Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SNRAS collaborator earns Green Star award

Kim Kovol, executive director of Green Star, presents Jay Ramras with the Green Star Award.
A Fairbanks business that collaborates with SNRAS researchers was recently honored for his "green" efforts. Jay Ramras, owner of Pike's Waterfront Lodge and Pike's Landing Restaurant, (among other enterprises) was the recipient of the Green Star award. Ramras is also a state legislator. A recent Green Star celebration at Pike's included SNRAS Dean and AFES Director Carol Lewis, SNRAS Professor Meriam Karlsson, and Research Professional Jeff Werner. Pike's Waterfront Lodge greenhouse has provided space for SNRAS hydroponics research for several years; it also employs FFA students and a natural resources student each summer. The students work in the greenhouse, help with landscaping, and run a farmstand, selling locally grown produce.

Green Star is a non-profit organization based in Anchorage that encourages businesses to practice waste reduction, energy conservation, and pollution prevention through education, technical assistance, and an award-winning voluntary "green business" certification program. Green Star certifies businesses for their green business practices with its Green Star award. The process involves implementing initiatives associated with ten green standards. In place in Alaska since 1990, the program has won national recognition as a forward-thinking business program. Green Star’s standards focus on a wide range of topic areas, including energy efficiency, waste prevention, recycling, toxics reduction, water conservation, education and outreach, air quality emissions reduction, and others. Each organization must implement a specified number of initiatives within each area, provide measurement of several initiatives, and identify future goals to continue improving. Green Star’s Standards Committee reviews applications quarterly and typically certifies an average of ten businesses each year.

Green Star Executive Director Kim Kovol said Pike’s submitted an extremely comprehensive application, describing innovative initiatives in every category. "The greenhouse is one of Pike's many green features," Kovol said. "To decrease dependency of fossil fuels, Pike’s installed solar power panels on the roof of its Copper Lodge, which should produce more than 21,000 kilowatts of power. Additionally, Pike’s has switched out lights bulbs to more energy efficient bulbs, adjusted clothes dryers to decrease drying time and increase efficiency, and purchases and routinely uses environmentally friendly cleaning products. Pike’s purchased and installed low-flow shower heads for all the guest rooms. Pike’s staff has taken steps to reduce the flow of paper in the business offices."

And last, but not least, "Pike’s sponsors a summer hydroponics program with Future Farmers of America, which produces tomatoes and other produce for use in the restaurant," Kovol explained.

Above photo courtesy of Neumuth Advertising, Fairbanks, Alaska.

Related post:
"Growing opportunity: UAF hydroponics and the FFA at Pike's Waterfront Lodge," www.snras.blogspot.com, June 10, 2009, by Nancy Tarnai

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