WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) presented Climate and Energy Leadership Awards to the District of Columbia, Fairfax County Public Schools, the District of Columbia’s Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU), and Love & Carrots for their outstanding efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency. These annual awards recognize and encourage local actions to advance the regional climate and energy goals established by leaders at COG, while engaging the community in the planning of their programs.
The awards were distributed Wednesday at the November COG Board of Directors Meeting by Fairfax County’s Mason District Supervisor and COG Climate, Energy, and Environment Policy Committee (CEEPC) Chair Penny Gross and COG’s Air and Climate Public Advisory Committee (ACPAC) Chair Glenna Tinney.
Learn more about the award recipients and their innovative programs below:
District of Columbia
Director Tommy Wells and staff accept Climate Award on behalf of DOEE.
The District of Columbia is recognized with a 2016 Climate and Energy Leadership Award in the in the Community category for its Department of Energy and Environment’s (DOEE) Sustainable DC Plan. Sustainable DC is the 20-year plan to make the District the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the nation, with 31 targets, 32 goals, and 143 specific actions, the plan sets the District on an ambitious track through 2032. After three years of implementation, 80 percent of the Sustainable DC plan’s actions are underway and another 15 percent are complete. Over 18,000 people across the District have learned about Sustainable DC and sustainability programs as a result of the program’s varied outreach efforts such as social media, monthly e-newsletters, and the Sustainable DC website. In an effort to engage under-represented communities across all wards of the District, DOEE has hired an Equity and Community Engagement Specialist to specifically reach residents in Wards 5, 7, and 8. As of 2016, the program has directly engaged over 5,000 residents on sustainability; decreased greenhouse gas emissions by 23 percent since 2006; and procured 13 percent of the District’s energy from clean power.
Fairfax County Public Schools
Assistant Superintendent Jeffrey Platenberg accepts Climate Award on behalf of FCPS.
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is recognized with a 2016 Climate and Energy Leadership Award in the Educational Institution category for its Get2Green program. FCPS is the 10th largest school district in the nation with over 220 facilities comprising of 197 schools, 11 centers, and other support buildings. The Get2Green program’s mission is to promote student learning and action using the environment as a foundation. FCPS has potential to reach over 186,000 students through programs such as home energy audits as part of curriculum; learning about renewable energy through building wind turbines; and sharing school grown edible food and leftover cafeteria food with local food banks. As a result of Get2Green, FCPS has experienced an 11 percent reduction of greenhouse gases, a value in excess of 39,000 metric tons of CO2e; with realized energy savings of more than $8.5 million and an anticipated $95 million dollars in energy savings by the year 2025.
DC Sustainable Energy Utility
Managing Director Ted Trabue and George Nichols accept Climate Award on behalf of DC SEU.
The DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) is recognized with a 2016 Climate and Energy Leadership Award in the in the Non-Profit category for its Renewable Energy Programs Serving Low‐Income District Residents. Since 2011, DCSEU has delivered financial incentives, technical assistance, and information to tens of thousands of District residents and businesses, helping them to save millions of dollars on their energy costs. They are responsible for increasing the number of green collar jobs in the District; allocating at least 30 percent of its annual budget towards projects benefiting low‐income District residents; and, spending a minimum of 35 percent of its annual budget with District Certified Business Enterprise (CBEs). The low‐income community has historically been on the receiving end of predatory practices across several sectors, so building trust was quintessential to the success of the DCSEU pilot program which offered solar panels with no upfront cost to customers. To date, the DCSEU has facilitated over 500 solar PV systems across the District, amounting to more than $3.6 million in lifetime energy cost savings, with the average household savings up to $667 per year, with total electricity generated (offset) by these systems estimated to be greater than 850 MWh per year.
Love & Carrots
Founders Meredith Sheperd and Julia Umiker accept Climate Award on behalf of Love & Carrots.
Love & Carrots is recognized with a 2016 Climate and Energy Leadership Award in the in the For-Profit category for their Urban Farms and Edible Gardens installation, garden care, and garden coaching services. Love & Carrots designs, installs, and maintains organically grown vegetable gardens and native landscapes in urban areas. Love & Carrots raises awareness about sustainability and biodiversity, while simultaneously addressing nutritional education, promoting physical activity, and increasing access to nutritious food, making urban environments more conducive to healthy living. Love & Carrots services a wide range of clients throughout metropolitan Washington, providing education on sustainable gardening practices as well as creating a source of fresh produce for people that may have limited access. Love & Carrots currently maintains 15,150 square feet of vegetable gardens for 152 service clients; including gardens installed but not currently maintained, that number climbs to nearly 90,000 square feet of ecologically beneficial organic gardens.
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