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Green California awards leaders

Posted: March 11, 2009 7:52 p.m.
Updated: March 11, 2009 6:13 p.m.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Nine "green" projects, programs and initiatives undertaken by California state agencies, cities and counties will be honored at the upcoming Green California Summit & Exposition (Sacramento Convention Center, March 16 - 18). The Green California Leadership Awards, established at the request of the Summit's Advisory Board, recognize state and local agencies for innovative efforts to green the Golden State.

In the category of Climate Change, the County of Sonoma will be recognized for its Climate Change Initiatives. These include the county's Climate Change Plan that addresses energy use in the built environment, greening the county's fleet and looking at how state employees commute to work. The county also plans to install a 1.4 megawatt natural gas fuel cell.

An effort by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to recycle damaged fire hoses and turn them into hammocks, beds, swings and other accessories for primate cages in local zoos will receive the Waste Management award. In this program, some 14,900 pounds of fire hose that were used in three enormous California fires were recycled.

This year, there will be two honorees in the Energy Innovation category. The County of Lake will be recognized for its innovative recycling program, which uses solar energy to power facilities that treat, transport and recycle wastewater and then uses the treated water to recharge geothermal resources for energy production. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) will be honored for its "SolarShares" initiative, which provides its customers who are renters to subscribe to a portion of a large photovoltaic system.

The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) will receive a leadership award in the category of Transportation. CalTrans has reduced the state's carbon footprint by maximizing the use of alternative fuels, increasing the numbers of green and flex-fuel vehicles in its fleet and instituting other conservation practices among employees.

California has mandated strict green building standards for new and existing government buildings. The Los Angeles Community College District is going a long way to fulfilling these requirements and will be recognized with the Green Building award for the Allied Health and Science Center at Los Angeles Valley College. The building incorporates a host of green products and standards, including a 50,000 kilowatt solar array and a "living machine," which biologically cleanses roof rainwater runoff.

For its efforts at managing sparse water supplies in Southern California, the Orange County Water District will receive the Water Management award for its groundwater replenishment system. An advanced purification process, the system creates a high quality, new source of water and uses only half the energy needed to import water.

Santa Clara County's Integrated Pest Management products purchasing program reduces exposure to toxins and pollution. It will receive the Leadership Award in the category of Purchasing. The effort includes the establishment of a regional park to help educate citizens about the use of alternatives to toxic pesticides and herbicides in residential and public areas as well as wild lands.

The Green Culture award will be presented to the Department of Motor Vehicles for aggressive internal efforts to promote sustainable operations. For example, in 2008, the DMV diverted 69 percent of its landfill waste to recycling centers.

"Initiatives like these keep California ahead of the curve when it comes to preserving the environment," said Carl Smith, editor-in-chief for Green Technology. "The dozens of deserving projects that were nominated are impressive evidence of the public sector's commitment to a sustainable future."



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