to and from the workplace.

  • Land Use/Conservation

Recognizes projects that incorporate innovative and effective methods or practices to preserve or improve land use. Examples include the revitalization of underutilized or contaminated land; the preservation of green space; sustainable farming practices; invasive species elimination; habitat protection/creation; timber stand improvement; or the reduction of urban sprawl. Specific examples include redevelopment of brownfields; increasing density/decreasing lot size; building public green spaces; turning abandoned landfills into parks, preserves, or other productive uses; implementing innovative smart growth policies or comprehensive plans; and transitioning marginal agricultural lands into wildlife habitat. Special consideration will be given to projects that prevent pollution or include extensive public participation.

  • Pollution Prevention

Recognizes innovative projects that meet the definition of pollution prevention or source reduction (i.e., reducing the amount of any hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment [including fugitive emissions] prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal; and reducing the hazards to public health and the environment associated with the release of such substances, pollutants, or contaminants). Example projects include equipment or technology modifications; process or procedure modifications; product reformulation or redesign; substitution of raw materials; improvements in housekeeping and/or maintenance; training; and inventory control. Pollution prevention DOES NOT include energy recovery; treatment of a waste stream; disposal; recycling; any practice that alters a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant once it is generated; practices not necessary for production; practices that create new risks to human health or the environment; or general environmental management practices (rather than a specific pollution prevention project that resulted from an environmental management system).

  • Recycling/Reuse

Recognizes outstanding reuse or recycling programs using innovative methods to reduce the amount of waste sent for final disposal. Projects can address residential, commercial, or industrial waste streams or “buy recycled” purchasing initiatives. The nominated project should demonstrate reuse, recycling, and/or buying recycled components. Examples include commercial business operations that have fully integrated waste reduction operations; programs that have created extensive “buy recycled” purchasing policies and practices; and schools that have implemented comprehensive recycling/waste reduction programs. Programs/projects that do not address reuse, buying recycled, and/or recycling issues throughout the entire operation of the organization will receive a lower ranking.

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