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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Center for Energy and Environment and Neighborhood Energy Challenge partners Honored with Rochester Energy Commission Community Partnership Award

Friday, November 6th, 2015

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Pictured l-r- Greg Ernst, Stacy Boots Camp (CEE), Rory Lenton (MER), Stephanie Humphrey (RPU)

For Release November 5, 2015

Media: Tim Hanrahan, 612-244-2419, thanrahan@mncee.org

NEWS RELEASE

Center for Energy and Environment and Neighborhood Energy Challenge partners Honored with Rochester Energy Commission Community Partnership Award

November 5, 2015, Minneapolis — The Rochester Neighborhood Energy Challenge was recognized this week with a Community Partnership award from the Rochester Energy Commission. Center for Energy Environment shares the honor with its program partners Minnesota Energy Resources, Rochester Public Utilities (RPU), and energy audit contractor G.A. Ernst & Associates, Inc.

“Collaboration is crucial for our work,” explains Stacy Boots Camp, CEE’s outreach coordinator. “The Neighborhood Energy Challenge Program wouldn’t be possible without administrative coordination, clear communication, technical expertise, financial backing, and more. Each shared effort contributes to the program’s overall success, leading to a triple payoff for Rochester residents — homes with lower energy bills that are also more comfortable and easier on our environment.”

The sustainable community awards were presented by Rochester’s Committee on Urban Design and Environment, a group within the Energy Commission that focuses on efforts contributing to Rochester’s environmental and aesthetic enhancement. Attendees for the Tuesday morning breakfast ceremony at the Mayo Civic Center included Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede, several city council members, and local media. The full 2015 awardee list, by category:

  • Commercial: Olmsted Medical Group — Health Pavilion
  • Community Site Enhancement: Farmer’s Market Mural
  • Rehabilitation: Forager — 1005 6th Street NW
  • Energy Updates and Renewable Energy: Assisi Heights
  • Community Partnership: Rochester Neighborhood Energy Challenge Program
  • New Building — Public: Transit Operations Center
  • Education: Cascade Meadows Wetlands and Environmental Science Center

In addition to its work with Neighborhood Energy Challenge and other regional programs, CEE is an active partner in Rochester’s community and energy development. At the request of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) Corporation’s board of directors, The McKnight Foundation engaged CEE this year to provide recommendations to advance the DMC’s energy and climate goals, coordinate energy infrastructure strategies and operating principles, and identify metrics by which various benefits can be measured.

About Rochester Neighborhood Energy Challenge

Neighborhood Energy Challenge is a full-service residential energy audit program that includes a free home energy workshop, a home visit and installation of energy-saving materials, and help with additional steps for energy efficiency as needed. If the home visit discovers opportunities for additional savings by improving insulation, attic air sealing, or replacing old heating equipment, the program can also help connect homeowners to qualified contractors, financing, incentives, and rebates. The first step toward a home energy audit is to sign up for the next free workshop:

Rochester Homeowners “Saving Energy 101” Workshop

Monday, November 16, 2015, 6:30 pm

Bamber Valley Elementary School

2001 Bamber Valley Rd SW

For more info, visit www.rpu.org/your-home/rebates-programs/energy-audits.html.

About Center for Energy and Environment

The Center for Energy and Environment is a Minnesota nonprofit that promotes energy efficiency to strengthen the economy while improving the environment. For over 35 years, CEE has provided a range of practical and cost-effective programs to help Minnesota homeowners, businesses, nonprofits and governments reduce energy waste and save money. Online at mncee.org.

Individuals and Organizations to be recognized for Environmental Achievements in the Community

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 21, 2015

CONTACT:              Tony Benson

Communications Coordinator

507.280.1534

tbenson@rpu.org

 

Individuals and Organizations to be recognized for Environmental Achievements in the Community

 

ROCHESTER, MN – Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) and the Olmsted County Environmental Commission announce the recipients of the 2014 Environmental Achievement Awards. The recipients will be recognized at an awards banquet on January 22 at the Rochester Golf and Country Club. The awards honor individuals, organizations, schools and businesses that have made a significant contribution in 2014 towards environmental quality in any of the following categories: renewable efforts, conservation, energy, water, agriculture, education, and other.

 

The 2014 recipients are:

 

Edward Cohen

Edward Cohen actively educates on climate change and clean energy in the Rochester area and statewide through networking with the Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Team. Ed has also helped organize discussion panels and public marches to draw attention to climate change and clean energy alternatives. He has helped draw the connection between more frequently occurring extreme weather events and climate change. Ed also serves on the Rochester Energy Commission, has sought grants from RNeighbors for boulevard trees, and has participated in numerous public energy and climate education events.

 

Gerrard Corporation

Located on the corner of 1st Avenue SW and 6th Street SW, the newly designed Metropolitan Marketplace has an eye catching design. In addition to its modern look, the marketplace displays sustainable site features that mitigate storm water run-off by utilizing structural soils, street trees, and porous concrete pavers in the boulevard. Rain gardens with native plants growing in two feet of top soil effectively control storm water runoff from the parking lot into the public storm sewers. These site modifications also create a safe, comfortable, and ecologically friendly pedestrian environment.

 

Sister Rafeal Tilton

Promoting energy conservation is a passion for Sister Tilton. To conserve energy and decrease waste, she and the Sisters of Assisi Heights have instituted kitchen waste composting. Composting directly benefits Assisi Height’s garden soils by encouraging vigorous root growth, making nutrients more available for plant uptake, and returning significant quantities of organic matter to the soils. This in turn, helps our community by reducing the amount of municipal solid waste that is transported off the property to be deposited at the Olmsted County Sanitary Landfill or at the Olmsted Waste-to-Energy Facility. The improved soils also enhance water infiltration which reduces stormwater runoff and increases groundwater recharge.

 

Zumbro Watershed Partnership

The Zumbro Watershed Partnership created an organizational goal of raising public awareness of the Zumbro River and its tributaries in an effort to protect the river. This project took place in the City of Rochester, greater Olmsted County, Dodge County, and Goodhue County. In Olmsted County, 58 new bridge signs now educate the public as to what stream or river they are crossing and inform the public that the waterway is a part of the much larger Zumbro Watershed. There are also 12 new educational signs located in six parks, among the three counties, that give the public information about the role of human activity on the waters of the watershed.

 

Oronoco Township

Oronoco Township went far beyond the traditional role of townships in helping resident’s fix long standing sewage treatment problems in the King’s Park area. In 2011, the Town Board began working with the Southeast Minnesota Wastewater Initiative to bring the residents of King’s Park together to find a solution to their sewage treatment problems. An earlier study had found that some of the homes had straight pipes that delivered raw sewage to Lake Zumbro. These systems were classified as an “imminent threat to public health.” In 2013, a soil-based shared treatment system was constructed that serves 14 homes in the area to treat nearly 5,000 gallons of sewage each day. The final work on the system was completed in 2014.

 

Terry and Joyce Grier

Terry and Joyce Grier have played a key role in the bird banding programs offered at Quarry Hill Nature Center. Banding obtains information about migration, longevity, mortality, feeding behavior, and other activities pertaining to birds. The Grier’s expertise has been invaluable to the community as they are actively involved in public education and conservation. People of all ages are able to share an ‘up close and personal’ experience with birds because of the work that Terry and Joyce provide. A strong passion for the environment is evidenced by their involvement with Quarry Hill, the National Audubon Society, and other works promoting environmental education.

 

Piper Winn

The act of public speaking is consistently rated a top fear among adults, but Piper Winn is no adult. In September 2014, at the age of 8, Piper was asked to speak at the People’s Climate March and Rally in Rochester. Piper prepared her own speech explaining what climate change is and the important role we play in stopping it. As Piper brought awareness to climate change, she was able to relate to her audience and support the community dialog on this important subject.

 

For more information on energy conservation or the Environmental Achievement Awards visit www.rpu.org.

 

 

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 49,000 customers. Water customers number more than 37,000. RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive. Current initiatives include fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.

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Individuals and Organizations to be recognized for Environmental Achievements in the Community

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) and the Olmsted County Environmental Commission announce the recipients of the 2013 Environmental Achievement Awards. The recipients will be recognized at an awards banquet on January 23 at the Rochester Golf and Country Club. The awards honor individuals, organizations, schools and businesses that have made a significant contribution in 2013 towards environmental quality in any of the following categories: renewable efforts, conservation, energy, water, agriculture, education, and other.

 

The 2013 recipients are:

 

Sue Jansen

Sue Jansen leads by example in conserving, reusing, repurposing, and recycling. Her residence is maintained as a working example of living lightly on the earth. Water is conserved through strategically-placed rain gardens, rain barrels, permeable pavers, and water-smart grasses. Mulch provides most of the nutrients for garden and orchard food production, and native plantings are interspersed throughout the property. She is also working to transform her neighborhood association’s 11-acre common space into a native refuge for plants, pollinators, and wildlife.

 

Sister Joy Barth

Promoting water conservation is a passion for Sister Joy. “Without water there is no life” is a quote Sister Joy lives by. To conserve water and decrease waste and runoff, she and the Sisters of Assisi Heights have planted five acres of prairie grass, constructed permeable paver parking lots, installed rain barrels, and retrofitted water-conserving plumbing fixtures. She regularly speaks in schools and to community groups about the benefits of conserving water and reducing waste.

 

Bob Mapel

Bob Mapel is a retired teacher who volunteers at Quarry Hill Nature Center and at the Olmsted County Waste-to-Energy Facility. Bob has chosen to continue his work helping people learn about nature and thus connect with it through the many programs he assists with at the Nature Center. He has the ability to draw students and visitors into conversation, sharing his knowledge and passion for the environment, and answering countless questions about the many facets of our natural world.

 

Kelly Leibold and Anika Hooyer

These two Pine Island High School students have developed a booklet and guided trail map titled “The Pine Trail: An Environmental Discovery of Pine Island”. The booklet highlights three main areas of focus for participants: education, opportunity, and activity. The guided trail map takes travelers around the city to learn about the area’s environmental treasures and resources.


Nate & Sandy Redalen

The Redalens are long time environmentally active owner and operators of a beef cattle farm along the Root River in Pleasant Grove Township. They work with Federal, State, and local agencies on erosion control, rotational grazing, and livestock watering. They have adapted practices to protect steep slopes, shoreline, and water quality of the river, as well as a large spring and other riparian features. They are instrumental in encouraging and cooperating with research on runoff management and other environmental practices.

 

Mechanical History Round Table

The Mechanical History Round Table members provide the community with an exhibit of how farming was done during the period when there were few chemical inputs in agriculture. The farmland owned by the Olmsted County Historical Society lies within one of the city of Rochester’s Wellhead Protection Areas, and the Round Table members farm the land using practices that help assure ground water protection.

 

Master Gardeners of Olmsted County

The Master Gardeners provide education on the value of native plants, practices to reduce storm water runoff, proper lawn care, and other topics that help minimize pollutant-laden storm water runoff from reaching our waterways. Gardeners teach classes and workshops on wise lawn-chemical use, planting native plants and rain gardens, and avoiding invasive species.

 

Kutzky Park Neighborhood Association

Every year on the third Saturday in April and October, this neighborhood association rallies together to clean up their neighborhood including Kutzky Park which runs along Cascade Creek. During each event, neighbors on foot, in waders, and in kayaks focus on cleaning the open green space, the bike path system, and Cascade Creek. On average, they collect 20 to 25 garbage bags full of litter including miscellaneous items such as a shopping cart, sink, and old tires.

 

People’s Food Co-op

The newly opened People’s Food Co-op integrates many green building features including natural day lighting, high efficiency lighting, conserving water fixtures, and an integrated heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration system. Additionally, construction materials, appliances, and display cases were chosen based on their environmental footprint.

 

IBM

As part of their focus on conservation, IBM’s Rochester facility undertook the “Chilled Water Optimization Project”. The results are an annual reduction in electricity use of 10 million kilowatt-hours, water use of 2.4 million gallons, and carbon dioxide emissions of 22 million pounds.

 

For more information on energy conservation or the Environmental Achievement Awards visit www.rpu.org.

 

 

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 49,000 customers. Water customers number more than 37,000. RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive. Current initiatives include fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.

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Neighborhood Energy Challenge Program Receives National Honor

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) is pleased to announce that the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit research group based in Washington, D.C., has recognized the Neighborhood Energy Challenge as an “exemplary program” as part of a national awards program to honor America’s leading energy efficiency programs. The Neighborhood Energy Challenge is a partnership between RPU, Minnesota Energy Resources, and the Center for Energy and Environment to promote energy efficiency to homeowners in Rochester, MN.

Programs selected for this honor were judged to be especially noteworthy for their effectiveness and innovation in helping customers achieve greater levels of energy efficiency in their homes, businesses, and industries. “These programs are delivering energy savings that are critical in helping customers reduce their energy costs, plus they make an important environmental contribution by reducing pollution from the use of fossil fuels,” noted ACEEE Utilities Program director Dan York, Ph.D.

“ACEEE conducted this national review to recognize outstanding energy efficiency programs and honor the people and organizations responsible for their success,” explained Seth Nowak, ACEEE’s lead analyst on this review. He added: “Programs such as the Neighborhood Energy Challenge demonstrate the very real value of energy efficiency to the customers.”

Over the course of the past 30 months, the Neighborhood Energy Challenge has hosted 24 workshops and introduced energy efficiency to nearly 1,100 Rochester residents. In addition, over 800 customers have signed up for an energy audit of their home.

For a full listing of honored programs, see: http://aceee.org/press/2013/03/aceee-recognizes-exemplary-energy-ef

For more information about the awards or ACEEE, contact Dan York, ACEEE Utilities Program Director at dwyork@aceee.org.  

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Environmental Achievement Awards call for nominations

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Olmsted County and Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) are seeking nominations for their annual Environmental Achievement Awards. These awards are given to individuals, families, youth, organizations, schools, farms, and businesses that have made a significant contribution to environmental quality in Olmsted County. Categories available for nomination include: climate change, conservation, education, energy, renewables, sustainable food production, water, and other.

 

The awards were developed in 1992 to recognize individuals and groups that are making Olmsted County a more sustainable community through innovative programs and practices that demonstrate environmental leadership.

 

In 2011, there were eight recipients of an Environmental Achievement Award. The recipients were:

 

·         Byron Stadsvold

From the mid 1980’s to the present, Byron Stadsvold has been an instrumental volunteer at Oxbow Park and the Zollman Zoo. He has designed exhibits and other structures at the zoo utilizing local resources, provided design guidance for remodeling trail bridges, helped with routine zoo chores, and served on The Friends of Oxbow Park board of directors. Byron’s work designing exhibits and animal enclosures like the wildcat and wolf exhibits at the Zollman Zoo has given local visitors the unique opportunity to learn about native Minnesota species in their natural environments.

 

·         Norrie MacIlraith

Norrie MacIlraith inspires others to be more environmentally responsible through her work with the Olmsted County Master Gardener program and as coordinator of their rain garden and storm water management projects. In 2009, she designed and installed a 240 square foot rain garden at her home, and uses it as an opportunity to share her knowledge and experience of rain gardens and landscape beautification and their role in preventing pollution and conserving water.

 

·         Jack Remick and the Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center

With the vision and funding provided by Jack Remick, the Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center opened in 2011 to serve as a regional resource for environmental education and to increase the literacy of participants on environmental topics such as sustainable communities, renewable energy systems, water, and wetlands. Mr. Remick designed the building and grounds to demonstrate sustainable practices that balance societal, economic, and environmental needs by reducing energy and water consumptions, mitigating storm water impacts, and protecting the restored wetlands. Since opening in June 2011, Cascade Meadow has already reached over 5,500 people!

 

·         Weiss Family: John, Debbie, Johnny, Charles & Angela

The Weiss Family has been involved in environmental volunteerism and in teaching the value of southeastern Minnesota’s natural history over the past 30 years. They volunteer their time teaching about the value of Minnesota’s native plant and animal habitat, about resource management challenges, and help in animal rehabilitation. They also fundraise for local environmental causes, monitor water quality in the Zumbro River, and volunteer at our local parks helping with clean-ups, trail work, tree planting, and collecting native seeds.

 

·         First Homes

Rochester Area Foundation First Homes has established broad green building policies to guide its development of workforce housing. While also working to engage residents to create sustainable neighborhoods through long-range visioning, First Homes has completed 10 Green Communities Certified Substantial Rehabilitation projects, and recently completed the first LEED for Homes Silver multi-family building in southern Minnesota.

 

·         Pace Dairy

In 2011, Pace Dairy established a sustainability team to achieve its vision of developing a company-wide effort to reduce their waste stream and become more energy efficient. The team provides leadership, education, inspiration, and support to incorporate environmentally responsible practices that are integrated into their manufacturing operations. Since the inception of the program, Pace has reduced the company’s overall energy usage by nearly 13%. They’ve done that by making operational and equipment changes and by encouraging all employees to identify energy saving ideas.

 

·         RNeighborWoods and Friedell Middle School

In the Spring of 2011, RNeighborWoods worked with students and staff at the Friedell Middle School to create a flourishing butterfly garden and outdoor classroom at the entrance to their school. The project was an exciting mix of partnerships including financial and material help from Olmsted County, the City of Rochester, the Rochester Pond and Garden Tour, Seneca Foods, and Herring EcoLogistics. Friedell students now use the garden as an outdoor learning space to develop their observational and experimental skills and they extend the impact of the project through presentations about the garden and the native plants it contains.

 

·         Summer of Service Program

Since 2005, the Rochester Community Education’s Summer of Service (SOS) program has partnered with the City of Rochester and many other community agencies to implement a variety of service learning projects designed to properly manage storm water and protect local water resources. Over 400 students have participated in the last seven years, contributing over 500 hours of service. Students have helped create a rain garden, planted native plants, marked over 1,000 storm drains, and placed more than 1,800 storm water education door hangers at homes and businesses. During this time the students have also collected nearly a ton of trash.

 

Completed nominations are due by October 19th to Lori Collins at pwservice@co.olmsted.mn.us. To access the nomination form, or for more information about the Environmental Achievement Awards visit www.rpu.org.

 

The awards will be presented at an evening program on January 24, 2013 at the Rochester Golf & Country Club.

 

About Rochester Public Utilities

 

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 48,000 customers. Water customers number more than 36,000. RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive. Current initiatives include fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.

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