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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

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

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

ROCHESTER, MN – Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) and the Olmsted County Environmental Commission announce the recipients of the 2015 Environmental Achievement Awards. The recipients will be recognized at an awards banquet on January 21 at the Rochester Golf and Country Club. The awards honor individuals, organizations, schools and businesses that have made a significant contribution in 2015 towards environmental quality in any of the following categories: renewable efforts, conservation, energy, water, agriculture, education, and other.

 

The 2015 recipients are:

 

Ivan and Mary Idso

With the support of community volunteers, Ivan and Mary Idso organized and facilitated Rochester’s inaugural Earthfest Celebration, a nine day event that ran from April 18-26, 2015. The celebration included educational sessions at Assisi Heights, Quarry Hill Nature Center, Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center, and Olmsted County and City of Rochester Parks. The final day of the Earthfest Celebration included a climate march through Rochester, and a free Eco Fair at the Mayo Civic Center. The event drew many people from varying backgrounds and called attention to numerous environmental causes.

 

Zumbro Valley Bassmasters

There are currently thirty-five active members in Zumbro Valley Bassmasters (ZVBM), which has been an organized fishing club in Rochester since the early 1980s. ZVBM’s mission is to provide Rochester’s youth a chance to experience the outdoors and instill in them a lifelong love of fishing. ZVBM events provide opportunities for families to share quality time, while participating in one of our nation’s favorite pastimes.

This year marked the 4th annual youth fishing event for ZVBM. Members from the club host this event to educate youth on a variety of angling topics. The kids are shown how to properly remove a hook and release a fish. Habitat conservation was also emphasized during the event.

 

Leslie Hall

When Leslie is not chairing the Extension Master Gardener Dyers Garden at the Olmsted County History Center, she can be found working on her own yard, which she has restored with native plants. Native plants help retain water and prevent soil erosion; they also clean our surface water by filtering out pollutants. Another portion of Leslie’s yard is dedicated to plants that can be used to dye textiles.

Leslie has been a Certified Extension Master Gardener for nine years. She spends much of her time teaching classes on how to use botanicals for dyeing textiles, and why it is important. By using botanicals, Leslie gets all the color she needs to dye fabrics without the chemical waste.

 

Rochester Alternative Learning Center

Students at the Rochester Alternative Learning Center (ALC) have busy schedules. Some hold family responsibilities well beyond that of a normal teenager, many work part-time jobs, and all have coursework to prepare for. In spite of their obligations, ALC students make time to give back to the environment. This past summer, a group of students participated in a collaborative project that involved bagging Olmsted County compost, and selling it at the People’s Food Cooperative in Rochester. This undertaking served as a pilot project for a local nonprofit’s (Growing Home – Olmsted County) vision of establishing a sustainable urban farm.

ALC students also create their own compost with the school’s kitchen waste, and excess food scraps from the Channel One Regional Food Bank. This compost is used to supplement the school’s garden, which in turn is used to teach students about nutrition. Students have also spent time assisting the Southeastern Minnesota Water Analysis Laboratory in testing water at multiple locations on the Zumbro River.

 

Silver Lake Foods

Silver Lake Foods is committed to energy efficiency. They were the first store in Rochester to replace their existing open reach cooler cases with a new technology called the “No Energy Door”. This technology uses less lighting than conventional cases and eliminates the need for heaters that control condensate on the glass doors. They also installed electronic commutated motors that reduce the energy load for evaporator fans. Additionally, the entire store has switched to LED lighting. In total, these upgrades have reduced the store’s energy consumption by approximately 212,000 kWh annually.

 

Bruce Frutiger

Mention Mr. Frutiger to former students from Century High School, and you’ll find he was likely a big influence on their environmental ethics and love of nature. Bruce has worked to involve students in a variety of projects:

  • Conservation activities at the Olmsted County Fair
  • The Envirothon
  • Glacier Stops Here
  • Earthfest
  • Collecting winter water samples for nitrogen testing
  • Stream studies data collection for the Department of Natural Resources and Smallmouth Bass Alliance

He is a board member and active volunteer for the Zumbro Watershed Partnership, and Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center.

 

Ray Schmitz

As a longtime Rochester area environmental activist, Ray Schmitz has been involved in many local and regional organizations:

  • Environmental Commission
  • Zumbro Watershed Partnership, currentboardmember
  • Sierra Club
  • EagleBluff EnvironmentalLearning Center, currentboardmember
  • SoutheastMinnesota Clean Energy ResourceTeam, currentsteeringcommitteemember
  • Rochester Energy Commission, vice chair
  • Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, current board member
  • Rochester Earthfest Eco Fair planning committee

 

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

Friday, November 6th, 2015

IMG_5708
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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