Berea group, others earn state Environmental Awards of Excellence

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) -Gov. Andy Beshear and Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) Secretary Rebecca Goodman announced winners Friday of EEC, Department for Environmental Protections annual environmental awards of excellence.

“These awards represent significant achievements in keeping Kentuckians healthy through better stewardship of the environment,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is a time when we all need to do more to take better care of each other and this beautiful state that we live in.”

Secretary Goodman said the winning entries showed innovation and collaboration in their approaches to improving Kentucky’s environment.

“Whether it was through promoting education, recycling or cleanup, all these award winners are to be congratulated,” Secretary Goodman said.

The Environmental Pacesetter Award, given for innovative efforts in protecting the environment and setting an example of environmental stewardship, was awarded to Mountain Association (formerly known as MACED), of Berea.

Over the last five years, the Mountain Association, working in the Appalachian region, assisted with more than 150 energy efficiency or renewable energy projects with an estimated energy savings of $430,000.

Mountain Association’s energy team collaborated with commercial companies and non-profits to identify energy saving opportunities through energy audits and follow-up work that included insulated roofs, HVAC modernization, LED fighting and strategies to reduce electrical demand.

The Mountain Association finance program also offered commercial businesses and nonprofits loans up to $500,000 for solar installations.

The Resource Caretaker Award, given for the conservation or improvement of Kentucky’s natural resources through land management, preservation or revitalization of contaminated land, as well as for habitat restoration, recycling programs, pollution prevention or water-use reductions, was awarded to Next Round Brewing.

The KY/TN section of American Water Works Association and the Clean Water Professionals of Kentucky and Tennessee collaborated to create Next Round Brewing, a capstone project for U of L chemical engineering seniors.

During the project, the students worked with four local microbrewers to produce high quality micro-brews using recycled water from the Floyds Fork Water Quality Treatment Center in Louisville.

Next Round brews were ultimately crafted with treated, recycled water and brewers served the special-edition beers for a limited time in their taprooms, and also during the Water for Life (WFL) event.

The   given in recognition for achievements in community-based environmental education and outreach, was awarded to the Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK).

The institute, located at the University of Kentucky, was established 10 years ago with support from the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop the workforce for the power and energy industry. Engineering students at the Kentucky Industrial Assessment Center (KIAC), which is affiliated with PEIK, receive hands-on training and real world experience in energy engineering, systems and management. KIAC has saved more than 50 businesses almost $20 million, while providing significant reductions in energy use and contributing to environmental improvements and conservation.

The Kentucky EXCEL Champion Award, given to a Kentucky Excellence in Environmental Leadership (EXCEL) member that demonstrates outstanding stewardship of Kentucky’s environment through energy conservation, improving air quality, minimizing waste or helping Kentuckians participate in environmental stewardship behaviors, was awarded to Swift & Staley Inc., of Kevil, KY.

During 2019, the Swift & Staley team participated in five community outreach projects, teaching environmental awareness and the benefits of pollution prevention through hands-on projects and employee participation events.

These included a plastic recycling project with the McCracken Youth Development Group, Morgan Elementary School and the Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club. They also included recycling and cleanup efforts with the city of Paducah and removal of 1,100 pounds of trash from shorelines and scenic drives at the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area with Friends of the Land Between the Lakes.

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