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Winners of 2011 Mayors Environmental Excellence Awards Named

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(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced that seven facilities and organizations had received the 2011 Mayor’s Environmental Excellence Awards for their commitment to upholding environmentally-friendly principles in building design and operations.

Bradley Site Design, Inc. won the Construction/Development category; Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School won the Educational Facility category; The Topaz Hotel won the Hotel category; Skyline Innovations won the Innovation in Green Products or Services category; Friends of Rock Creek’s Environment and American Society of Landscape Architects were co-winners in the Partners category; and Firefly Restaurant won the Restaurant/Food Service category.

“Each winner has been successful in implementing green initiatives and has demonstrated environmental stewardship,” said Mayor Gray.

Bradley Site Design, Inc. (BSD) is a landscape architecture and planning firm that works to restore natural systems and “re-green” urban spaces in all its national and local projects, including Coolidge High School’s campus. BSD limits construction to the smallest possible envelope to preserve trees, soils and topography on the site. BSD typically recycles at least 25 percent of materials for re-use. Their landscape designs incorporate rain gardens, bioswales, preserved mature trees to reduce the heat effect on buildings, and landscapes that don’t require irrigation. BSD has successfully pursued grants to fund ornamental and orchard trees and to build wildlife habitats and trails. BSD regularly provides pro bono design services for organizations and events.

Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School (TMA), along with Savoy Elementary School, transformed a half-acre section of under-utilized playground into a thriving green space that includes permanent gardens, wetland plants, an orchard, and an outdoor classroom and greenhouse. They started a composting program for cafeteria food scraps and garden waste. Students helped local chefs prepare delicious, healthy treats using locally-grown apples. Some of the produce is sold by students at the Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Market. TMA’s science teacher, Sam Ullery, organized a Green Club for students and implemented a comprehensive recycling program. The TMA Green Club produced the film, “Where Does Your School Lunch Come From?” to raise awareness of food production and distribution. The school has installed many energy saving fixtures including a new HVAC system, 2.8 kilowatt solar panel system, and motion sensors that turn off unused lights. The school shares a LEED-certified gymnasium with the Savoy Elementary School.

The Topaz (a Kimpton Hotel) received the Green Seal certification at the Silver Level in 2010. The Topaz, like all Kimpton Hotels, has a comprehensive environmental program called EarthCare. In addition to typical hotel conservation practices, the Topaz implemented newer practices. For example, sidewalks are swept or washed with graywater – waste water from laundry or bathing. Laundry detergents and cleaning products are non-phosphate and biodegradable. Each hotel has a green purchasing steering committee. The sustainable practices include waste minimization, reuse and recycling, energy efficiency, management of fresh water resources and environmentally and socially sensitive purchasing policy.

Skyline Innovations provides an innovative business model for financing one of the lowest-cost solar technologies – solar thermal water heating. Skyline helps customers achieve savings on their utility bills by installing systems that efficiently preheat water using the sun. The property owner enters into a long-term agreement with Skyline to purchase the energy for heating their hot water at reduced cost. The company installs the system at no cost to the property owner; Skyline retains ownership for a set period of time, during which they monitor the system’s output and maintain the equipment in working order. Skyline Innovations is also pioneering the use of long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) to tackle solar water heating, allowing them to reach large hot water users and multi-family buildings with a no-cost product that saves them money and cuts down on pollution.

Friends of Rock Creek’s Environment (FORCE) is a District nonprofit organization working to restore and protect Rock Creek Park. FORCE has worked with DDOE’s RiverSmart Homes Program to install a demonstration garden in each of the eight District wards. FORCE completed six months of stormwater baseline monitoring and they are conducting outreach to recruit residents to participate in the RiverSmart program. FORCE has organized more than 100 cleanups in the parks along Rock Creek, hauled out 5,000 bags of trash, 37 tons of loose trash, and 14,000 plastic bags from the creek and woodlands.

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) provides significant public outreach and education for green roofs and sustainable landscaping in the District. More than 5,000 guests have toured the ASLA green roof. ASLA is a founding partner of the Sustainability Sites Initiative (SITES). SITES is currently working on 11 local projects to install sustainability-oriented landscapes that sequester carbon, clean the air and water, increase energy efficiency, restore habitats, and reduce the urban-heat-island effect.

Firefly Restaurant is Green Seal certified at the Silver Level. All staff members implement the recycling program, which recycles cardboard, cocktail napkins and to-go containers. Tablecloths are no longer used in order to reduce water consumption. The restaurant offers organic food, no bottled water, an all-American wine list (to reduce carbon footprint), an on-site organic herb garden, recycled paper products, packaging made with 100 percent biodegradable corn-based materials, and to-go containers made from sugarcane. They are currently composting 3,500 pounds per month; in 2010 the restaurant composted 41,432 pounds of scrap. They purchase environmentally-friendly cleaning products and energy efficient lighting. Chef Danny Bortnick is a member of the First Lady’s Chefs Move to School Initiative.

Each winner was carefully reviewed for compliance by The District Department of the Environment’s Air, Stormwater, Lead, and Enforcement Divisions. A case study of each winner will be made available at the department’s website at