Excellence in Sustainability Award Winners

2015 Winner: Michael B. Coleman, Mayor, Columbus, Ohio

Project Summary:

The City of Columbus, Ohio, has created an innovative and comprehensive environmental management plan that has achieved significant results in protecting natural resources, reducing impacts to the environment and promoting environmentally sustainable practices. Initiated 10 years ago, the plan has partnered city of Columbus staff together with community volunteers to create environmental policies, programs and infrastructure across a range of areas. This partnership has resulted in significant and measurable environmental improvements for the city and its residents.

View Columbus Green Community Plan Summary (PDF)

2014 Winner: Energy Smart Colorado

Project Summary:

Energy Smart Colorado is a multi‐jurisdictional comprehensive energy efficiency retrofit program providing necessary health, safety, and energy efficiency services to rural mountain communities in Colorado. Energy Smart Colorado began as a partnership between Eagle, Pitkin, and Gunnison Counties and their non‐profit partners, working together to provide residents easy access to energy coaching, comprehensive energy assessments, referrals to qualified contractors, and financial assistance for energy improvements. From 2010 to 2013, the program completed 3,085 energy assessments and 2,099 energy retrofits, and has now transitioned as its own non‐profit entity, providing energy efficiency services to utilities, residents, and businesses in 30 counties across Colorado.


2013 Winner: Johnson County Wastewater Department (Kansas)

Project Summary:

The Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin (DLSMB) wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) located in the heart of the residential community of Overland Park, KS, was recently expanded from 12 million gallons per day (MGD) to 14.5 MGD and upgraded to meet strict total nitrogen and total phosphorus effluent goals. A key object of the Solids Improvements Project was to expand and enhance the plant’s anaerobic digestion process to cost-effectively treat solids from the upgraded liquid treatment stream expansion. In addition, Johnson County Wastewater’s (JCW’s) commitment to triple-bottom line sustainable infrastructure enabled integration of additional systems into the Project to: (1) eliminate landfilling and provide beneficial reuse of biosolids trucked in from another WWTP, (2) provide a convenient receiving station and beneficial reuse of fats, oils, and grease (FOG) waste streams in support of Johnson County’s aggressive FOG management program, (3) nearly eliminate flaring and wasting of digester gas through installation of a combined heat and power (CHP) cogeneration system that provides most of the electricity required by the WWTP, (4) reduce the treatment plant’s carbon footprint, and (5) minimize noise, visual, and odor aesthetic impacts on nearby residents. Significant components of the project consist of a fourth primary anaerobic digester, enhanced digester mixing, selectable digester operational modes, upsized gas handling piping, new waste gas flares, flexible-membrane gas storage bubble, extensive digester gas cleaning equipment, two 1 MW cogeneration units, and a state-of-the-art FOG waste receiving station. The project is one of the largest wastewater cogeneration projects in the state’s history, and has been recognized for demonstrating sustainability and energy efficiency in Wastewater treatment.


Past Winners: 

2012 Winner: The Atlanta Regional Commission's (ARC) Green Communities Program

2011 Winner: The City of Coppell’s Eco Coppell initiative

2010 Winner:  City of Sioux Falls, SD 

2009 Winner: Hernando County School District, Brooksville, Florida

2008 Winner: City of Plano, Texas