Almanac

News - April 23, 2014

Resident, business win environmental awards

by Sandy Brundage

Menlo Park bestowed two Environmental Quality Awards this year, one to a resident, and another to a business.

Carolee Hazard won in the "sustainable lifestyle" category for her many green activities, including leading a Suburban Park community campaign to reduce energy use, delivering produce to various neighborhoods, and running the "Green Club" at Encinal Elementary School to teach students about the importance of recycling and composting.

Civic service seems to be a habit for Ms. Hazard — you might recognize her name as the founder of the "93 Dollar Club," which raises money for food banks via social networking. She was not immediately available for comment on winning an Environmental Quality Award this year.

In the "climate change" category, Gridium, a Menlo Park-based startup, won for providing services to help companies reduce their energy use and maximize efficiency based on analyzing power meter data.

"Buildings make up 40 percent of the global energy footprint, and much of that is wasted. It's fair to say that energy efficiency is the single biggest lever we have to reduce carbon emissions in the near term, while we make the slow transition away from fossil fuels," said Adam Stein, company president and co-founder.

The list of winners is shorter than in 2013, which had five recipients. Environmental Programs Manager Rebecca Fotu said the number fluctuates depending on how many nominations are submitted.

"There have only been a few rare times were the commission didn't award someone that applied or was nominated, and it was mainly because the project or program was not yet complete. Typically, the commission will actively scout out the community to find potential candidates," she said.

A dearth of nominations may come about when businesses are too busy to apply, or some residents are too shy or feel they don't need recognition for what has become their way of life, Ms. Fotu suggested.

The 2014 awards will be presented at the April 29 council meeting.

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