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'Green' leaders recognized at Business Press awards ceremony


What can be done with an empty liquor bottle? How can educators best teach science and Earth stewardship? Can biking be more green?

Nine organizations who answered those questions and addressed other sustainability issues were honored Friday at the 2013 Green Business Awards, presented by the Las Vegas Business Press.

One hundred people attended the sixth-annual awards ceremony, which recognizes outstanding achievement in green business practices.

Business Press General Manager Debbie Donaldson kicked off the ceremony, over breakfast at Springs Preserve, and entertainment reporter Dayna Roselli announced the winners.

Fifty Green Awards nominees were narrowed to 24 finalists and nine winners. Winners of the 2013 Green Awards are:

■ BEST RECYCLING PROGRAM: The Venetian and the Palazzo

Rishi Tirupari, assistant director of sustainability at The Venetian, accepted the award. The Venetian and the Palazzo have implemented sorting and incentive programs to reduce waste that would end up in landfills.

■ BEST GREEN BUSINESS OWNER: Las Vegas Cyclery

Owner Jarred Fisher recently moved his bike shop from Charleston Boulevard to a “net-zero” building on Town Center Drive and the Las Vegas Beltway. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified building generates more electricity than it uses.

“We’ve been green since day one, since we met in college,” Fisher said of the expanding bicycle business he owns with his wife. “Now we’re building upon that.”

■ BEST GREEN PRACTICES, PRODUCTS: Bottlehood

Why trash an empty bottle when it can be turned into a drinking glass? Bottlehood, which is moving from San Diego, collects more than 250,000 bottles from Strip establishments and turns them into unique glassware each year.

■ BEST GREEN PRACTICES, RESOURCES: Sempra U.S. Gas & Power

Sempra operates solar, wind and natural gas-fueled plants to power 1 million homes nationally. In Nevada, Sempra operates Copper Mountain Solar 1 and 2 in Boulder City. In two weeks, the company will break ground on Solar 3.

“We do business in a lot of states, but the city of Boulder in Nevada has been one of the best cities for getting things done,” Semper Director Scott Furgerson said .

■ BEST GREEN PRACTICES, BUILDING: Tronox

The organic chemical manufacturer recycles water and collects energy from waste-runoff. Plant manager Rick Stater says his company is in the electric vehicle industry and will deliver power storage for vehicles throughout the world.

■ BEST GREEN PRACTICES, ENVIRONMENTAL: Showtime Tours

“Our industry is known for pollutants,” said Lisa DeMarigny, owner of Showtime Tours, but her tour company has used clean-burning and alternative fuels for years. Showtime Tours also uses a recycling program to salvage metal, glass and tires used on its fleet of vehicles.

“Keep that in mind when you see our buses on the Strip,” she said.

■ BEST GREEN PRACTICES, CAMPAIGN: MGM Resorts International

MGM’s green portfolio includes the ultraefficient CityCenter. Additionally, it spread a message of sustainability last year with its employee-produced “Inspiring the World” musical, viewed by more than 41,000 employees in 2012.

■ BEST GREEN NONPROFIT: GreenPower

GreenPower’s aims to increase scientific knowledge by supporting pre-kindergarten-through-12th grade educators. Teaching educators, rather than students directly, allows for a greater impact.

■ BEST GREEN ADVOCATE: Lydia Ball, Clean Energy Project

Ball is recognized for helping community leaders translate green aspirations into green realities.

“This is a sign of a community really embracing sustainability,” Ball said. She then shared a quote: “We no longer have to choose between the community and the environment. The two go hand in hand.”

Sponsor Valley Electric Association raffled a solar water heater, valued at $13,000 to $14,000, and Roselli wrapped up the ceremony by recalling her 16 years in journalism and reporting on green trends for the first time.

 

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