2014 Environmental Excellence Awards presented by Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection

Winners displayed environmental leadership

The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) honored the six recipients of its 2014 Environmental Excellence Awards during an awards luncheon at the Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment in Lexington.

Through this awards program, the department recognized the efforts and activities of individuals, businesses or organizations that are committed to protecting and improving Kentucky’s environment.

“The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the Commonwealth’s environment. Through this awards program, we have an opportunity to recognize some of the environmental leaders in Kentucky and use their achievements as examples to others,” said R. Bruce Scott, DEP commissioner. “These awards highlight and honor the strong commitment to environmental stewardship.”

The recipients are:

KY EXCEL Champion Award: Smithfield Farmland – Middlesboro
One of Smithfield Farmlands 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. It conducted three World Water Monitoring Challenges at area college campuses and schools, gave away nearly 100 tree saplings in honor of Earth Day and its employees volunteered to clean a portion of the Yellow Creek in downtown Middlesboro.   

Community Environmental Luminary Award: Covington Urban Forestry –  Covington
Covington Urban Forestry 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. 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, a Division of Michelin North America Inc. – 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 company also has established European honeybee populations to help pollinate the area and its surrounding properties and 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
As a joint project, the three entities 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 – 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, Inc. – Bardstown
Heaven Hill’s recycling program has progressed since it began in 2011. From recycling 139 tons of waste in 2011, the company 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 increased 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.

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