Individuals and others were honored May 7 when Green Living and Energy Education handed out its second annual Green Living Awards at the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden.
Those honored by the organization's board:
Individual Award: Annalise Mannix, recently appointed to the Monroe County Climate Change Advisory Committee. She also was a member of the county Green Building Task Force and the Key West Climate Action Team.
She is a founding member of the Keys chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. And as an engineer, she designs buildings and renovations for sustainable living and practices water and energy conservation at home.
She also was a driving force in the creation of the South Florida Regional Climate Summit comprising Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Student Award: The Poinciana Elementary School Recycling Rangers.
In one school year, the Rangers taught 650 students, their teachers and administrators how to recycle, creating a process for recycling in every classroom, office and the school cafeteria.
Their efforts diverted 40 dumpsters of recyclable waste, reducing solid waste at the school by about 40 percent. Savings exceeded expectations, with trash pickups decreasing from five to three times per week, saving about $600 monthly in disposal fees.
Business Award: First State Bank of the Florida Keys has served as a leader in using and promoting sustainable strategies that reduce energy use, promote reuse and increase recycling.
Over the years, the bank has invested more than $50,000 to supporting green initiatives and education with cash donations, green tips with bank statements, reusable bags, and providing more than 270 volunteers at green events throughout the Keys. Also, its branches on Whitehead Street in Key West, on Big Pine Key and in Marathon have been certified in GLEE's Green Business Program, meeting water and energy-efficiency standards.
Agency/Organization Award: The Florida Keys Electric Cooperative conducted 74 free, in-depth energy audits for co-op members last year. Its Marathon solar array, the first grid-connect solar array in the Keys, now serves 29 interconnected solar homes.
The utility's fleet runs on biodiesel fuel and synthetic oil. And its participated in Earth Day events hosted by Mariners Hospital, Curry Hammock State Park and the Green Turtle Hammock in Marathon.
Local Government Award: Monroe County. It hired a sustainability coordinator to manage a $2.3 million energy grant and adopted resolutions to reduce greenhouse emissions while setting policies for energy, fuel, water and waste reduction.
Through a state grant, the county will purchase four hybrid vehicles to replace conventional vehicles, saving 4,000 gallons of gas while saving $16,000 annually. And efficiencies in new buildings include natural lighting, efficient windows and insulation, and computer-controlled lighting and air conditioning.
The Green Ambassador Awards were selected through an online vote system. The winners:
Individual Award: Adriana Sanchez-Gomez. Among other things, she uses organics, composts, has a home garden, recycles and reuses. She promotes green education and awareness via mother groups and on Facebook.
Student Award: Reade Lawson, a 9-year-old who lives on Sugarloaf Key. Following a trip to Canada, he learned about climate change and urged his family to make changes, such as hanging laundry to dry instead of using a dryer, planting a vegetable garden and starting composting.
Business Award: The Hammocks at Marathon, a state-certified Green Lodging property. Among other things, Hammocks uses nontoxic, environmentally friendly cleaners and provides guests with recycled bags for their recyclables. Daily readings of the irrigation water meter detects spikes in use, and automatic clocks with rain sensors on the sprinkler system conserves water.
Local Government Award: City of Marathon, which tied with Monroe County for popular votes. The city will have all properties connected to its sewer system before the state's 2015 deadline. And a $24 million citywide stormwater project will capture and retain stormwater runoff from all city streets. The city is also installing water re-use components to its sewer system.