The city of Santa Fe is seeking nominations for the 2015 Sustainable Santa Fe Awards to recognize model projects that are helping Santa Fe reduce its ecological footprint, mitigate carbon emissions and build resilience in the face of climate change. These annual awards are limited to projects or programs with significant events that occurred during the 2014 calendar year or ongoing programs that haven’t yet been recognized. Award recipients will be recognized at a gala on April 8. Nominations will be accepted until March 15 and can be made online. A link can be found at www.santafenm.gov or at the websites of co-sponsors: Earth Care (www.earthcarenm.org), Santa Fe Green Chamber (nmgreenchamber.com/santa-fe) and Green Fire Times (www.greenfiretimes.com). Separate nominations must be made for each project, but you may nominate as many as you wish.
2015 Award Categories: Community Outreach or Education, Environmental Advocacy, Environmental Justice, Food System Adaptation, Water Adaptation, Ecosystem Adaptation, Renewable Energy or Energy Efficiency, Affordable Green Building or Building System, Green Economic Development, Triple Bottom Line, Low Carbon Transportation, Waste Reduction, Youth Led, Other
Last year there were winners in 13 categories:
- Community Outreach: Desert Academy Outdoor/Sustainability Club for a series of events focused on climate issues. The club brought in local experts to speak to youth, had community groups share information and demonstrate their work and raised funds for local climate-related causes.
- Environmental Advocacy: Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute for its Agri-Kids program, which brings sustainable agriculture into the classroom and schoolyard, and brings students to their farm for hands-on learning. This teaches about global warming, climate change, sustainability, organic farming, recycling, green building, vermiculture/composting and traditional agriculture.
- Food Systems: SF Community College Culinary Arts Garden, a living laboratory that offers volunteer opportunities for students, faculty and staff. Specialty garden beds make possible four-season vegetable production. Environmentally friendly techniques allow produce to be grown without pesticides, chemicals or genetically modified plants.
- Climate Adaptation—Water: The Raincatcher, which creates water-wise, beautiful landscapes and healthy soil. Storing and using rainwater reduces carbon emissions associated with utility-provided water processing and transportation and adapts residences for the new climate.
- Waste Reduction: SF Public Schools and EcoVim for a pilot project, which helped reduce waste by 28 percent and saved $60,000. EcoVim takes food waste and dehydrates it, reducing the weight by a factor of 10 and recovering water. They also recycled electronic waste and required school contractors to recycle.
- Climate Adaptation– Ecosystem: Surroundings Studio for design and construction of El Parque del Río, which follows the SF River through downtown. The park was beset with long-term problems. Incising the river channel has helped the health and viability of many old trees.
- Renewable Energy: Consolidated Solar Technologies for its 62.64 kW solar installation at Amy Biehl Community School, offsetting 125 tons of CO2. It also started constructing a 192.6 kW solar installation at Capital High. School installations serve as living laboratories for sustainability education.
- Youth-Led: Global Warming Express, a group of 9- and 10-year-olds working to raise awareness about climate change and to get kids involved in climate activism.
- Green Building System: Aerolenz, which manufactured the most energy-efficient daylighting products on the market, including skylights and translucent curtain-wall systems.
- Triple-Bottom-Line: Mark Choyt and his company, Reflective Images, which is working to reform the mining sector through responsible jewelry-materials sourcing and use of recycled metals.
- Green Economic Development: SolarLogic, whose mission is to increase the adoption of residential and commercial solar hydronic heating systems by developing, manufacturing and selling products that couple plumbing design standardization with state-of-the-art technology and ease of use. It also conducts educational programs and work with local contractors.
- Low-Carbon Transportation: Santa Fe County for a bike lane retrofit. A road between the Tesuque River and US84/285 can now be integrated into “State Bike Route 9” to make a wonderful non-motorized alternative for local and long-range travel.
- Innovative Sustainability Research: The U.S. Geological Survey for its Western Mountain Initiative to help natural resource managers, planners and policy makers understand the responses of Western mountain ecosystems to climatic variability and change, emphasizing sensitivities, thresholds, resistance and resilience.