January 17, 2012

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Green Business

Green Business By Heather Stewart Celebrating Utah's Greenest Companies, ...Read More

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Green Business

Celebrating Utah's Greenest Companies

Utah Business Editors

January 17, 2012

Green Business By Heather Stewart Celebrating Utah's Greenest Companies, Communities and Leaders Green Pioneers Sarah Wright Utah Clean Energy Sarah Wright is a living example of how one person can make an enormous difference in the world. As a long-time environmental and occupational safety and health consultant to Utah businesses, Wright had a strong passion for sustainable solutions and practices. She left her consulting career in 2001 to found Utah Clean Energy, an organization that promotes the adoption of green energy solutions in Utah. Wright’s approach is to foster collaborations between business leaders, policymakers and state residents. Her efforts encompass policy, regulatory and educational initiatives. For example, one recent success was a utility decoupling pilot program, which became permanent this year. This made possible the ThermWise program, which provides incentives for state residents and businesses to reduce their energy consumption. Wright advocated for this program during regulatory proceedings and provided critical information about the cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits of energy-efficiency programs. Wright has also promoted efforts to diversify Utah’s energy portfolio with additional wind, solar and geothermal energy sources—which are both home-grown and renewable. She has worked closely with state policymakers in support of smart energy policies that expand renewable technologies in Utah. Through passage of provisions for renewable energy financing, local governments, churches and some nonprofits can access tax incentives and innovative financing for renewable energy. As a result, the number of installed solar panels in Utah is expected to more than double this year. Another success for Utah Clean Energy was the passage of Utah’s net metering law, which allows residents who own renewable energy systems to earn credit for any excess energy they produce and return to the grid. Other efforts of the organization include pushing for training opportunities in the state colleges and universities for green careers, and helping Salt Lake City become one of the first Solar America Cities through an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy. Through Utah Clean Energy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, Wright has made tremendous progress in getting Utah residents and businesses to support and adopt renewable energy—bringing the state that much closer to realizing a sustainable energy economy. Michael Jeppesen Michael Jeppesen has been on the forefront of the green building movement in Utah since at least 1996, when he was the development consultant on five building projects that incorporated several green and energy-efficient strategies. More recently, he was the first commercial real estate agent and developer in Utah to obtain the LEED Accredited Professional (AP) designation. Jeppesen is the president of Innovision Property Group, which specializes in commercial property sales and leasing, as well as Green Earth Development, a commercial real estate development company. Through these two companies, he works to educate stakeholders in the real estate industry about how to make buildings more efficient and economical to maintain. For the past several years, Jeppesen and the Innovision staff have presented to trade groups, corporations and colleagues about strategies for green building and environmental sustainability. He has been a panelist and speaker at multiple Salt Lake Sustainable Building conferences, and he is a state of Utah licensed continuing education provider for energy efficiency and green building principles. “I figured that until people could experience for themselves the cost savings and the feel-good nature of doing it, being sustainable would not catch on,” says Jeppesen. “I figured that if I could tie sustainability to good business practice, it would spread faster, and I could support my family and coworkers in a way that aligned with how I want to live.” Jeppesen is also involved in several environmental organizations. He is a sponsor of the Sugarhouse Farmers Market and contributes to a list of other environmental groups. His company is a member of Salt Lake City’s e2 Business program, and it is also an EPA Energy Star partner. Furthermore, Jeppesen serves as the program chair for the U. S. Green Building Council Utah Chapter. “Being green can feel like such an overwhelming hurdle to jump over for most people, that breaking it down to simple measures that one person can do on their own with no out-of-pocket costs helps people get started on the path,” he says. Mayor Ralph Becker Sometimes it takes a leader with vision to inspire impactful, systemic change. Mayor Ralph Becker is hoping to create that kind of change in Salt Lake City, and he is certainly thinking big. Under his leadership, Salt Lake City announced a goal and a plan to make the city the most sustainable city in the nation. Becker put together a sustainability team to help make this goal a reality. Organized through the Division of Sustainability and Environment, Salt Lake City Green promotes award-winning environmental programs that help conserve resources and reduce pollution. For instance, the city has enhanced its recycling program with additional glass drop-off sites, new yard waste containers and collection vehicles that run on compressed natural gas. Other programs of Salt Lake City Green focus on air quality, water conservation, transportation, community health, open space and housing. To reduce its energy use, the city has committed to use renewable energy for 10 percent of new building energy use and to reduce the carbon footprint of new construction by 50 percent. Not only has the city adopted high-performance building codes for its own new buildings, it is promoting development of such high-performance buildings in the community with code revisions, permitting incentives and loans to businesses. Becker has also involved the business community through a green business registration program, e2 Business, which was created by leveraging federal stimulus grants. The e2 Business program recognizes and supports the environmental and economic sustainability efforts of the business community through a stringent certification program. Becker has called for a review of city ordinances to weed out outdated ordinances that are barriers to progress. Some such ordinances include limiting solar roof panels, community gardening and low-water-use landscaping. The review will also result in recommendations for new ordinances that encourage green practices. With a background in urban planning and environmental engineering, Becker is working to rally the community in the effort to decrease waste and emissions and improve the overall livability of the city. Community Initiatives Ogden Nature Center Created in 1975, the Ogden Nature Center educates Utah residents about environmental sustainability through classes and workshops—and by modeling innovative methods for constructing eco-friendly buildings and making use of renewable energy. For example, the Visitor Center was built in 1994 using recycled timbers from local, abandoned rail beds. The center also has a “living roof” with vegetation that keeps the building cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Also to help regulate temperature, some of the windows are gas-filled and others are specially treated to reflect light. The L.S. Peery Education Center, which was constructed in 2004, utilizes unique building materials like straw bales in the exterior walls, insulation made from recycled denim and newspaper, cabinet panels created from sunflower seed shells and wheat, and bathroom stalls made from recycled milk cartons. The education center also relies on on-demand water heaters that save the energy that would normally be used to store and keep water hot, as well as natural lighting in all areas. Both buildings at the center are LEED certified. Along with demonstrating cutting-edge methods and technologies, such as a solar panel tracking system, the Ogden Nature Center provides educational and enrichment opportunities to more than 27,000 children, teachers and adults each year. In a course called “Utah’s Ecosystems,” students learn about wetlands, forests and deserts; investigate plant and animal life; and examine what leads to healthy—or unhealthy—ecosystems. The facilities are situated on a 152-acre nature preserve that provides unique opportunities for visitors to experience Utah’s natural environment. The preserve includes picnic areas, tree houses, a spotting tower and more than a mile of walking trails. The distinctive setting draws scouting troops and students on field trips, and is host to summer camps and preschool programs. The Ogden Nature Preserve, which was Utah’s first nature center, continues to live out its mission to unite people with nature and nurture appreciation and stewardship of the environment. Clear the Air Challenge When stuck in traffic on the commute home from work, it’s hard not to contemplate the foul haze obscuring the horizon. Perhaps that is why so many companies and their employees enthusiastically got behind the 2010 Clear the Air Challenge. The challenge was simple: reduce the number of vehicle trips taken during the month of July. The Salt Lake Valley is plagued by “red” air-quality days, when the air is so polluted that it becomes a serious health threat. More than 50 percent of air pollutants come from motorized vehicles, making that commute home from work a toxic contributor to the haze. So this year, the Air Quality Partners Team—made up of representatives from government, nonprofit, business and community organizations—teamed up with the Salt Lake Chamber to energize the business community in support of the 2010 Clear the Air Challenge. The Salt Lake Chamber encouraged businesses to make it easier for employees to take public transportation, bike, carpool, telecommute or create flexible work schedules. The results of the efforts of local businesses are clear: more than 50 percent of the Clear the Air Challenge participants reported learning about the challenge from their employer. More than 100 companies created teams to compete in the challenge, and four of the top five grand prizes were given to teams of employees from local businesses. Winners included ARUP Laboratories for most pounds of emissions saved, Architectural Nexus for most trips saved, Utah Transit Authority for most participants and KUED Channel 7 as the 2010 corporate role model. Additionally, three companies were recognized for outstanding achievement: ADP, Inc. as the top large business, New Dawn Technologies as the top medium business and Lloyd Architects as the top small business. The overall results of the 2010 Clear the Air Challenge are impressive: 2.2 million pounds of emissions saved, nearly 59,500 gallons of gas saved, 1.3 million miles saved and 105,000 trips saved. Utah Building Energy Efficiency Strategies Buildings use almost 50 percent of the energy consumed in the United States. Reducing the amount of energy utilized in buildings is a tremendously effective way to lower overall energy consumption, bring down costs for businesses and homeowners, and reduce environmental pollution. Utah Building Energy Efficiency Strategies (UBEES) is a state program that brings together government, nonprofit and business leaders to promote strategies for creating energy-efficient buildings and retrofitting old buildings. The program’s partners include the Office of the Governor’s Energy Advisor, the Utah Division of Facilities Construction and Management, the Utah State Energy Program, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and Utah Clean Energy. UBEES focuses on four key components to reducing energy consumption on an enormous, statewide scale. The first is measuring energy use. Tracking and measuring—or benchmarking—a building’s energy use is the only way to determine if strategies to reduce consumption are effective. State buildings are in the process of benchmarking their energy use, and UBEES is using the lessons learned in state buildings to develop a best practices benchmarking model for residential and commercial use. The second component is identifying and addressing the barriers to complying with building energy codes. The third is workforce development, and UBEES is working with educators and the construction industry to identify training opportunities for in-demand energy-efficiency trades. The fourth component that UBEES focuses on is outreach and collaboration with Utah businesses and other organizations that would like to reduce their energy usage. UBEES brings together partnerships for creating energy-efficiency programs, innovative financing options and education. Through this multi-pronged approach, UBEES hopes to incorporate the best energy-efficiency strategies into homes, businesses and government buildings throughout the state. Workplace Initiatives FFKR Architects “We practice what we preach,” claims FFKR Architects, a firm that promotes an internal culture of environmental wellness. The company continually evaluates its internal infrastructure and processes to maximize green efforts. And no detail is too small. For example, FFKR helped employees get their names removed from mailing lists to reduce the amount of junk mail delivered to the office. Computers are set to double-sided printing by default, and no plastic water bottles are provided during meetings. The firm, which has an internal Green Team to promote a culture of sustainability, has the big items covered as well: FFKR had solar panels installed on its roof last year, each workstation is bathed in natural light and the landscaping features drought-tolerant plants and a drip irrigation system. The internal environmental quality of the office is maintained through effective air filters that are replaced bi-monthly, the use of green cleaning products and non-toxic pest control, and a policy that mandates low or zero VOC content in paint and adhesives. The company also promotes carpooling and biking to work, going so far as to provide a shower and lockers for those who bike. In fact, the company reduced the amount of lunchtime driving by creating a system that allows employees to place a lunch order for a designated restaurant each day. A runner picks up the lunches, saving about 20 daily lunchtime car trips. And the break rooms are stocked with glassware, flatware and china in order to eliminate the use of disposable items. The company focuses on recycling and has set a goal to recycle at least 90 percent of newspaper, glass, aluminum and paper by the end of this year. Last year, the firm teamed up with a local community supported agriculture (CSA) program, and now employees can purchase boxes of fresh, organic, local produce that are delivered to the office during the growing season. FFKR Architects lives out its focus on sustainability. It earned the state’s first LEED Platinum Certification in 2009 for the Daybreak Corporate Center, and this year it received the first LEED ED (Existing Building) Certification for its home office in Salt Lake City. Park City Mountain Resort Utah’s ski industry is justifiably nervous about climate change. A global temperature increase of just a couple of degrees could do away with the Greatest Snow on Earth—and the ski industry along with it. The Park City Mountain Resort launched several environmental initiatives in 2005 to reduce its carbon footprint, making it an environmental leader in the community. The resort repeatedly conducts in-depth energy audits on its entire operation to find new energy savings. Its energy reduction initiatives have reduced the resort’s carbon footprint by more than 8,800 tons of CO2, and its purchase of wind energy during the past five years has reduced its carbon footprint by 22,000 tons. These reductions are equivalent to taking 5,117 cars off the road for an entire year. Park City Mountain Resort’s Team Building has received the Energy Star designation from the EPA. The building reduced its greenhouse gas emissions to 45 percent below the national average for an office building. The resort also achieved significant reductions through equipment changes. It reduced its snowmobile fleet by 30 percent, and a third of its remaining fleet has four-stroke engines, which reduce air pollutants and use less gas. In 2005, the resort began purchasing more energy-efficient snowmaking equipment, and it retrofit all of the nozzles and chambers on its ground snowmaking guns. In other changes, the resort began using bio-diesel fuel exclusively and is in the process of upgrading HVAC systems and lighting in all facilities. Resort buildings use battery-operated faucets and low-flush valves; additionally, all urinals are waterless, for an estimated annual water savings of 40,000 gallons per urinal. And for the upcoming ski season, the resort is replacing the 1,500 watt quartz lights on the PayDay run with 150 watt metal halide bulbs. With a focus on climate and environmental protection, the Park City Mountain Resort is hoping its green initiatives will help keep the winter slopes white. Smith’s Food and Drug Stores Grocery stores are not typically the best exemplars of energy efficiency: from the bright overhead lights to the open cases of refrigerated foods, grocery stores tend to be energy hogs. But Smith’s Food and Drug Stores has made a commitment to reduce its energy use—and has found that $1 spent on preventative maintenance can save up to $9 in future energy consumption. The store has made cutting-edge improvements in its heating, cooling, water and lighting systems in a determined effort to cut energy use. Smith’s estimates that it has reduced each store’s overall energy use by 18 percent. In other words, each store now saves enough electricity to power more than 1,800 homes in Utah for a year. Some of the improvements include light sensors that determine the need for overhead lighting. When there is enough natural light from the skylights, the overhead lights automatically turn off. By the end of the year, all of Smith’s freezers will be replaced with freezers engineered with LED lighting, which will drastically reduce energy usage, particularly since LED bulbs do not give off heat. The store has also installed the most energy-efficient T-8 overhead fluorescent tube lighting, and it now uses LED bulbs in the exit signs. Another innovation involves the freezers, which give off exhaust fumes. These fumes are directed into a heat recovery system, which uses the wasted energy to heat water. This water can then be used for heat or for cleaning. And those open cold food cases? Smith’s policy is to only stock them below the manufacturer’s “full line.” This prevents stacked merchandize from breaking the air curtain and allowing cold air to leave the display case. Recycling is a key component of Smith’s efforts, including measures like donating fresh yet unsalable food to the Utah Food Bank and its food pantry network. Smith’s 47 Utah stores donated 2.3 million pounds of such food in 2009. The store also recycles the shrink-wrap from pallets of merchandize; last year, Smith’s recycled an amount of plastic film that was equivalent to 45 million plastic grocery bags. From the easy-to-clean concrete flooring to the overhead skylights, Smith’s is striving to turn the grocery business into a green business. MHTN Architects MHTN Architects has the distinction of earning the state’s first LEED Gold Certification for Commercial Interiors (LEED CI) for its remodeling of its own corporate offices. The firm designed the new offices to be an educational space and learning tool for its clients and for design students—and to embody its effort to operate in a progressively sustainable manner. Throughout the renovation process, the company attempted to minimize the impact of construction as much as possible. For instance, it reused 40 percent of the existing walls, ceilings and flooring in order to reduce the amount of material going to the landfill. And 85 percent of the construction waste was recycled. After construction was complete, the company performed an air-quality test to check for pollutants left over from the process. The new office space now features high-efficiency lighting with sensor dimming and occupancy sensor systems, and every workstation has a view to the outside. High-efficiency plumbing was installed to achieve a 55 percent reduction in water use. Recycled materials and rapidly renewable plyboo paneling were incorporated as much as possible into the walls and ceiling. Overall, the new space has achieved a 40 percent reduction in electrical energy use—and the firm has committed to using at least 50 percent wind power going forward. The remodel design also took the work needs of employees into consideration, and the office now includes a large multi-purpose room, private phone rooms, a quiet room and collaboration areas. MHTN installed bicycle storage and showers to encourage employees to use alternative transportation. The company also purchased a Prius hybrid for its runners to use. The remodeling results are intended to demonstrate to clients what is practical and possible when pursuing sustainability. MHTN also developed proprietary cost-modeling tools to help clients work through the costs of various sustainable concepts. Even if LEED certification is not the goal for a client, MNTN can help them incorporate sustainable design principles that will pay off—both for the environment and for the bottom line—for years to come. Company Achievement – Builder Garbett Homes What does it take to own a “green” home that features Energy Star-rated appliances and solar panels? Usually it takes a large financial investment—but not for the Solaris homes built by Garbett Homes at Daybreak. Priced at just under $207,000 after solar rebates, these single-family homes are intended to make sustainability affordable for the average Utah resident. The Solaris homes come standard with solar panels installed on the rooftop. The homes also include Energy Star appliances, high-performance blown-in insulation and dual pane windows, among other sustainable features. The homes are themselves Energy Star-rated and use at least 15 percent less energy than standard homes. Garbett Homes was able to lower the cost of the solar panels by purchasing them in bulk. This strategy has not only made the panels more affordable for the average consumer, but it is contributing to the economies of scale that will ultimately bring down costs for all consumers—helping to eventually make solar panels the standard, rather than the exception. During construction of the Solaris homes, Garbett Homes relied on strict construction standards to reduce waste as much as possible. For example, the company had its construction materials pre-cut offsite in order to reduce the waste involved in home building. Garbett Homes also utilized engineered wood I-joists and beams, which use up to 50 percent less wood fiber, and it replaced plywood made from old-growth wood with board made from wood chips. Other wood products were Forest Stewardship Council compliant. Homebuyers reap the benefits of the energy-efficient homes through reduced utility bills, along with the satisfaction of a greatly lessened carbon footprint. And now such homes are within reach for many more consumers, as Garbett Homes is leading the charge to democratize energy efficiency in the marketplace. Big-D Construction Big-D Construction is one of Utah’s green trailblazers. The company was one of the first four contractors in the entire nation to be named a Certified Green Contractor by the National Associated Builders and Contractors—a certification that recognizes companies that implement green practices at all levels. To go along with its core mission statement, Big-D created a “sustainability” statement: “To learn, practice and teach green/sustainable design and construction as a core responsibility.” The contractor has received certification for 14 LEED-certified projects to date and has 19 additional LEED-registered projects underway. Its own headquarters earned a LEED Gold certification and is one of the few LEED-certified buildings in the state that is also on the historic registry. Other projects include the University of Utah Health Sciences Education Building, the Swaner EcoCenter and the Wetlands Discovery Point—both of which earned LEED Platinum certification—and the Newpark Towncenter, which earned certification through the LEED neighborhood development pilot program. Big-D boasts more than 30 LEED-accredited professionals on its staff, including the COO. Employee training and education is an integral part of its green efforts, and in order to become a Certified Green Company, it provided green building awareness education to at least 50 percent of its managers. Green principles are not just incorporated into Big-D’s buildings; the company has also implemented sustainable workplace practices like an aggressive recycling program and incentives for employees to carpool or use public transportation. It also conducted a professional audit of its energy consumption and has focused on water conservation. The company is a member of Clean Utah, a government program that encourages businesses to go the extra mile in their efforts to preserve the environment. Furthermore, Big-D has become e2 Business certified—a distinction for companies that adhere to environmental and economic sustainability principles. Continually striving to step up its efforts, Big-D Construction has set a goal to incorporate best sustainable practices and LEED certification standards into 100 percent of its projects by 2012. Through this goal, the contractor seeks to positively impact the environment now—and for future generations of Utah residents. Company Achievement – Transportation Power Innovations International, Inc. Traditional power generators are bulky and often need to be hauled to the site where they are needed. They are also notoriously loud and burn through a great deal of fuel—and give off a lot of pollution. But the AMPS (Auto-regulated Motion Power System) from Power Innovations International provides mobile electrical power generated from any combustion engine, or from wind or water. The AMPS technology can be installed into any vehicle—such as search and rescue, police, military and commercial vehicles, as well as boats and yachts—as a mobile power generator that can provide up to 10 kVA of clean energy. Additionally, the system generates constant AC power that is independent of the RPM of the combustion engine, water or wind source of motion. The many benefits of the AMPS technology include a reduction in noise, exhaust emissions, heat and fuel consumption over traditional power generators. Some other applications of the technology are for wind and water, which provide totally green, renewable sources of power generation. For example, AMPS can be used to generate electricity from municipal water systems. Other potential applications for the technology include scene lighting, mobile air traffic control, construction sites and even taxi cabs. According to Lindon-based Power Innovations International, its AMPS technology is currently installed on 32 Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue lifeboats, on various emergency vehicles and for a range of hydro applications. Power Innovations International was founded in 1997 and focuses on green technologies for generating, storing and managing AC power. In addition to its AMPS technology, the company provides other power management solutions to companies such as Disney, L-3 Communications and Boeing, among many others. ARES Transportation Technologies In 2009, ARES Transportation Technologies brought to competition the world’s first alternatively fueled hybrid electric Le Mans racecar. The racecar relied on kinetic energy recovery to charge batteries that powered its electric motor—and it was the first hybrid car to finish on the podium of a world-class competition. After that successful debut, the company began focusing on ways to incorporate the hybrid technology into commercial diesel-powered engines in order to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. Now, ARES’ systems will enable diesel engines to meet governmental clean-energy regulations that begin to phase in during 2011. In fact, just this year ARES was awarded a grant from the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR) for its work in helping semitrailers improve fuel efficiency. This technology is a kinetic energy recovery assistive drive system (ADS) for over-the-road trailers. This system’s twin electric motors provide assistive drive to the trailer’s wheels, and when the semi slows or brakes, the electric motors capture and store the kinetic energy of the motion to be used as power once the semi goes back under throttle. The system also gives the driver greater control while braking. A second ARES technology uses a kinetic energy direct system (DDS), which introduces a direct drive electric motor into the rear axle of Class 8 semi-trucks, enabling them to operate with greater fuel efficiency and with reduced exhaust emissions. The third technology, CLEAN MPG, creates hydrogen and oxygen gases with on-board hydrogen fuel cells. The gases are injected into the air intake plenum of the diesel engine to accelerate the flame speed rate at the moment of combustion. This not only results in greater horsepower, but a reduction in emissions and unburned fuel exiting the exhaust system. Company Achievement – Innovation Goal Zero What do the adventurer who is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and the humanitarian working in earthquake-shattered Haiti have in common? They both lack access to reliable electricity. Goal Zero, based in Bluffdale, has developed innovative technologies to help adventurers, humanitarians and outdoor recreation enthusiasts access clean, renewable energy no matter where they may be. Goal Zero’s solutions include portable solar panels, battery packs to store the collected energy, and inverters and adapters that make it possible to charge devices like laptops, cell phones, GPS devices, cameras, MP3 players and emergency lights. The company’s Nomad 27M solar panel system incorporates mono-crystalline solar technology, which delivers more power per square inch than any other solar technology. It is weather resistant and folds into a light, portable packet. The Scout 150 Battery can store up to 150 watt hours of power, and it has built-in USB, 12V DC and AC outputs for charging devices. The battery can be charged from the solar panels, a wall outlet or a car adapter. Another Goal Zero product is the Light-a-Life Light, which uses a 3-watt LED light bulb. This portable light has been used by humanitarians from Haiti to Afghanistan in order to keep working once the sun has gone down. It is also a favorite product of family campers and other outdoor enthusiasts. The light can be charged from any Goal Zero battery pack and is rated for 20,000 hours of use. Goal Zero was founded by Robert Workman alongside a nonprofit organization, TIFIE Humanitarian. Some of the proceeds from every Goal Zero purchase go to TIFIIE Humanitarian, which helps people build successful business enterprises to support their families and communities. For Goal Zero, a desire to protect the planet and its natural resources goes hand in hand with a love for the people and many cultures throughout the world—and a desire to aid and support people who struggle with poverty, hunger and the chaos of disaster. Control4 We all know that we should flip off the lights when we are out of the room, and most of us probably do it. We also know that we can save energy by adjusting our home’s temperature when we are gone, and some of us probably do that. We could also unplug the television and other electronics when they are not in use, but most of us probably don’t go that far. Control4 offers home automation technology that makes all of those tasks effortless, helping homeowners take control of—and minimize—their energy use. The company’s products integrate the control of lighting, audio, video, landscape and climate into a single easy-to-use system. For example, Control4’s Energy Management System 100 (EMS 100) combines home automation technology with detailed electricity consumption data. EMS 100 includes a small, portable touch screen that serves as an energy management hub. It also features software that exchanges data between a utility and home area networks to optimize load management at the utility and energy management in the individual home. The system can let homeowners know just how much energy each appliance and electronic device in their home uses, making it easier to make wise energy choices. It also enables them to get tips from the utility for managing energy use. The company, which was founded in 2003, has branched out into solutions for commercial applications and for the hospitality industry. The Control4 Suite Systems, for example, lets hotels and their guests better manage energy use. The system can be programmed to shut down a room when it is unoccupied, turning off the lights, television and other appliances and regulating the heating or cooling system. Suite Systems also lets guests voluntarily control their energy use by setting light and room temperature levels. The system is in use at the Aria Resort & Casino and Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, and in other leading properties like the Montage Beverly Hills. Company Achievement – Product Megadyne Medical Products The medical world is notorious for relying on disposable products that are used once, then tossed out. There is, of course, good reason for that. But Draper-based Megadyne Medical Products has created a line of electrosurgical devices that can be safely reused, drastically reducing the amount of waste left over from surgeries. According to Megadyne, hospitals in the United States create 4 billion pounds of waste every year. When using the company’s products, five operating rooms generate 13 pounds of electrosurgical waste during one month—compared to the 110 pounds generated using traditional electrosurgical products. For example, its Mega Soft reusable patient return electrode can replace up to 1,500 disposable sticky pads. The company’s EZ Pen can be used 12 times, compared with single-use disposables. In fact, the EZ Pen incorporates patented technology that actually counts the number of times the pen has been used, and disables it once it has been used 12 times, thus ensuring patient safety. The company has also developed a “resposable” laparoscopic electrode that combines a reusable shaft with a disposable electrode. The shaft includes a patented alert that informs users if the insulation is breached and the device is no longer safe to use. This device is also available in a stainless steel reusable version. Due to its innovative technology, Megadyne won the award for the “Most Green Product” from the Association of Operating Room Nurses in both 2009 and 2010. In addition to being green, the products, which need to be purchased less frequently than their disposable counterparts, are also cost effective for hospitals and surgical centers. Sage’s Café, Vertical Diner and Cali’s Natural Foods Chef Ian Brandt has come full circle with his trio of businesses. He got his start in the food service industry through selling vegetarian foods at the Downtown Farmer’s Market in the late ‘90s. Since then, he launched Sage’s Café and Vertical Diner, both of which offer fresh, organic, vegetarian cuisine. More recently, he created Cali’s Natural Foods, which provides organic foods in bulk to businesses and the public—and this year regained a presence at the Downtown Farmer’s Market. The philosophy behind the restaurants is a desire to serve the freshest, healthiest foods possible and to protect the environment in the process. The three businesses source from local suppliers as much as possible, helping to support Utah’s agricultural community and reducing the amount of miles food must travel before it reaches the plate. Sourcing locally also leads to fresher produce, and at least 90 percent of the foods on offer are organic. Cali’s Natural Foods was originally intended to serve as storage and prep space for the two eateries. But as Brandt began bringing in large pallets of food and recycled paper products, he realized he could begin selling in bulk to businesses and caterers. Soon, he opened the store to the public in order to provide organic, vegetarian, whole foods to the wider community. Individuals can buy items in bulk at warehouse prices. Shoppers, who are encouraged to bring their own bags and containers, can get organic beans and lentils, seasonal produce of every variety, granola, cheeses, spices, and coffee and tea—and much more. While the restaurants are proud to offer vegetarian cuisine, Brandt estimates that at least 50 percent of the clientele are not vegetarian—they are just fans of the eateries’ delicious food. For more than a decade, Sage’s Café—and now Vertical Diner and Cali’s Natural Foods—has been at the heart of Salt Lake’s love affair with fresh, organic food. Overall First Wind With its Milford Wind Project, the largest renewable energy project in the state, First Wind has impacted the state’s environment, its economy and the small communities near the wind farm. The Milford Wind Project has been in commercial operation for nearly a year. It features 97 wind turbines and boasts the capacity to generate enough clean, renewable energy to power approximately 44,000 Utah homes each year. To create that much energy through traditional methods would produce 214,000 tons of carbon dioxide—or the equivalent of more than 37,000 automobiles, according to EPA estimates. Additionally, the clean energy produced by the Milford Wind Project is equivalent to the energy obtained by burning 940,000 barrels of oil, but without the associated pollution. And, in water-starved Utah, the wind project has the added benefit of not using any water during energy production, unlike other conventional forms of power generation. Due to its size and scope, the Milford Wind Project earned the “Reader’s Choice” award from the readers of RenewableEnergyWorld.com. During the development of the project, First Wind worked closely with residents of Milford and of Beaver and Millard counties to ensure the environmental and economic benefits of the project would not bypass the local communities. The company spent nearly $85 million with more than 60 Utah businesses during the construction and development of the wind farm. The company considers itself a member of the Milford community. It has provided two $3,000 scholarships to local students. First Wind also helped pay for enhancements to the Milford recreation complex, and supported the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers in that organization’s efforts to restore the historic Beaver County Courthouse. First Wind has demonstrated that renewable energy is practical and profitable, hopefully ushering in a new interest in the development of renewable energy sources in the state.
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