Companies that take the lead environmentally are often those that strive to partner with their communities, moving shared goals forward. Many of them have found that becoming energy efficient leads to substantial savings as well as increasing the profit margin. In short, being an environmental steward makes business sense.
Five Maine companies were honored by Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection in April for voluntarily participating in the department’s program, Environmental Leader of Maine: Smart Growth Through Smart Production.
“These businesses have gone above and beyond any compliance requirements under state law,” said MDEP Commissioner David Littell. “They also have reduced their energy usage, reducing operating costs, which has put their company in a more competitive position.”
Under Governor John Baldacci in 2003, Maine became the first state in the nation to set into statute goals to reduce greenhouse gases. These goals call for specific reductions: by 2010 greenhouse gas emissions must be at 1990 levels, and by 2020 they must be ten percent below 1990 levels. To move towards these goals, the Governor’s Carbon Challenge was issued, and the MDEP was tasked to develop additional agreements with businesses and nonprofit organizations to enact the law.
Since then nearly 80 businesses, municipalities and institutions participate in the Governor’s Carbon Challenge. Those companies that excel as environmental stewards are also in the Environmental Leader category.
“You are proving that Maine can become more energy independent, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful air pollutants, and reduce the use of toxic chemicals — at the same time we grow green jobs and the Maine economy,” said Baldacci to the award recipients. “From energy efficiency and onshore wind, to offshore tidal, wind, and wave, these are exciting times that will lead to a cleaner and more secure energy future in Maine.”
The Environmental Leader program provides a blueprint for businesses to follow to exceed environmental compliance standards and to become mentors in the business community. As Maine transitions further into the energy revolution many of these leaders are looking to diversify.
Bath Iron Works sees an opportunity to diversify in the energy sector, helping with the wind farm planned offshore in Casco Bay. BIW, a proud shipbuilder for the Navy, is among the state’s largest private-sector employers. The company has a world-class workforce of welders, electricians, and fabricators, who assemble complex systems for a marine environment. They could create the specialized support vessels that are needed to build and service offshore wind parks and have begun research to that end.
During the award ceremony, BIW renewed its partnership with the DEP, based on a signed agreement outlining BIW’s performance commitments. Performance is documented by tracking commitments and publishing an annual report.
For over 200 years Lyman Morse Boatbuilding has been crafting world-renowned boats. They recently decided to diversify in the renewable energy sector by producing a solar cube.
“We are very excited about our solar cube,” said J. B. Turner of Lyman Morse. “We are continually using innovative technologies with our ships, like composites. The solar cube is a natural progression for us.”
Lyman Morse received the award because they exceeded with their environmental goals. They: reduced energy use by 36 percent, solid waste by 20 percent, toxic releases by 39 percent, hazardous waste by 75 percent, and toxic use by 33 percent. The company also completed their green building, which utilizes energy efficiencies, including solar and structural integrated panels and in-floor radiant heating.
Wright-Ryan Construction, Inc., a general contracting/construction management firm based in Portland, received an award for meeting or exceeding their sustainability goals. Wright-Ryan has achieved a 66 percent reduction in carbon emissions. They have far surpassed their initial goal to reduce carbon 10 percent by 2010, two years ahead of time.
Based in Portland, Wright-Ryan’s institutional, commercial, and residential construction and restoration projects across Maine demonstrate their company-wide commitment to sustainability. Their projects include Maine’s first home that was awarded a Platinum designation in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design standard. Wright-Ryan is also a founding member of the Maine Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.
“We’re very proud to receive this award,” said Lee Proscia of Wright-Ryan. “Working with communities in an environmentally friendly way is something we believe in deeply. Our hope is that by being teachers in environmental practices, others will see the value of using green building practices.”
Wright-Ryan’s recent project, USM’s Wishcamper Center in Portland, is on track to achieve LEED Gold Certification. The Wishcamper Center includes a garden roof viewable to patrons, geothermal heating and cooling system, rain gardens to manage storm water and low-flow toilets flushed with stored rainwater.
Wright-Ryan’s Marketing Manager, Allison Stoddard, said, “We have been fortunate that our employees have embraced our commitment to the Governor’s Carbon Challenge. From our jobsite, to superintendents that enforce our no-idling policy, or that the building lights are off at night, to our office staff eliminating their space heaters, we are all responsible for our success as a company. This kind of enthusiasm made it easier for our organization to reduce our carbon footprint again this year.”
Evonik Cyro, LLC of Sanford is investing in several technologies to provide new solutions for the solar industry. They are becoming innovators in the solar industry by reducing the cost of solar panels with a reduction in the size of the photovoltaic cells.
“These companies are supplying hope during hard times. By diversifying into the green energy technologies of the future, they are moving Maine forward for an exciting future as an energy exporter,” said the governor. “These people are setting a standard for the nation.”
Other companies participating in the Environmental Leaders program, who were recognized by Governor Baldacci are: Fairchild Semiconductor, True Textiles, Inc., Moss Inc., National Semiconductor, NorDx, Poland Spring Bottling, and Pratt & Whitney.