US EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

Maine and Massachusetts organizations win EPA clean air awards


Boston, Mass. -- Two programs in New England – one in Maine and one in Massachusetts – were among 12 programs nationwide honored today by EPA for innovative efforts in achieving cleaner air to protect the health of Americans.

An environmental education program of the Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission and the Cape Cod Commission’s program in Massachusetts to reduce the environmental impact of developments were chosen from 75 applicants to be recognized at the 11th annual Clean Air Excellence Awards in Washington DC. Winners were chosen for demonstrating a commitment to creating new green infrastructure and jobs for planning and education efforts that help citizens make better informed environmental decisions.

“EPA has a long track record of helping spur American ingenuity and innovation, which has resulted in a cleaner, healthier communities and a prosperous, efficient economy,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.  “This year's Clean Air Excellence Award winners are continuing the tradition of New England know-how making significant contributions to protecting our environment.'

The Cape Cod Commission of Barnstable was recognized for its program called Energy Performance Standards for Developments of Regional Impact. In 2009, the Cape Cod Regional Policy Plan, a five-year planning and land-use regulatory framework, was amended to include an energy goal and minimum performance standards that target emissions and energy use for projects reviewed by the Cape Cod Commission. According to the plan, commercial development greater than 10,000 square feet must get Energy Star certification, follow efficient building-envelope design standards and provide 10 percent of the project’s energy demand on-site.

The first project permitted and built under the new standards is a 60,000-square-foot warehouse/office redevelopment completed by the F.W. Webb Company, a local plumbing and heating supply distributor. The building features a hybrid solar thermal and geothermal heating system. Energy monitoring has shown the building is realizing an annual energy cost savings of about $20,000.

The Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission MOVE! Program was created to educate students on air quality from a transportation perspective. It is a K-12 multi-disciplinary program that promotes understanding of the environmental, economic, societal, historical and technological elements of transportation and its impacts. The program supports existing classroom units of study, aligns with the Maine Learning Results and encourages students to use mathematics, reading, writing, science, social studies, technology, visual arts and career preparation. Over the last 11 years MOVE! has provided presentations to more than 20,000 students and reached hundreds of educators in southern Maine.

The MOVE! Program incorporates three concepts -- connections, choices, and consequences -- into all classroom presentations, teacher workshops, and educational resources. One such presentation, Trip Chainers, allows middle school students to collect their own transportation data that they use to calculate impacts such as CO2 output/savings and fuel used/savings. Students learn that by changing habits and thinking ahead they can generate real savings in pollution output and resources used.

The awards program was established in 2000 at the recommendation of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee to recognize entries that reduce air pollution, demonstrate innovative models for others to follow, and offer sustainable outcomes. This year’s award recipients represent achievements in four categories: clean air technology, community action, education/outreach, and regulatory policy.

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