Green Business Awards Honorees 2019
Every year, Utah Business awards those businesses who have worked to improve the state of Utah’s environment. From reducing water waste to improving the air, we still have a long way to go to be a truly sustainable state, but every step towards sustainability is a step in the right direction. These are the companies who are leading the way toward a better, brighter, greener future.
Rocky Mountain Power Blue Sky Legacy Winners
Salt Lake City Corporation
The 2019 Community Blue Sky Legacy honor was awarded to Utah’s capital city. As a Blue Sky Visionary Partner for 15 years, Salt Lake City has long recognized the importance of supporting renewable energy development, and they have set an aggressive goal of powering all city operations through renewable sources by 2030. Salt Lake City’s sustainability commitments extend even deeper into the community through energy efficiency projects, recycling programs, community gardens, and more.
Since 2006, more than one megawatt of solar has been installed in the city through Blue Sky grants, generating more than 1.7 million kilowatt-hours per year―enough solar to power more than 140 homes. In addition to Salt Lake City’s Blue Sky participation, more than 10,000 of its citizens also participate in the program.
The Synergy Company
Since the original Blue Sky Challenge in 2004, The Synergy Company has been a Blue Sky partner and renewable energy advocate. Based in Moab, Utah, the company purchases more Blue Sky blocks than any other private company in the city. The company’s founder Mitchell May stated: “Synergy was founded 30 years ago on the principles of sustainability.” His goal has always been to ensure the “organization’s footprint always has a positive impact on the community, not a negative.”
The company produces and distributes certified organic nutritional superfoods, extracts, vitamins, and dietary supplements with the mission statement “Inspired by Nature.” The Synergy Company’s impact on community at the citizen-level, with a continuous focus on adding value, is a brilliant model for other organizations to follow and aligns perfectly with the Blue Sky Program’s mission. Blue Sky extends its gratitude to The Synergy Company for pioneering a path for others to follow.
Stein Eriksen Lodge
“Stein Collection joined Blue Sky because we wanted to be a part of the solution in going green with our energy consumption,” says Michelle O’Brien, vice president of human resources. From high above Park City’s Main Street, this beautiful, elite property follows a Green Initiatives Program that has made sustainability a priority for its guests and workforce for many years.
In an industry where waste can be easily overlooked, Stein Eriksen sets the bar for businesses of any size to reduce their environmental impact. In addition to waste reduction, recycling, and the use of green cleaning products, the hotel’s investment in Blue Sky renewable energy has had the same environmental impact as eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from driving 3.1 million miles in a gas-powered passenger vehicle. Blue Sky wishes to thank Stein Eriksen for being an early adopter, a loyal partner, and for setting an example in their industry.
244 West Enterprises, LLC
244 West is the smallest business that has ever received a Blue Sky Legacy award. However, their impact is nothing less than remarkable, and they have maintained their Visionary Partnership status in the Blue Sky Program since August 2004. Tom and Becky Colvin, Steve Connor, and Lori Shields are co-owners of a charming commercial building on 300 North in Salt Lake City, built in 1911 and converted to 14 commercial spaces and art studios since 1999.
There is only one electric meter at the property, which means that, through their Blue Sky participation, the commercial property owners are also reducing the carbon footprint of their tenants. “We walk the walk… in every aspect of our business,” says Tom Colvin. Mr. Colvin and Mr. Connor operated Colvin Engineering as one of the original occupants after they purchased the building, and have been promoting energy conservation since 1972. And, what energy they don’t use, they do their part to make the energy green. When you have a single business that works towards decreasing the environmental footprint of several other businesses, you easily earn the title of Legacy. On behalf of more than 47,000 Blue Sky customers in Utah, Blue Sky is proud to call 244 West Enterprises a Legacy Visionary Partner.
Cofounder & Lead Technical Engineer| Revealiency
Steve Forbush has nearly 40 years of experience working as a diesel mechanic, so he knows what those machines do to the air quality―especially in underground and surface mines. To combat the problem, he’s worked on perfecting the technology to improve the performance and efficiency of diesel engines. “We typically work with very large diesel engines [such as] mining equipment, locomotives, and other large diesel engines that operate around the clock at a very high duty cycle,” he says. And making even small efficiency improvements to those machines can have a large impact.
Ride Systems, LLC
Justin E. Rees | CEO
After Justin E. Rees saw that Salt Lake City and Logan, Utah ranked among the most polluted cities in the country―according to the American Lung Association’s 2017 State of the Air report―he knew he had to do something. So he created an app to help people go green simply by using public transit. Through the app’s real-time tracking of public, school, and college buses, Ride Systems is helping people catch the bus to take other vehicles off the road. “We have an unlimited number of possibilities in regard to green energy,” says Mr. Rees. “Who knows, maybe soon Ride Systems will be tracking solar-powered, flying cars!”
Rio Tinto Kennecott
Rio Tinto Kennecott is continually working to prevent, minimize, and mitigate the impacts of their operation. Permanently closing their last coal-fired power plant earlier this year and working toward powering their copper operations completely through renewable energy, they will have removed more than one million tons of CO2 from their operations, reducing their carbon footprint by as much as 65 percent. Paired with their efforts to reclaim the land no longer needed for active mining operations, Rio Tinto Kennecott has made going green a priority.
Superintendent of Schools | North Sanpete School District
When the North Sanpete School District needed a complete overhaul of their heating system, Superintendent Dr. Sam Ray needed to get creative. Working together with the Utah Office of Energy Development (OED), SIEMENS, and Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky Program, they created a solution that enabled the school district to replace the equipment in a self-funded project. By implementing roof-mounted solar systems and upgrading their energy efficiency, not only has Dr. Ray facilitated a green school system, he’s created a pathway for students to become certified solar installers.
Smith’s Food & Drug
An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the US is thrown away, yet one in eight Americans experience hunger. Smith’s Food & Drug is setting out to change that. Launching their Zero Hunger Zero Waste plan, Smith’s has a vision to end hunger in the communities they serve and eliminate waste across the company by 2025. Increasing their food waste diversion by 37 percent, they’ve diverted 42,000 tons from landfills across their seven-state footprint and have increased total recycling efforts by 20 percent in plastic. And by opening three in-school pantries, increasing meal donations by 18 percent, and donating more than $8 million in food and funds, they’re working to end hunger here in Utah.
J. Willard Marriott Library
The J. Willard Marriott Library has a long history of looking for ways to conserve energy. “Our students inspire us to continue looking for ways to be green,” says the director of library facilities and operations, Ian Godfrey. “Many of our projects have been collaborations with students, and we were able to expand the scope of their idea and improve sustainability.” Recently, with the help of funds donated anonymously, they have installed daylight harvesting sensors throughout levels three and four of the library and have swapped out exhibition lights with LED lamps to improve archival conditions.
Blue Raven Solar
Since Blue Raven Solar was founded, they have offset more than 130 million gallons of gasoline consumed through the installation of residential solar panels. That’s the equivalent of taking over 250,000 cars off the road for a year. “It’s worth the effort,” says CEO, Ben Peterson. “We’d like to have a total environmental impact of taking over 1 million cars off the road for a year. We only have one planet―we must take care of it.”
Big-D Construction is dedicated to green and sustainable building practices, having completed 77 LEED-certified projects in their 51-year tenure―many of which are here in Utah. But they’re focused on more than just building green—they’re focused on creating a business that thinks green from the beginning of the project all the way to the end. Creating waste management programs, they’re working to recycle scrap from job sites to facilitate a culture of sustainability and accountability. And through their sustainability program, GUIDE, all projects are working toward the goal of zero impact.
Young Living Essential Oils
Committed to making real impacts in their company and their communities, Young Living Essential Oils is looking to set an example. Close to achieving zero waste in their manufacturing facility, creating a robust recycling program in their global headquarters, and implementing an efficient water recycling system in their distillery, they are focused on the four R’s of zero waste: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot. They are also seeking both LEED and Green Globe certification in their global headquarters, demonstrating their commitment and leading other businesses in the valley toward green practices.
Green Business Leadership
Intermountain Healthcare is on a journey toward being green. Converting to LED lighting, making water recycling improvements, LEED certifying new construction, recommissioning existing buildings, designing waste stream management, and reducing their plastic use are only a few of the initiatives they’ve spearheaded in the name of making their communities safe and healthy. Because going green not only helps the environment, it helps patients and lowers the cost of healthcare.
One of Zions Bank’s guiding principles is bringing value to the communities they serve. Offering incentives to employees for using mass transit, financing green projects, supporting air quality efforts, and conserving energy through solar and electrical upgrading and benchmarking, they’re taking every step they can to put action behind their word. “By demonstrating what we do to conserve and how we encourage our employees to do so, we hope to be leaders so that other companies will see our example and take similar actions to help the environment,” says Zions Bank president and CEO, Scott Anderson.
Butchers Bunches Handcrafted Preserves
From glass jars to cardboard boxes, and even leftover fruit, everything in the kitchen at Butchers Bunches Handcrafted Preserves is reused, recycled, and repurposed. “Our jam, Berrylicious was originally named Leftovers, because that’s what it is—all the leftover berries we don’t use every week,” says founder, Liz Kennard Butcher. Big on recycling and producing as little waste as possible, they even use beer bottles as packaging. “Be creative with how you recycle,” says Ms. Butcher. “Today, there are so many ways to run a green business—the opportunities are incredible.”
Involved in the Utah construction industry for nearly 25 years, Morgan Asphalt is committed to being green as much as possible. Beginning the first operation of their hot mix asphalt (HMA) plant this year, they have invested in equipment to make it the cleanest, most environmentally-safe HMA plant in the state. The first and only HMA plant in Utah to implement ultra-low NOx burner technology, an emissions capture system for blue smoke and microdenier bags to capture dust, the plant will result in a NOx emission rate 86 percent lower than the industry average. In addition, they will also be able to recycle previously used asphalt, making it one of only two HMA plants in the state with these capabilities.
Since their launch in 2016, B-hyve Smart Wifi Timers has helped customers save over 30 billion gallons of water. “In a state that has suffered from droughts and fires in recent years, water conservation should be a top priority,” says Brad Wardle, director of B-hyve and digital. And Orbit works through education and innovative technology to empower their customers to make concerted efforts to protect our most valuable natural resource. In Utah alone, they have contributed to 2.4 billion gallons of water saved, and 391 million gallons in just May of 2019. “We were inspired to help reduce water waste without making people sacrifice their landscape,” says Mr. Wardle.
LUX Catering & Events
Over the last five years, LUX Catering & Events has created an award-winning sustainability program that has not only changed the way they operate, but has set an example to others in their community. On average, they produce over 150 pounds of food waste per day, summing up to 27 tons every year. But rather than contributing to landfills, they recycle their scraps and leftovers for use as fertilizer in local parks and farms. Lux Catering & Events has also worked to design their facilities so that they are energy-efficient, replacing light bulbs, windows, and equipment with energy-saving alternatives. And through their membership with the Rocky Mountain Blue Sky program, all the energy used by the company is wind energy.
Giv Development LLC
Giv Development works to build properties completely operated using renewable resources. Building Project Open, which includes 112 mixed-income apartments, a no-waste grocery store, creative studios, and EV charging stations, the property is just as efficient as any of their previous properties, but costs less than it would have to build with natural gas, and is powered entirely by the sun. “We wanted to do something that could have a substantial impact, not just on our buildings, but on the way, buildings are constructed in general,” says founder, Chris Parker. And since the completion of the project, Giv Development is committed to building only emission-free buildings going forward.
Nu Skin Enterprises
“We’ve always believed that building a successful business required that we take accountability for our actions,” says Nu Skin CEO, Ritch Wood. “As a company, our mission regarding sustainability is to embrace sustainable practices today that enhance a resource-rich tomorrow.” Implementing a think green strategy across the company culture, they’re invested in sustainable solutions to poverty and environmental conservation. From partnering to help impoverished villages across the world to changing the way employees think about waste, Nu Skin Enterprises is contributing to green responsibility internally as well as externally.
Waste & Recycling
Eco Green Equipment
Manufacturing equipment used to recycle tires, Eco Green Equipment is helping reduce tire piles in over 23 countries today. And by reducing those piles, they’re helping reduce the risk of tire fires, which are extremely polluting and have the potential to burn for years at a time. “We saw that the tire recycling market as a whole was very young and that there were several opportunities to innovate and improve the market,” says company president, Brad Swenson. “Where there is opportunity to innovate there is opportunity to make an impactful change.”
Merit Medical is a company built on innovation. And understanding that healthy people depend on a healthy planet, they’re doing everything they can to positively impact the communities where they do business. At their global headquarters in South Jordan, they have designed a secondary water system to reduce potable water consumption, which serves as a source for everything but human use. Including the irrigation system used on the six acres of land converted for an employee garden and xeriscaped landscaping.
Savers Family of Thrift Stores
Through the Savers efforts to reuse and recycle textiles and household items, 700 million pounds of reusable items are kept out of landfills every year. In 2018, the Savers Family of Thrift Stores diverted more than 15 million pounds of reusable goods from the Utah waste stream alone. “With the help of our shoppers, and our reuse and recycling customers, 95 percent of the clothing and textile items we handle can be reused or repurposed in some way,” says district manager, Shannon Black. Which leaves only five percent left as true waste.