The mission at the Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) is to protect and enhance Kentucky's environment. In support of this mission, DEP is proud to recognize and encourage environmental excellence in the Commonwealth through its Environmental Excellence Awards program. We know that individuals, businesses and organizations are committed to protecting and improving Kentucky's environment, and through this program, we would like to recognize those efforts and activities.
The department is pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Environmental Excellence Awards, which were presented at the 2014 Governor's Conference on Energy and the Environment in Lexington. Photos of the winners can be viewed here
The awards recipients are as follows:
KY EXCEL Champion Award: Smithfield Farmland-Middlesboro
One of Smithfield Farmland-Middleboro's top objectives is to reduce the amount of waste it landfills. In one year, the plant doubled its recycling from 313,000 to 629,000 pounds. The facility also actively promotes environmental stewardship in the community and conducted three World Water Monitoring Challenges at area college campuses and schools. Smithfield gave away nearly 100 tree saplings to members of the community in honor of Earth Day, and the employees volunteered to "Clean the Canal" in downtown Middlesboro, removing trash and litter from a 1.5 mile stretch of Yellow Creek.
Community Environmental Luminary Award: Covington's Urban Forestry Program-Covington
Program employees Crystal Courtney and Jason Roberts applied for a grant through the Kentucky Division of Forestry and coordinated an educational community tree-planting event to improve Covington's urban forest on Holman Avenue. They replaced invasive Bradford Pear trees with five species appropriate for growing under utility lines. Crystal and Jason attended neighborhood meetings and explained the need for tree diversity in urban areas. As a result, more than 100 volunteers turned out to assist in planting trees along the street. Other municipalities have asked how they might replicate the program in their communities.
Resource Caretaker Award: American Synthetic Rubber Company-Louisville
American Synthetic Rubber has worked for many years on its 75-acre tract of land it calls Campground Native Area to eliminate invasive species and replace them with native species to improve wildlife habitat. The facility also has established European honeybee populations to help pollinate the area and its surrounding properties. The company has worked with the Wildlife Habitat Council to have the land certified as a Wildlife at Work program, which exceeds regulatory requirements.
Environmental Pacesetter Award for an Individual/Organization: city of Berea, Kentucky Environmental Foundation and Sustainable Berea-Berea
This joint project developed a comprehensive energy plan for the city of Berea, "The Berea Energy Cost-Savings Plan," which has a goal of reducing the city's energy consumption by an annual average of 1 percent per capita by the year 2042 for a total 30-percent reduction, as well as a parallel 29-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Environmental Pacesetter Award for a Small Business: Ruggles Sign Co.-Versailles
When the company outgrew its location, instead of building on vacant land the owners decided to purchase a brownfield site and redevelop it. Ruggles was the first party to purchase a property with existing environmental concerns and redevelop it with the assurance from the Commonwealth that the parties that created the environmental issues will remain responsible for the issues. Because of this decision, Ruggles has made a positive impact on the environment and minimized its carbon footprint by using a previously undesirable property instead of pursuing new construction.
Environmental Pacesetter Award for a Medium to Large Business: Heaven Hill Distilleries-Bardstown
Heaven Hill's recycling program has progressed since it began in 2011. From recycling 139 tons of waste in 2011, the company has advanced to 771 tons in 2013. In addition, an outdoor recycling center was established for employees who do not have recycling pickup at their homes. The company has worked to increase lighting efficiency by replacing 662 metal halide, mercury vapor and fluorescent tube lights with T-5 high bay fluorescent fixtures. This resulted in a 60-percent load reduction for lighting the warehouse area. Throughout the facility, occupancy sensors are being installed and all T-12 fluorescent fixtures are being replaced by efficient LED lighting. Heaven Hill has focused on water conservation, as well. The distillery's water consumption in the cooling tower was reduced by 60 percent.