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Recipients of the 2015 Minister's Award for Environmental Excellence

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Recipients of the 2015 Minister's Award for Environmental Excellence

  1. Bernard Mayer, safe water manager with the Regional Municipality of York, is leading a team of researchers that study weather and water conditions to predict beach closures -- before water samples get analyzed. Their goal is to give the public more notice of an advisory or closure before they head to the beach. The team is creating predictive models for public beaches along Lake Simcoe shoreline.

  1. Cycle Toronto is a cycling advocacy group that is tackling climate change by supporting environmentally sustainable and carbon-neutral transportation. The group also supports new, high-quality, connected infrastructure that will help Torontonians ride safely. Safety is the leading barrier to cycling. By improving safety, ridership could increase exponentially. Cycle Toronto has programs to engage its more than 3,000 members and thousands more through mailing lists and social media campaigns.
  2. Green Communities Canada is building support for stormwater innovation in communities across Ontario through the RAIN Community Solutions program. The program encourages the use of pavement that absorbs water, rain barrels and gardens, bioswales, and enhancing the urban forest to divert thousands of litres of rain from entering the stormwater system. RAIN promotes three simple messages: slow it down, soak it up and keep it clean.
  3. GreenBug Energy Inc. makes micro hydro-electric projects for low-head dams, typically owned by farms, municipalities and conservation authorities. These climate-friendly, power-generating projects help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make it safe for fish to pass through. A GreenBug Energy hydropower project on Big Creek in Norfolk County is expected to produce enough electricity to power 38 homes.
  4. NOVA Chemicals Corporation in the Sarnia-Lambton area recently converted its Corunna facility from crude oil to local natural gas. The project will use significantly less energy to manufacture ethylene -- a small hydrocarbon gas. The shift will reduce the facility's emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide. This conversion positions the facility for long-term competitiveness while meeting environmental and sustainability objectives and targets.
  5. Ontario EcoSchools has helped schools across Ontario become leaders in sustainability with its environmental education and certification program for grades K-12. The program helps school communities develop ecological literacy and environmental practices to become environmentally responsible and reduce their environmental footprint. 1,765 schools from 52 school boards have become certified EcoSchools, which represents 36 per cent of all schools in Ontario, serving more than 882,000 students.
  6. Sustainability CoLab is building a sustainable economy in cities across Ontario. Members of the CoLab Network are helping businesses thrive by reducing their environmental impacts. There are eight community-based organizations that are part of the CoLab Network, and their members are empowering local businesses to measure their carbon emissions, set meaningful targets, create an action plan, and report on progress made. So far, the Co-Lab has helped reduce 29,028 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 6,111 cars off the road.
  7. Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF) and Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) are working together to implement energy efficiency, health and comfort retrofits in seven TCHC buildings. This project shows that energy, health, and comfort retrofits, such as double-glazed windows, low-flow faucets and toilets, high-efficiency refrigerators, boilers, and equipment to monitor air quality, can reduce energy costs while addressing urgent capital renewal priorities. Retrofits are projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 22 per cent.
  8. Town of Perth and Bishop Water Technologies are using innovative technology called a Geotube system to treat residue from the Perth Water Treatment Plant. The project is eliminating discharge of solids to the Tay River and conserving capacity in the town's sewage lagoons. The system is less costly than conventional systems. The treated residue can also be reused as landfill cover and in construction activities.
  9. University of Ottawa's Clean Air Community Initiative is reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33,100 tonnes by retrofitting infrastructure to reduce natural gas and electricity usage on campus. The campus is also pedestrian and public transportation friendly, which is further reducing the carbon footprint.

Honourable mentions: 

  • McMaster University is reducing its electricity demand during peak hours by approximately 20 per cent, increasing energy conservation in its most energy-intensive facilities, and engaging the campus community in energy conservation and sustainability.
  • Norjohn Contracting and Paving completed a sustainable road upgrade in Haldimand County by using more recycled materials and fewer raw materials than a typical road upgrade project. The project included more than 33,000 tonnes of recycled material, 53,000 tonnes of virgin aggregate and 372 tonnes of asphalt emulsion. This also created a net savings of 6.6 million megajoules of energy.

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