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Six Environmental Excellence Awards presented to residents, businesses

Each year, the City of Woodbury presents the Environmental Excellence Awards (EEAs) to promote sustainability in the community. The awards recognize businesses, organizations and individuals that are making Woodbury a more sustainable community through innovative programs and practices that demonstrate environmental leadership. 

This year, six awards were presented to three businesses, a church, a homeowners association and a group of residents. The winners of 2018 EEAs are:

Jack Evert of the Powers Lake Townhome AssociationWater Conservation: Powers Lake Townhome Association
The Powers Lake Townhome Association participated in the City’s 2017 Water Efficiency Incentive Program. The association completed audits of its irrigation systems and updated the irrigation controllers from clock-based systems to WaterSense certified “smart” controllers. It also installed two soil moisture sensors, providing detailed information to the controller about how much moisture is in the ground, allowing the system to operate only when necessary. 

The comprehensive audit revealed the system was in need of more than $19,000 in upgrades. Members of the association developed a plan to pursue these upgrades over a multi-year time span. Board members were diligent in choosing technology that would run only as needed, without sacrificing the health of the landscape, and worked closely with Horticultural Services on operational requirements that would accomplish their goals. Comparison in water usage between the 2016 and 2017 season revealed a 22.5 percent decrease in water usage in 2017.

Trenton Brown (left) and Jim Tousignant from The Grove United Methodist ChurchUse of Renewable or Alternative Energy: The Grove United Methodist Church

In 2016, The Grove United Methodist Church installed a 40-kilowatt solar electric system on the church’s roof. In 2017, the system generated 50.92 MWh of electricity, which is equivalent to a reduction of 115,924 pounds of carbon dioxide, or equivalent to planting 2,920 trees. In addition to installation of the solar array, a lighting analysis was conducted by the Center for Energy and Environment, resulting in a recommendation for an LED retrofit of church lighting. This project began in 2017 and will be completed in 2018. In addition, a sustainability committee has been formed for congregation members.

Kristin Tooze of Wooddale Professionals BuidlingWaste Reduction and Recycling: Wooddale Professionals Building
Management from Wooddale Professional Building partnered with Minnesota Waste Wise to take advantage of a BizRecycling grant by developing a recycling program for the building’s tenants, and build a new recycling and waste enclosure that met the City’s requirements. After adding recycling and decreasing their trash service, Wooddale Professional Building has diverted approximately 4,576 pounds of recycling. By decreasing their trash service, they are saving more than $1,600 per year. 

BizRecycling offers recycling grants up to $10,000 to help businesses in Ramsey and Washington counties start to improve recycling programs. It also offers organics reward grants of up to $5,000 to help businesses to start or improve organics recycling.

Allyson Lorang (left) and Diana YangLee of HealthPartnersSustainable Business Practices: HealthPartners Woodbury Clinic
In 2011, HealthPartners established a comprehensive sustainability program, which is broken down into five project categories: energy efficiency, waste minimization, resource conservation, stakeholder engagement and infrastructure development. The HealthPartners Woodbury Clinic offers free, environmentally-friendly medicine disposal to the community. Since beginning the program in 2011, they have collected and safely disposed of more than 15,000 pounds of medication. The clinic also utilized the BizRecycling Grant to implement a comprehensive recycling program throughout the clinic, and has reduced their paper use by 100 reams of paper between 2016 and 2017.  In addition, they purchased three Nissan Leaf electric vehicles for supply delivery to other clinics that have the potential of driving 100,000 miles per year, equating to a reduction of 44 metric tons of carbon dioxide when compared to the commercial cargo vans that were previously used.

Paul Hansen of TRIAGreen Building (New Construction): TRIA of Woodbury
As a member of the HeathPartners family of care, TRIA also has a comprehensive sustainability program that encompasses energy, waste, infrastructure, conservation and stakeholder engagement. The TRIA building was evaluated early in the planning process to maximize energy efficiency through Xcel’s Energy Design Assistance Program. The building includes LED lighting, building automation controls, high efficiency chillers and a state-of-the-art HVAC system. HealthPartners has been recognized by the Fresh Water Society for their Salt Management Plan, which also is used at the TRIA property. An internal Green Team works with recycling, environmentally preferable purchasing efforts and energy efficiency initiatives. 

From left: Dana Boyle, John Woodworth and Stephanie Yang from the Tamarack Nature Preserve ProjectEnvironmental Education and Awareness: Tamarack Virtual Nature Center (Stephanie Wang, Dana Boyle and John Woodworth)
Three Woodbury residents have taken the City’s Adopt-A-Park program to a new level with the collaboration and design of a “Virtual Nature Center” for the City’s Tamarack Nature Preserve. Stephanie Wang, Dana Boyle and John Woodworth have spearheaded a partnership with the City and the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District to enhance and protect one of Woodbury’s natural treasures. After conducting invasive species removal projects and helping to lead a tour of the Preserve, they formally adopted Tamarack Nature Preserve this year and began to work on creating a virtual nature center. Using technology such as iNaturalist, along with a Facebook group and website, they hope to create the kind of experience for visitors that would typically be experienced at a nature center, except without the building. In addition, they are working with the City on plans to upgrade the trails and install signage at the preserve to highlight the community treasure and educate residents on its value. 

Congratulations to all the EEA recipients! You can learn more about the awards and see past winners on the Environmental Excellence Awards page.