“Cool Citizens” Draw Praise in Local Awards Ceremony

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Stan Breakell is a leader in the local green business movement.
Stan Breakell is a leader in the local green business  movement.
Stan Breakell is a leader in the local green business movement.

Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition named award winners in five categories at its annual meeting May 16 at Western Virginia Water Authority’s Spring Hollow Water Treatment Facility.  The Coalition recognized individuals, organizations, and companies deemed to have the greatest impact toward reducing the greenhouse gas emissions  recognized to be a principal cause of global climate change.

This year’s awards recognize work that has been done since the inception of the Coalition in 2006, through the present. The Coalition plans to make awards each year in the future for work done in succeeding years.  Award nominations were submitted by the (more than 160) members, with an awards committee making the final selections.

Winners in the media category included: WDBJ-7’s “Mornin'” show hosts Lauren Cook and Bob Grebe, cited for “Green Week, March 2009” WDBJ’s coverage included the Coalition’s compact fluorescent light initiative and of the City of Salem’s endorsement of the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. (Other nominees in the Media category included Roanoke Star-Sentinel news editor Gene Marrano.)

Two winners were named in the government category. Gwen Mason, Roanoke City Council was recognized for her part in theformation of Roanoke’s Clean and Green Business Coalition and for establishment of target emissions reduction for the City of Roanoke.Kenneth Cronin, Director of General Services for the city, was recognized for his direction of the Virginia Municipal League award-winning effort to reduce greenhouse gasses.  Cronin has made presentations throughout the state concerning how municipalities are dealing with climate change and energy management.

Two winners were also named in the business category. Breakell, Inc. General Contractors  was hailed as a leader in the sustainable business practices movement in Roanoke.  President Stan Breakell was recognized for founding Roanoke’s Clean and Green Business Coalition.

Roanoke Cement, A Titan America Company was also cited for its $12,000 grant to support measurement of community and government carbon footprints for Roanoke County and the City of Salem.  The company reduced its own electricity use by approximately 6% in 2008 and received an Energy Star citation for energy savings.

In the non-profit category,  Hollins University was cited for their  program to make the entire campus “carbon neutral,” and  hosted a film festival “Putting a Chill on Global Warming” (2007) serving as the kick-off for the local campaign for responsible energy use.

US Green Building Council Southwest Virginia Chapter and Nell Boyle was also recognized.- During Boyle’s tenure as chair of this group, they hosted a wide range of programs to educate the general public about green building.  This organization is the leading regional resource for sustainable building practices.

Rupert Cutler received a special achievement award as one of the original board members of Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition. Cutler served in that capacity until his reappointment to Roanoke City Council earlier this year.

Nashville independent filmmaker Jeff Barriewas cited for his film “Kilowatt Ours,” which has been shown around the country, including over twenty screenings sponsored by Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition.  “It is by far our best teaching tool; we love the film and we love Jeff for making it”, said Diana Christopulos, chair of the Cool Cities Coalition.

The Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition is an independent, all-volunteer organization seeking to implement smart energy solutions that will benefit taxpayers and the environment.