2012 GoGreen Awards
What do a yoga studio and Harvard Law School have in common? Both were winners at the City of Cambridge’s 2012 GoGreen Awards Ceremony held May 22 at the MIT Museum. The ceremony recognized city employees, organizations, businesses and institutions who have taken action to create a sustainable future. Recipients included:
City Employee Award - Christina Giacobbe, Cambridge Police Department
Community organization - Mystic River Watershed Association
Waste reduction and recycling, small business - Karma Yoga Studio
Waste reduction and recycling, large organization - Harvard Law School
Energy - TD Bank Central Square branch
Transportation, small business - CRB Consulting Engineers
Transportation, large employer AND energy award - Amgen
Transportation AND climate leader, large business - Tsoi/Kobus and Associates
By paying close attention to recycling and reusing, the seemingly unconnected fields of yoga and law come together. In 2011, Karma Yoga achieved over 80% recycling by diverting 2,619 lbs of mixed paper, cardboard, bottles and cans from the trash. Harvard Law School reduced its campus environmental footprint through recycling, reduction, re-use and composting – in 2011 they achieved a 64% composting and recycling rate.
Deputy City Manager Rich Rossi spoke to the actions each winner takes daily. He cited Christina Giacobbe for her enthusiastic and inspiring leadership in the City’s Green Sense program, which encourages City employees to save energy. Of the Mystic River Watershed Association, celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012, Mr. Rossi noted that they “engage community members in projects to learn about and enjoy the river through environmental education, rain gardens, and removing invasive water chestnut plants.”
Two awardees have made significant strides around transportation. CRB offers complete reimbursement to employees who buy T passes, and three out of every five employees use transit of walk to work each day, avoiding23 tons of C02 emissions a year. Amgen Cambridge also rewards employees who don’t drive –those who drive to work must pay 50% of their monthly parking pass, while T riders get free T passes. Employees who walk or bike to work get a monthly bonus.
TD Bank’s Central Square office, opened less than a year ago, built out an existing storefront to be 30-40% more energy efficient than heritage designs. The bank purchases renewable energy credits as well. Tsoi/Kobus has set a goal to become the first carbon-neutral architectural firm, reducing greenhouse gas emission by 2% annually. Through the Carbon Fund they sequester an enough CO2 to offset their remaining emissions.
Noting that each winner contributes toward Cambridge’s climate action goals, , Susanne Rasmussen, Director of the Environmental and Transportation Division of the city’s Community Development Department, gave a brief update on Cambridge’s climate and sustainability work.
Rasmussen reported that WalkScore recently named Cambridge America’s most walkable city, thanks to infrastructure improvements and the city’s mixed use zoning. “The city’s increase in cycling is also part of the story,” Rasmussen explained, helped by increased bike parking, with hundreds of new post and ring racks. Soon to come are bike parking stalls in the street.”
“Certainly, the work of all of the 2012 GoGreen award winners, and of everyone working to become more sustainable, matters enormously,” Rasmussen said. “We are proud of our businesses and institutions.”