VT Digger: EPA Awards 3 Environmental Awards to VT Recipients


News Release — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

April 22, 2014

(Boston, Mass)- Today, the U.S. EPA recognized three organizations and/or individuals from Vermont at the 2014 Environmental Merit Awards ceremony. The Vermont awardees were among 26 recipients across New England honored for contributing to improving New England’s environment.

Each year EPA’s New England office recognizes individuals and groups whose work has protected or improved the region’s environment in distinct ways. The merit awards, given out since 1970, honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts.

Business/Industry/Trade or Professional

Duane Peterson and James Moore, co-Presidents
Waterbury, Vt.
It all started with a pilot project within the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. VPIRG Energy was created to make it easy and affordable for Vermonters yearning for sustainable energy sources for themselves. Within a year they helped 300 families to go solar. They knew they had a business model that worked but also realized that to scale it up to serve many more Vermonters they would need a separate entity and investment capital, and so SunCommon was born in early 2012. Their mission: to tear down the barriers that made renewable energy inaccessible and repower Vermont communities, one home, school and business at a time.

In two short years SunCommon has grown to become Vermont’s largest residential solar business, helping over 700 Vermont homeowners to go solar. SunCommon’s commitment to positive environmental impact runs throughout its business process. Its headquarters are in The Energy Mill, Vermont’s largest “net zero” office building. SunCommon is also a pioneering Benefit Corporation, with a legal charter that directs them to attend to the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. Benefit Corporations put their investors, employees, and neighbors on notice that while they intend to make a profit so that they can grow their business, they also will do right by their workers, the communities in which they operate and the habitats that sustain them.

Recently, 92 companies worldwide were recognized for creating the most positive overall social and environmental impact by the nonprofit B Lab with the release of the third annual B Corp Best for the World list. The list honors businesses that earned an overall score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on its workers, community and the environment.

Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears, comment:
““I could not be more pleased with EPA’s decision to recognize the great work of these Vermonters,” said Vermont Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears. He continued: “Pixley Tyler Hill and Ted Tyler of Tyler Family Place have been long-time advocates for clean water and deserve recognition for their persistent and constructive efforts to protect Lake Champlain; the Farmers Watershed Alliance is a great example of the kind of innovative work Vermont’s farmers are doing to reduce polluted runoff; and SunCommon is a terrific example of the growing number of innovative renewable energy businesses being created in Vermont, companies that are helping to fight climate change while creating jobs and saving Vermonters money.”

Read the whole story here.


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