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DOEE Honors Five Environmental Stewards at 2015 Sustainability Awards

December 15, 2015

(WASHINGTON, DC) December 15, 2015 – In a ceremony last night at the residence of Danish Ambassador Lars Gert Lose, Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) Director, Tommy Wells presented the 2015 District Sustainability Awards to recognize outstanding achievements and leadership in sustainability. The honorees support the goals of the District’s sustainability plan, Sustainable DC, in areas such as energy and water conservation, pollution prevention or reduction, stormwater management practices, green building construction and operation, innovative technology, and sustainable waste management.

“With the historic climate agreement signed in Paris over the weekend, it’s clear that bold action is needed to lower our greenhouse gas emissions nationally. It’s also clear that leadership from local governments and the private sector will be critical to our success,” said DOEE Director Tommy Wells. “This year’s District of Columbia Sustainability Award winners are perfect examples of how private sector partners are working with local government to test innovative new concepts and integrate sustainability into everyday operations. They are true leaders in making the District a healthier, greener, more livable city.”

The 2015 honorees are:

College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Science (CAUSES), UDC
District Sustainability Award
The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Science (CAUSES)—part of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)—conducts research and undertakes projects such as the 20,000 ft2 green roof on UDC’s campus that promotes urban food production, energy efficiency, and stormwater runoff reduction. With funding from Sustainable DC, CAUSES is developing business incubator kitchens to serve as food and nutrition teaching facilities and entrepreneurship training centers. Through a partnership with the District of Columbia Housing Authority, CAUSES is building and operating the East Capitol Urban Farm and aquaponics facility in Ward 7, which will be the District’s largest urban farm.

Mess Hall
District Sustainability Award
Mess Hall has enabled the creation of 23 businesses and the growth of 13 more, 80% of which are owned by minorities or women. To increase access to healthy, local food, Mess Hall works with its members and community partners to provide affordable and healthy meals to schoolchildren and residents in need. Mess Hall used local, recycled, and refurbished materials to build and furnish its facility, and incorporates sustainability into its operations through energy and water-saving practices, sustainable waste management, and by actively encouraging alternate modes of transportation.

District Sustainability Award
Optoro is a technology company that connects returned and excess retail goods with customers, extending products’ lifespans and keeping them out of landfills. Optoro’s software solution enables retailers and manufacturers to sell returned and excess inventory directly to consumers from a centralized location, reducing shipments and waste generated. Optoro has a full-time Director of Sustainability and created a Green Team that developed a more streamlined recycling system, installed energy efficiency measures, encourages sustainable transportation, and educates fellow employees on sustainable practices. Not only is Optoro’s business model dedicated to protecting the environment and building a more sustainable world, but its company culture is as well.

Generali Real Estate and Cushman & Wakefield
District ENERGY STAR™ Award
The Farragut Building, a downtown Class-A office building owned by Genrali Real Estate and managed by Cushman & Wakefield, is being recognized for being the highest-rated ENERGY STAR® certified building in the District of Columbia in 2014 with an ENERGY STAR score of 97 out of 100. When Generali Real Estate and Cushman & Wakefield took over the property in September 2010, the engineering team utilized free cooling with outside air, and retrofitted common area lights and installed motion sensors throughout the building, and now takes a proactive approach regarding day-to-day energy usage by checking the system based on weather. All of this has produced significant energy savings, saving ownership $95,000 per year.

The Danish embassy was also presented with the District’s International Partner in Sustainability Award. Over 100 guests attended the ceremony, which has been held annually since 2009.