by Kevin Miller
Bangor Daily News news story
AUGUSTA – State officials recognized 20 Maine companies and institutions Monday for taking steps to shrink their “carbon footprints” and reduce energy consumption.
In 2001, the governors of the New England states joined their counterparts in eastern Canada in committing to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 10 percent from 1990 levels by decade’s end.
As part of that initiative, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection launched a voluntary program — known as the Governor’s Carbon Challenge — encouraging businesses to pledge to work toward the 10 percent goal.
On Monday, representatives of the DEP and Gov. John Baldacci’s administration gave out 20 awards to participating businesses or organizations that met or exceeded the 10 percent goal several years ahead of schedule.
The recipients ran the gamut from large, international corporations to colleges and government agencies.
“I think your participation here shows deep commitment to reducing CO2 emissions, to reducing the effects of global warming and to help Maine prosper,” Karin Tilberg, a senior policy adviser to Baldacci, told 140-plus people attending the Governor’s Carbon Challenge Networking and Expo Forum.
ZF Lemforder Corp., which operates a manufacturing plant in Brewer, has reduced its carbon emissions by 55 percent since 2000, eliminating 3,381 metric tons of greenhouse gases in the process. The company reduced its emissions primarily through efficiency upgrades in such areas as lighting, air compression and transportation.
Two local colleges also were recognized for their efforts to fight climate change.
College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor has reduced its carbon output by 18 percent since 2005, thereby eliminating the production of an estimated 108 tons of greenhouse gases.
Unity College, meanwhile, has achieved a 20 percent reduction in carbon emissions — the equivalent of 269 tons — since 2001. Unity has retrofitted older buildings with new insulation and heat plants, built new “green” buildings on campus and buys 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in Maine.
Unity spokesman Mark Tardif credited the college’s leadership and the campus community as a whole with putting a priority on fighting climate change.
“Unity is very focused on the future,” Tardif said. “We are placing great emphasis on sustainability and have been for some time.”
Bowdoin College was the third educational institution to receive a Carbon Challenge award Monday.
The largest emissions reductions were made by National Semiconductor of South Portland, which eliminated production of an estimated 43,700 tons of carbon through a variety of measures.
The other award recipients were:
Maine State Housing, Augusta
Maine Bureau of General Services, Augusta
Washboard Eco-Laundry, Portland
Lamey Wellehan, Auburn
MaineGeneral Health, Augusta
Hannaford Brothers Co., Scarborough
Winthrop Congregational Church, Winthrop
Oakhurst Dairy, Portland
Greater Augusta Utility District, Augusta
Wright-Ryan Construction, Portland
Lyman Morse Boatbuilding, Thomaston
Poland Spring, Hollis
Pratt & Whitney, North Berwick
Bath Iron Works, Bath
DEP Commissioner David Littell said the award recipients demonstrated it is possible to reduce pollution, both in the form of greenhouse gases and air toxins, and reduce energy costs at the same time.