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State Honors Groups with Highest Environmental Award
Indiana Ag Connection - 09/23/2019

The Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence were presented this week to six recipients who were honored for extraordinary initiatives in protecting the environment.

"I am pleased to award this year's Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence," said Bruno Pigott, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). "These Awards recognize Indiana's leaders who have implemented the most innovative, sustainable, and exemplary programs or projects."

Commissioner Pigott and Rebecca Holwerda, Senior Operations Director for Governor Eric Holcomb, presented the awards during the 22nd annual Pollution Prevention Conference and Tradeshow held at the Marriott North in Indianapolis.

The 2019 categories and recipients are as follows:

Energy Efficiency/Renewable Resources:

- Cummins Incorporated, Columbus, Bartholomew County, for "Cummins Virtual Power Purchase Agreement." Cummins entered into a virtual power purchase agreement in August 2017 with EDP Renewables North America to expand a wind farm in Northern Indiana. The agreement is another step for Cummins as it works ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The commercial operation date was December 2018 with a contract length of 15 years. The expansion is adding 75 megawatts, enough to power approximately 20,000 Indiana homes, to the existing 600 megawatt capacity at the Meadow Lake Wind Farm complex. The windfarm expansion generates renewable electricity equivalent to the amount Cummins uses at its Indiana facilities. Environmental Outreach/Education:

- Grace College, Winona Lake, Kosciusko County, for "The Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams." The Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College has developed four unique environmental education programs to teach local K-12 students about the proper care and appreciation for lakes and streams. These programs (Classroom Lake Experience, Lake Adventure Day, Aquatic Petting Zoo, and Lakes & Streams Art Contest) put an emphasis on supplementing and complementing local educators' curricula, are aligned with state educational standards, and have been proven to increase participants' understanding of their role in protecting these resources. Each program has overwhelming and widespread support from local school corporations, businesses, and other organizations, and intends to raise a generation of citizens that appreciate lakes and streams. Since 2015, the Classroom Lake Experience has had 5,205 student participants, Lake Adventure Day has had 2,626, Aquatic Petting Zoo has had 949, and the Lakes & Streams Art contest has had 885.

Greening the Government:

- Bloomington, Monroe County, for "Sustainability Planning & Implementation." The City of Bloomington implemented a number of sustainability projects in 2018 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote renewable energy technologies, divert waste from the landfill, stimulate job growth in the sustainability sector, measure and report on municipal operations, and provide access to sustainability programs for low-income residents. Working in partnership with the local university, nonprofit community groups, and private businesses, the City implemented six replicable projects in 2017 and 2018 that could be of value to all Indiana communities. Specifically, they installed solar photovoltaic systems at 30 City buildings and facilities; worked with more than 180 homeowners to install over 1.2 MW of solar capacity; made grants to eight area homeowners with fixed or limited incomes to install rooftop solar systems; diverted an estimated 80 tons of materials from the landfill with a community-wide waste reduction program; diverted more than 500 pounds of food waste from the landfill by composting and recycling various materials at City Hall; and achieved LEED Gold re-certification for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance at City Hall. Land Use/Conservation:

- Jennings County Pollinator Committee, North Vernon, Jennings County, for "Share Some Space." Share Some Space is about protecting and increasing local pollinator populations in Jennings County. The area of involvement was originally all of Jennings County; however, the idea has spread out to other groups and communities outside the county. The project has several components: action, education, media, and land use conversion. The partnerships have created community involvement which, in turn, has created change. That change has led to success and community pride. Since the start of the project in 2015, 800 total habitats have been created throughout the county (328 of which are in people's backyards), a total of 2,500 acres of new pollinator habitat has been created, and 7,700 new native flowering plants have been planted.

Pollution Prevention:

- Helmer Scientific, Noblesville, Hamilton County, for "Gen 4 Project." Helmer Scientific is a manufacturer of medical-storage devices such as refrigerators, freezers, and platelet incubators that are used for the storage of lab samples, blood, tissue, and pharmaceuticals. Their project is a redesign of their refrigeration equipment to operate on natural hydrocarbon refrigerants, eliminating the use of hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants which cause detrimental effects to human health and the environment. Based on their 2018 sales volume, Helmer Scientific has eliminated annually, 3,882 pounds of refrigerant charge, 5,420 tons of C02 equivalent, 5,300 pounds of hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants, reduced energy usage by 31,439 kilowatt hours per day, and reduced raw materials used such as steel, copper, and aluminum by 71 tons. The estimated annual energy savings across the entire installed base of products is $1,377,028. Recycle/Reuse:

- Greendale, Dearborn County, for "Curbside Recycling Program." During the 2016 Mayoral race, Mayor Alan Weiss found that many Greendale residents were interested in curbside recycling. Through extensive research, public input, and a partnership with Rumpke, Greendale's curbside single-stream recycling program began on April 2, 2018. Prior to the start of the curbside program, the only recycling option for Greendale residents was a county owned drop-off trailer. These trailers are source separated, meaning all materials must be sorted by the individual recycling. Since the launch of the single stream curbside recycling program, Greendale has raised its recycling rate by 10 percent, diverted over 374 tons of material from going to the landfill and saved $5,775.21 over the last year on landfill tipping fees. For pictures of all Governor's Award winners, please visit

The Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence is an annual program to recognize Indiana's leaders who have identified and implemented innovative environmental practices into their programs and facilities. The awards program is open to all Indiana facilities, state and local units of government, individuals, and technical assistance organizations that implement exemplary environmental projects with measurable results.

For more information about the Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence, visit IDEM will soon be making nomination forms available for the 2020 Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence. Organizations, businesses and individuals will have until March 2020 to submit nominations for projects completed in 2018 and 2019.

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