Story last updated at 4/11/2012 - 11:36 am
SITKA - Last month, 24 Sitka businesses, agencies and not-for-profit groups were awarded the 2012 Sitka Green Business Award for their green business practices by the Sitka Global Warming Group and Sustainable Sitka (SGWG/SS). This year, 21 Sitka businesses received the highest recognition, the Platinum level award. One business received a Gold level award. Baranof Island Housing Authority received the 2012 Special Recognition award for their construction of a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified office building on Katlian St.
Green business practices, like turning off lights, recycling, carpooling, composting, serving organic and local foods and encouraging use of reusable cups/bags/plates, reduce waste, save energy and can save businesses money, improve the local and global community and economy, and benefit the environment. Now in its third year, the award program continues to encourage businesses by providing businesses a list of useful, easy, locally-proven business practices to save energy, money and resources. The program's four levels recognize different levels of commitment towards green practices. The more actions that a business is doing to help the environment, the higher the recognition level they receive. The special recognition category was set up for a business or group involved in a one-time, major environmental initiative.
This year's award winners include Baranof Island Housing Authority, Alaska Computer Center, AMSEA, Brave Heart Volunteers, City of Sitka - Facility Maintenance Department, Daily Sitka Sentinel, Down to Earth U-pick Garden, Glory Days Charters, Larkspur Café, Pet's Choice Veterinary Hospital, Sand Dollar Management, SEARHC, Shelter Cove Publishing, Sitka Conservation Society, Sitka Economic Development Association, Sitka Office Services, Sitka's Eagle Bay Inn, Sitka Soup, Sitka's Secrets, University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) - Sitka Campus, US Forest Service-Sitka Office, White's and Harry Race Pharmacy and Fortress of the Bear.
And as in past years, changes and additions for next year are being considered. SGWG/SS' current list has 33 "green" practices on it that are used to determine the green business awards. The list will continue to grow if businesses bring up new practices and the group agrees upon them. The most recent addition to the list of green practices is one where the business actively encourages buying local at other local businesses in Sitka (either via internet advertising of other local businesses, distributing brochures or written information about other local businesses, or through an active partnership with other local businesses). Next year the group says they are likely to add a practice that recognizes green building (and building retrofits) that improve energy efficiency. Additionally, the group is considering nominations that will last for two years rather then the current yearly nomination process. They are also considering increasing the number of practices needed to reach the higher levels.
Nominations from other Sitka businesses will still be considered for 2012 awards; SGWG/SS said they will take nominations for additional awards, either from businesses themselves or from customers through email (instructions are on the SGWG website).