AZGWP Hall of Fame
2015 Arizona’s Greenest Workplace Winner – Watershed Management Group
Watershed Management Group (WMG) is a Tucson based non-profit organization that helps connect people to their local environment to improve our quality of life. We focus on holistic management of natural resources through our development of projects and policies in close collaboration with communities.
We work with diverse people, including schoolchildren, neighborhood groups, low-income populations, businesses, design and engineering professionals, city governments, and elected officials. Founded in 2003, WMG has trained thousands of people in cities throughout Arizona and the greater Southwest including New Mexico and southern California. We have worked with cities including Tucson, Phoenix, and Flagstaff to develop and implement ground-breaking green infrastructure practices and standard designs. We led in the development of a Green Streets Active Practice Guideline policy governing all new or redeveloped roadways for the City of Tucson which was passed unanimously by the Mayor and Council.
Our long-term vision is to preserve and restore urban and rural watersheds including hydrologic processes which reestablish and enhance flowing rivers and streams throughout the Southwest. WMG is a founding member and the primary fiscal sponsor of the Community Water Coalition, a group that provides leadership and guidance toward water policy that sustains healthy ecosystems and quality of life in the Santa Cruz Watershed. WMG is also a founding partner of the Tucson Conserve to Enhance Program, which works to ensure that water conservation will translate into benefits for the environment by linking personal water conservation efforts with local riparian restoration projects. These are the two leading efforts in the Santa Cruz watershed to restore flowing desert rivers.
2015 People’s Choice Award – Ecogreen Carpet, Tile and Upholstery Care
Ecogreen Carpet, Tile and Upholstery Care is the only place to call if you want Earth Friendly cleaning for your furniture or flooring in the Tucson area. If it is not Earth Friendly, then we will not stock it on our trucks or in our shop! We lose money every day to our “competitors” who say they are Earth Friendly, yet continue to offer toxic ingredients, such as certain carpet/furniture protectors and tile/grout sealers to their clients. While there are few of these products on the market today that are considered Earth friendly, we have yet to find an effective product for those services that we feel does a good enough job to justify asking our clients to give up their hard earned money. Our integrity and reputation, as well as our health, your health and the health of our planet are more important to us then the up sale that other companies continue to push. We are serious about being green and want to harbor good practices now so that maybe future generations won’t have to suffer any more than they already are going to. When we first started out, there were almost no green cleaning supplies in our industry and we set out to change that! In the past 9 years through trial and some errors we have found a superior combination of cleaning solutions, equipment as well as the knowledge and skills to take care of even the dirtiest of carpet, tile and upholstery without the damaging effects to our environment and our health because of the toxic ingredients in traditional carpet cleaning chemicals that have been used for decades.
2014 Arizona’s Greenest Workplace Challenge Winner – Business Office Suites LLC
Business Office Suites LLC was created and built by Donna and Joel Cohen nearly two years ago. The project serves small-business professionals who want and need beautiful, quiet, professional office space at an affordable price and extols the concept of “reducing” in many ways.
Beginning with the design choices, the Cohens chose chemical-free methods of laying the carpet. The “green dot” method of the clean, chemical free carpeting material complements the close attention the owners pay to the air quality within the office suites. A tightly adhered-to clean air contract is maintained with a reputable HVAC company that changes the filters and cleans out the AC system every 3 months.
In addition, Reverse Osmosis water systems have been installed in the Break rooms to encourage drinking tap water rather than purchasing bottled water. What’s more, a shredding service recycles all the paper that is shredding on site.
Overall, the design of the office structure encourages the use of smaller offices complemented by the use of the larger, more communal spaces in the Conference Room, Break room and Reception areas.
2014 Arizona’s Greenest Workplace People’s Choice Award – Wilson Produce
Our company is actively involved in many Southern Arizona communities and we have partnered with or provided project funding for many businesses, non-profits and individuals. We partnered with Manzo Elementary School a few years ago through seed donations and technical support. With the help of the students, teachers, staff and volunteers we investigated how fruit-bearing plants performed in their aquaponics system versus in soil. We also work with Borderlands Restoration in Patagonia, AZ in how compost from produce waste can support arid rangelands through carbon sequestration, water retention, promotion of native plant species and the nutrient content of plants that animals use for food. Active engagement best informs our employees and communities.
After about four years of planning, retrofitting and constructing, we are about to commission what will be the largest commercial solar PV array in Santa Cruz County—the AgriSol 1MW solar array located on the roof of our Nogales warehouse and offices. During the process of building the solar array we partnered with a local Tucson solar company, Solar Gain Inc, and soon opened a subsidiary solar company in Mexico called SolGen International SA de CV with the idea of offering solar solutions to the Wilson Produce partner farms as well as others in Mexico interested in going solar.
We are also focusing on other types of resource recovery systems, specifically addressing organic waste. Nogales, AZ is a massive food corridor for all of the US and Canada, especially during the winter months, but what happens to the produce that is neither sold nor donated? More importantly, what else can done be done with it rather than throw it away? We are exploring options including—food processing (we’ve made pickled mini sweet peppers and mini pepper kim chi), livestock feed for local ranchers, composting and we are even exploring an industry/community-scale anaerobic co-digester that would use produce waste to create natural gas and/or electricity, fertilizer and animal bedding. So far we have shared these issues and possible solutions with community members, senators, councilmen, county supervisors, the produce industry, the electric utility and the local school district to name just a few. We have received tremendous support in helping to achieve these solutions and look forward to seeing them through.
2013 Arizona’s Greenest Workplace Challenge Winner – Manzo Elementary
Manzo Elementary is a public Title I school in the Tucson Unified School District. Manzo serves the neighborhood of Barrio Hollywood and approximate 92% of Manzo students receive free and reduced lunch. Over 95% of Manzo’s students are Mexican American, Native American, and Southeast Asian. Through a sustainability education program, Manzo seeks to both close the achievement gap and nurture the whole child. Hands on, project based learning in the areas of recycling, composting, and food production give students an authentic context for learning and practicing standards based curriculum. Manzo’s school gardens provide students and families, a demographic overrepresented in obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, access to affordable fresh produce.
Teachers deliver sustainability curriculum and students then model sustainability practices through project based learning. Curriculum is presented and students participate in recycling, composting, rainwater harvesting, and intensive food production.
Expanding sustainability programming into the community, Manzo has partnered with Tucson Electric Power (TEP), Tucson Clean and Beautiful, and The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Community partners use Manzo Elementary to present community workshops on energy conservation, recycling, composting, and gardening.
In addition, Manzo Elementary opens it’s campus to community tours throughout the school year, touring hundreds of participants. Manzo students are trained as docents and lead tour groups throughout the campus highlighting Manzo’s green education programming. In the past year Manzo has participated in the Tucson Chicken Coop Tour, Watershed Management Group site tour, Closing the Hunger Gap Tour, National Aquaponics Convention tour, and the Climate Southwest tour. Manzo also hosts site tours for schools in the region looking to replicate its sustainability programming. Manzo engages and informs hundreds of people a year from across the country about sustainability practices.
2013 People’s Choice Award – DIRTT Environmental Solutions
DIRTT stands for Doing It Right This Time. Our company manufactures walls, doors, flooring and modular interiors that create flexible, contemporary spaces. We do it using materials and practices that reduce or eliminate waste — and make money. In five years, DIRTT doubled its revenue and prevented more than 65 million pounds of manufacturing waste from ending up in landfills. DIRTT is based in Calgary Canada and has four manufacturing facilities, the greenest of which is here in Phoenix. Our unique culture is all about supporting a triple bottom line philosophy of people, planet and profit. So not only do we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously but are committed to the people we work with and the community we serve. Some examples of this include sending our employees out to volunteer in the community when there is a slow cycle in manufacturing instead of laying people off. We also have a full workout room in our factory for our employees to use when they are on a break or on their days off. To incentivize them to keep themselves in shape DIRTT has a program called FIT YOU where the employees who work out can put their names in a hat for end-of-month prizes. Employees who drive hybrid vehicles willing to put the company logo on the side of their car are given a $300 car allowance per month. With two full time chefs on staff and a beautiful cafeteria area our employees enjoy a full lunch and plentiful snacks during their work day and we invite local organizations to use our facility for networking events, meetings and ceremonies at no cost to them. They hired a local DIRTTbag to do community outreach for the company and have done several fundraisers for organizations such as Ronald McDonald House and United Way. Finally the company is very flat in that there are no titles and everyone is just as important as the other. Even our CEO and President sit at desks just like anyone else at DIRTT. It is such a privilege to be part of this amazing company that had the foresight eight years ago to create beautiful interior environments in the most environmentally friendly manner possible.
2012 Arizona’s Greenest Workplace Winner – St. Michael’s Parish Day School
St. Michael’s Parish Day School’s green initiatives focus on water, electricity and paper products. The school collects 56,000 gallons of rain water annually in cisterns for use on natural landscaping, and has recently installed 800 solar panels on its roof which virtually eliminated the need for purchased electricity. In addition St. Michael’s reduces waste by providing iPads for teachers and students to allow them to receive instructional material electronically, as well as engaging in an aggressive paper recycling program. Since the school began they have sent used textbooks to World Care which distributes them to other academic institutions.
“I love how they (St. Michael’s School staff members) are incorporating sustainability into their curriculum and operations and building a green ethos within their young students to impact their entire lives,” said judge Park Howell, co-founder of Park&Co, a green marketing agency in Phoenix. “The fact that they are teaching these vital lessons early in their students’ lives so they can make these changes in the future is impressive,” added judge Matt Herrington, director of sustainability at Golden Eagle Distributors, Inc. in Tucson.
2012 People’s Choice Award Winner – Sam Levitz Furniture
Tucson’s Sam Levitz Furniture wowed voters with its measureable sustainability stats: the company reduced their landfill waste by 16% last year and recycled almost one million pounds of cardboard. The company also updated its truck fleet using the newest technology to lower carbon emissions, cut down on idling time and reduce fuel usage by almost 3,000 gallons annually. The family-owned and operated company was founded by Sam Levitz in 1953 and is actively involved in community organizations in Tucson, Arizona. Each year, Sam Levitz donates over $50,000 of furniture to social service agencies.
2011 Arizona’s Greenest Workplace Winner – TriSports.com
TriSports.com’s commitment to sustainability is evident upon arrival at their headquarters at 4495 S. Coach Drive in Tucson. Flanking TriSports.com’s 32,000-square foot facility are water harvesting tanks, holding a combined 36,000 gallons of water. The tanks are also utilized as a City of Tucson water harvesting demonstration site. By year’s end, a 128kW solar array will span the roof top of the building, and two shade structures on the parking lot. The solar system will provide about 90% of TriSports.com’s energy usage. TriSports.com supports customers’ Green lifestyles through its GreenBox program—customers can choose to receive their orders in recycled boxes, filled with recycled packing materials. Green initiatives are practiced by TriSports.com 50 employees, many of whom participate in the company’s incentivized bike-to-work commuter program. Debbie Claggett, vice president of TriSports.com, said, “This award is a source of pride for everyone who works here.” Claggett added, “We have been nominated for many awards, but this one really speaks to the environmental efforts we make every day, and have been making since we started the company back in 2000.”
TriSports.com also operates a nonprofit company, TriSports Racing, which stages the Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival in June in Show Low, Arizona. The annual event is a certified silver-level Green event through the Council for Responsible Sport. “We love what TriSports.com does and are very impressed with their strong commitment to hosting Green events,” said Mrs. Green. “We hope that lots of people in the retail and event worlds are watching what TriSports.com is doing so that they can join the ranks of successful businesses making a difference for the planet. It is obvious that they are Green from the inside out, which is where all true sustainability begins”.
2010 Arizona’s Greenest Workplace Winner – Golden Eagle Distributors
Golden Eagle’s online contest submission noted, “Being green is part of the way of life at Golden Eagle. We are always seeking out new ways to be more energy efficient, use less and reuse whenever possible.”
The company recycles aluminum, glass, cardboard, plastic, and paper. In 2010 alone, Golden Eagle has already recycled over 4 tons of aluminum, 62 tons of glass and 420 cubic yards of cardboard, plastic and paper.
The distributor’s facilities are receiving upgrades to be more energy efficient, with changes in HVAC controls that resulted in electric usage dropping 8.7% and natural gas usage dropping 60%, and new lights being installed in the warehouse to save 656,000 kilowatts per year (the equivalent of planting 121 trees per year).
Golden Eagle’s “Green Team” helps keep green initiatives at the forefront through rewards and education. Employees helped clean up Kennedy Park in May and are planning another park clean up. Employees are also encouraged to carpool and use alternative modes of transportation.
In the community, Golden Eagle provides no-cost, reusable recycling bins for special events to promote recycling of beverage containers. The company has started purchasing compostable beverage cups made from corn to be used at special events.
Golden Eagle recently converted their large delivery fleet in Tucson from diesel to CNG (compressed natural gas) and installed a CNG station at their headquarters in Tucson. The station is also open to the public. Through the use of UPS Logistics software, the company increases its fuel efficiency by effectively rerouting delivery vehicles to maximize routing efficiency.