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St. Paul continues its sustainability efforts with 10 awards

Sustainability is a big buzz word at St. Paul City Hall in the Chris Coleman administration: electric cars, electric-car charging stations, solar roofs, bikeways, reforestation, recycling, water quality. Protecting the Mississippi River.

If Al Gore likes it, you'll find it here.

The city's website has a ton of sustainability features, and Environmental Policy Director Anne Hunt keeps the collective city eye on the ball.

"It's a theme that was raised when the mayor was first running for election, and its continued to be one of our priorities," Hunt said today.

She notes that the efforts are paying off and St. Paul is usually in the top 10 lists of green cities.

And the mayor says the sustainability efforts make a big impact on the city's quality of life and has made St. Paul a national environmental leader. To keep up the momentum, and encourage citizens and businesses to get on the green wagon, the city sponsors an awards program, the Sustainable St. Paul Awards.

"The awards give us the opportunity to recognize people in the community who are also sharing the mayor's vision to make the city sustainable," Hunt said.

And the 2012  Sustainable St. Paul Awards winners are:

  • Clean-up and Beautification Award to Roger Svendsen for his water quality efforts. He leads the Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District’s Stewards of the Phalen Chain of Lakes clean-up teams, and he picked up 60,000 cigarette butts at Lake Phalen in 2011.
  • Exceptional Environmental Steward Award to Bob Piram, the former city Parks and Rec director. He's manager and president of the Capitol Region Watershed District.
  • Youth Leadership Award to the Youth Outdoors/Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa, which gets disadvantaged, urban youth involved with environmental education and conservation work. 
  • Renewable Energy Award to District Energy St. Paul, for incorporating solar thermal energy into its hot-water district energy system for most of downtown. The new 23,000-square-foot solar array produces over 1.2 peak megawatts of thermal energy.
  • Commercial Green Building Design Award to Baldinger Bakery, a 120-year-old St. Paul institution, that turned a vacant site into a state-of-the-art LEED certified bakery that turns out more loaves using less energy.
  • Natural Resources Conservation Award to Val Cunningham for her volunteer work with St. Paul Parks and Recreation and bird habitat projects.
  • Water Quality or Conservation Award to Patricia James for working to get a rain garden in her neighborhood that has reduced erosion and runoff for an entire block.
  • Energy Efficiency & Conservation Award to the Home Energy Squad, which sends crews to St. Paul homes to install energy efficiency measures, such as exterior door weather-stripping, programmable thermostats, water heater blankets, shower heads, faucet aerators, and a complete swap-out of incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. 
  • Environmental Education and Awareness Award to the East Side Neighborhood Development Co., a nonprofit community development organization that offers free programs to help businesses become more energy efficient.
  •  Sustainable City Staff to Jim Giebel, the city's energy coordinator who has brought  energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy to more than 40 city buildings.

Two Cities blog, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul City Halls, is made possible in part by grants from The Saint Paul Foundation and the Carolyn Foundation.

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