2015 Arlington Green Patriot Awards
Congratulations to the 2015 Arlington Green Patriot Award Recipients:
Individual: Helen Reinecke-Wilt
Organization: Phoenix Bikes
People’s Choice: Claremont Elementary School Green Kids
Congratulations to all the 2015 Nominees. Read more about them below.
As the principal of the Arlington Career Center, Ms. Chung has led the effort to renew the school’s 40+ year-old greenhouse that had been unused or underutilized for more than a decade. Ms. Chung has also facilitated the student-designed plans for installing solar panels through a collaboration with James Madison University and a rainwater/stormwater cistern to capture and use water that would have been super-heated by paved surfaces before almost immediately entering storm sewers and streams. A new composting and vermiculture system also supports the greenhouse. All of this has been implemented in Ms. Chung’s first year as principal. She also plays an important role in the implementation of Arlington Tech’s Energy, Power and Sustainable Technology Academy. She continues to identify and encourage collaborations among teachers from a broad collection of academic and technical disciplines to integrate sustainable themes into the curricula of the new Arlington Tech Energy, Power and Sustainable Technology Academy. The academy’s engineering students design structures, construction students build them, auto body students provide welding support, a variety of students grow plants, automotive technology students support an electric vehicle to transfer supplies, TV and digital media students document it, and environmental students study and explain it all to school and community members.
Barbara Englehart currently serves as chair on the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee for Sustainability for Arlington Publics Schools, where she has been involved since its inception in January 2012. She brings focus and energy to the group by matching members’ expertise with specific sustainability projects. This year the committee is involved in multiple activities such as the Growing Green Schools Event, the Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) Energy Masters Program and recommendations regarding siting and land use when building new schools. Barbara understands the importance of student engagement and has encouraged Washington-Lee students to become involved in ACE’s Energy Masters Program. These students work alongside adult volunteers to help affordable housing residents make energy efficiency improvements in their homes. Barbara works as a management and business sustainability consultant (dba Englehart Consulting) and helps organizations with program and financial management in the sustainability, energy efficiency, and renewable sectors. In partnership with Northern VA Regional Commission (NVRC), she founded and manages the NoVA Sustainable Network, which works with local corporations, universities, and municipal governments to advance sustainability initiatives. And also in partnership with Leaders in Energy, where she has started a program on Sustainable Manufacturing: Building a Circular Economy in the DC/Baltimore/NoVA Region. She is also an adviser to the award winning Arlington Energy Masters volunteer program.
As the director of the Reevesland Learning Center, Joan Horwitt works with the students of the Arlington Career Center (ACC) to help breathe new life into their greenhouse. Joan helps the interns plant and grow herbs for the purposes of fundraising and use by the ACC culinary arts program. She is also working with the culinary arts program to begin composting food waste to be used for building better soil for the greenhouse. Joan is collaborating with the ACC carpentry instructor to proto-type a wooden composter that students will be able to construct and sell to community members so they can start or improve their existing backyard composting systems. In addition, Joan is working with elementary school students in Arlington Public Schools to develop seed growing kits that can be used by classroom teachers to help younger students learn about gardening and nutrition. She regularly invites students from neighboring schools to the Reevesland Learning Center’s gardens and also instructs teachers to help support their academic content.
Kate Marshall currently serves as vice chair on the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee for Sustainability for Arlington Public Schools and is recognized for her thoughtful, organized and engaged leadership within the committee. She brings focus and energy to the group by matching members’ expertise with specific sustainability projects. This year the committee is involved in multiple activities such as the Growing Green Schools Event, the Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) Energy Masters Program and recommendations regarding siting and land use when building new schools. Kate’s expertise in siting and land use planning has lent itself to thoughtful engagement on new construction projects. Kate and the committee have produced recommendations that highlight important considerations when building a new school in a more densely populated area. Kate also holds the position as the Director for Land and Sustainability programs at SRA International, and is a consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency on community-based smart growth, land revitalization, and climate issues. She is also a technical advisor to the corporate Go Green initiative. In her personal life, Kate made the decision to both live and work in Arlington in order to minimize the environmental impact of her commute and she alternates between biking, taking the bus, and driving to work, and often works from home. She chose her home and children’s daycare locations based on how easily she can bike and walk between them. In an effort to reduce waste, she furnished her home primarily with items from Craigslist.
For over 6 years, Helen Reinecke-Wilt has managed Arlington’s Green Home Choice program, a unique program designed to guide the greening of construction and renovation of single-family homes. Helen’s technical expertise in all aspects of home energy efficiency, and her personal touch, have been key to the success of the Green Home Choice program. Helen works with each homeowner and builder to ensure that the entire house has been considered in order to optimize energy efficiency, comfort, and cost savings. She has certified dozens of homes in Arlington, along with dozens more now in the process of achieving Green Home Choice status. As part of Helen’s work, she conducts educational sessions, hosting tours of green homes (including a bicycle tour of green homes, as part of the Green Home and Garden Tour), and coordinates the production of videos and case studies to spread the word about green home construction. She has worked closely with Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) to develop the Energy Masters Program and continues to volunteer her time and expertise to help improve energy and water efficiency in affordable housing units. Helen has completed a green renovation on her own residence and pioneered a unique solar co-op with several neighbors, before solar co-ops became popular. She regularly bikes or takes public transit to work and is an avid community gardener (committed to organic techniques) and is also a supporter of the local food movement.
Arlington Designer Homes Construction LLC
Andrew Moore, the president of Arlington Designer Homes Construction LLC, is a leader in energy efficiency and energy efficient home construction and remodeling. By using data driven analysis, he is able to plan, test and monitor energy use in homes, thereby educating consumers in regard to their energy consumption, resulting in reduced total usage and overall energy costs. Through powerful computer modeling, Andrew works with clients to plan the most efficient form of construction for their needs, creating the most energy efficient and cost effective installations as well. In this way, he is designing energy efficient homes that his clients can actually afford to build. Education is a large part of Andrew’s mission. He works within the community to educate people on energy efficiency, including speaking engagements at local elementary schools. He has also established a design center to help consumers shop for energy efficient features that serve to cut energy usage to a reasonable rate.
Bikes for the World
Bikes for the World is an Arlington-based non-profit that promotes an environmental ethic locally, and transforms lives overseas through the collection and distribution of large numbers of valuable used bicycles and spare parts. Bikes for the World seeks to be environmentally sustainable through finding a productive use for something that society, and the market, formerly thought of as low-value and only fit for the scrap yard or landfill. Its community roots go back to an initial bike drive in Arlington, organized by local resident, and executive director, Keith Oberg in April 1995 under the sponsorship of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment. The pilot effort proved successful beyond expectations, netting 143 donated bikes, which were prepped (compacted) by half a dozen volunteers for efficient storage and shipping for reuse overseas. In successive years, the event continued to net 100+ bikes every time, and eventually joined with the County’s HHW and electronics disposal event to become the County’s popular twice-yearly Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (ECARE). Over the last 20 years, 3,000+ bicycles have been donated in Arlington. Last November, Bikes for the World celebrated the delivery of its 100,000th bike and is now, on an annual basis, the nation’s largest bicycle reuse charity. Bikes for the World partners with Capital Bike Share to divert thousands of dollars of used parts generated through that agency’s regular maintenance operations.
Claremont Green Kids
The Claremont Green Kids, a group of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders, are committed to making Claremont Immersion School more sustainable. This very popular club is currently comprised of 22 students that meet every other week after school. The Green Kids engage in regular activities to learn about nature and the environment, explore conservation through the arts, and plant vegetables in Claremont’s gardens. Some of their activities include touring the school to make sure every classroom has recycling bins, learning about vegetarian cooking and the environmental benefits of eating less meat, upcycling old furniture to contribute to Claremont’s silent auction, and exploring the school grounds to learn about providing habitats for wildlife. The Green Kids also work to educate the Claremont community. After learning that the school’s kindergarten classes did not know what to recycle, the club made new signs for their recycling bins, which included pictures to make recycling guidelines clear. In another initiative, club members approached parent drivers at their cars during afternoon pick up and handed them an apple with a sticker reminding them not to idle their cars because of the pollution it creates. Currently, the Green Kids are in the process of making a display for the school cafeteria to inform students which items generated at lunch can be recycled. Ms. Walchak, the school’s art teacher and faculty adviser for the Green Kids club, encourages the students to explore the connections between art, conservation, and nature.
Consumer Electronics Association®
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® is the technology trade association representing the $223 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry, and uniting 2,000 companies within it. Located in Arlington, CEA has been recognized by multiple award programs as a top workplace promoting healthy and green lifestyles and work-life balance. CEA has implemented a variety of policies and programs designed to encourage and aid employees in their daily commute. Full-time employees are eligible to receive up to $120 a month in public transportation fares. Employees that carpool to work in pairs receive discounted parking and carpools of three or more employees receive free parking. CEA provides a safe area for employees to store their bikes, and there is a telecommuting option one day a week. CEA also offers a Mortgage Assistance Programs, which offers a $25,000 forgivable loan for the purchase of a primary residence within a five-mile radius of CEA’s headquarters. When choosing a new location in 2007, CEA chose a location that is walking distance (two blocks) from the Metro. CEA implements and participates in various initiatives aimed at growing consumer awareness of e-cycling and energy efficiency locally and nationwide. CEA operates GreenerGadgets.org, an online resource for consumers that highlights the industry trend toward “greener gadgets” and smaller, smarter, more energy efficient devices. CEA produced and distributed a new free educational initiative on ecycling by creating outreach tools for use in 4th to 6th grade classes. The lessons teach students how ecycling can help reduce the environmental impact of their technology choices. Students also learn how to create an ecycling action plan, and launch a campaign to encourage electronics recycling in their community.
Marta Layseca, the owner of EnviroHomeDesign (EHD), has worked tirelessly with single-family homeowners to create ultra-sustainable homes. EHD is an award winning design-build firm for residential renovations and addition projects. EHD specializes in integrated design and construction providing full service from concept to completion, including testing and certification to guaranty high performance homes. EHD delivers homes that reduce waste and materials during construction and save on operational costs by minimizing water and energy use. The end results are homes that meet the needs, lifestyle and budgets of the homeowners, while reducing their environmental footprint. Marta has worked on many projects through the Arlington Green Home Choice program, a free, voluntary green home certification program sponsored by Arlington County. EHD also uses other certification programs including EarthCraft Virginia and LEED Homes. She has committed an extraordinary amount of time, effort, and passion into creating sustainable homes in her community. She has given many lectures over the years promoting residential sustainability as a way of thinking and raising awareness of the impact of housing on the environment. Marta sees her role as the facilitator of the integrated design-build process and she has presented several seminars on that topic, which included the interactive participation of clients. She has also given her time to important causes such as the effort to retain open spaces in Arlington County. Marta has a 6-year architectural degree from Buenos Aires University, Argentina, where he taught until she moved to the US, and in 2002 she earned a master’s degree in Sustainable Residential Architecture from the University of Arizona.
Long Branch Elementary School Recycling Rangers
The Long Branch Elementary School Recycling Rangers is a school-based club comprised of 4th and 5th graders, under the direction of Greg D’Addario (and formerly Lori Lowe, who recently retired) dedicated to recycling paper, cardboard, cans, bottles, milk cartons, trays and printer cartridges. The students in the club follow a routine each day of collecting recyclable materials from each classroom and also from the cafeteria. On a daily basis, they ensure that all recyclable materials are taken to the recycling bins in the rear of the school. For more than a decade, the Long Branch Recycling Rangers have been recycling materials to improve the environment. The school program has also served as a model for other recycling programs throughout Arlington County Public Schools. The Recycling Rangers have been featured on Snapshots and received accolades from Kerm Towler, Assistant Director of Plant Operations.
Phoenix Bikes is a non-profit organization promoting bicycling for both youth and adults in and around Arlington. Phoenix Bikes operates as a recycling center for out-of-service bikes that would otherwise end up in landfills. It is estimated that Phoenix Bikes takes in over 1000 bikes each year as donations from individuals or from rental properties (as a way for them to deal with abandoned bikes). Donated bikes are then assessed by staff, youth mechanics, and volunteers and are either refurbished as youth Earn-a-Bike or Give-a-Bike projects. Any excess rubber or metal is also repurposed or recycled. By refurbishing out-of-service bikes and repurposing used bike parts, Phoenix Bikes keeps over 1000 bikes out of area landfills each year. Phoenix Bikes serves the larger community by making quality, refurbished bicycles and repair services available at a very affordable rate. In 2014, Phoenix Bikes performed over 1000 customer repairs at a cost far below the market rate, refurbished 563 used bicycles for sale at affordable prices, and refurbished over 40 bicycles for donation to community members in need. Phoenix Bikes also provides youth education programs to the future leaders of Arlington County. Through Phoenix Bikes’ youth programs, monthly adult workshops, and the sale of quality, refurbished bikes, Phoenix Bikes provides community members in Arlington with the tools, equipment, and skills to start and keep on riding, as a means of green transportation and fitness.
Technology Management, Inc.
Technology Management, Inc.’s mission since its inception has included the goal of reducing technology’s negative impact on our environment, and has made the receipt and proper disposal of used technology a part of its business plan. Recently, through the creation and sponsorship of TMI Arlington, a non-profit foundation to reclaim, refurbish and recycle viable technology to local non-profits, this activity has reached new levels of success. In 2014, TMI stepped up its green approach by moving almost entirely to telecommunication for its employees, thus decreasing their energy footprint and increasing productivity by moving all operations to the cloud, and further by connecting onsite engineers to clients in their area, preventing needless commuting. TMI employees commute to work from across the nation, and company meetings are held exclusively through video access. Additionally, TMI has ramped up both awareness with its client base, and access through its website, for remote support for problem resolution through TMI’s help desk, with the goal that, except for major installations and upgrades, all support will be handled remotely, rather than by traditional onsite visits. Onsite visits have decreased by 30 percent in the last year, due to remote support.
The TMI Initiative, founded by David Isaacson, helps companies and individuals donate their used technology (computers, cell phones, and printers) to needy non-profits in Arlington. The used equipment is first cleaned, fixed, and refurbished by the TMI Initiative staff. The TMI Initiative then match grant requests with inventory and re-donates the equipment. David also donates his consulting services for pro-bono work in IT support and consulting for non-profits and is currently working with Leadership Arlington, ACF, OAR, A-Span, Linden Resources, Arlington Neighborhood Villages, Virginia Air and Space Museums and Vets Forward.
Washington-Lee High School Rain Garden
The student created and maintained rain garden at Washington-Lee High School was installed along the Stafford Street side of the building and is adjacent to the main entrance of the school. This rain garden was built using community donated time and materials with the purpose of minimizing runoff from the Washington-Lee property. This low-maintenance garden contains various native plant species and also serves to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the facility. The garden plays a role in enhancing the health of local waterways, including the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. This rain garden at Washington-Lee not only serves as a model of environmental sustainability, it serves as a teaching tool. Environmental science classes are taught at the school in which the garden works to actively demonstrate key principles related to water management, native species and biodiversity, and pollution mitigation. Students are able to witness first hand the environmental benefits of a rain garden and have the opportunity during the school year to actively engage in the collection of data related to runoff reduction provided by the garden. Students also work on maintaining the garden each school year, which works to enhance school community engagement and ultimately benefits civic life for all who work, attend or use the building.
Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel
Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel is committed to doing more with less in a manner that makes business sense by taking a triple bottom line approach: planet, people, profit. Westin recognizes that the vitality of their business is directly linked to the vitality of the community where they operate and they are helping to build the community that surrounds them. Westin has set ambitious goals to reduce the use of natural resources. Their sustainability goals include reducing energy consumption by 30% and water usage by 20% by 2020. After one year under their current program, the hotel has seen a 4.9% decrease in energy usage and an 8% decrease in water use. To meet their goals Westin maintains two programs. The first program is called Make a Green Choice in which guests can reduce their environmental impact, while also receiving Starpoints rewards. Upon check-in, guests have the option to decline housekeeping services, linen/towel changes, and room cleaning, which reduces laundry loads, water usage, and energy expenditure significantly. In the second program, Clean The World (one of Westin’s strategic partners), Westin donates all of the toiletries leftover by guests (soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion) to people in need. Recycling these items reduces consumption, and lessens landfill waste, while also helping several programs that need support.