To promote sustainability in the community, the City of Woodbury established the Environmental Excellence Awards (EEAs). The awards recognize businesses, organizations and individuals that are making Woodbury a more sustainable community through innovative programs and practices that demonstrate environmental leadership. Residents may nominate their own projects or be nominated by another party. The EEAs are presented annually at a City Council meeting.
2018 EEA Winners
Nominees in the Green Building—New Construction and Green Remodeling categories may include residential, commercial or institutional projects. The Youth Leadership category recognizes a group of young people or individuals under 18 years old.
Projects must be located in Woodbury. Nominated businesses, organizations or individuals must operate or reside in Woodbury and cannot have previously won an EEA. Applications will first be reviewed for completeness and eligibility, then judged on merit. Each application will be evaluated individually and not weighed against other nominees.
Projects will be evaluated on the following criteria:
- Benefit to the environment of Woodbury
- Level of commitment and leadership in sustainability
- Economic benefits
- Ability to serve as a model for others
To nominate a project, download and complete the application below.
Download Nomination Form
Mail or drop off this form to: City of Woodbury, C/O Jennifer McLoughlin, 8301 Valley Creek Road, Woodbury, MN.
Questions about the EEAs can be directed to Jennifer McLoughlin, sustainability specialist, at email@example.com or 651-714-3522.
Please note: In 2016, the city began awarding the Environmental Excellence Awards in the spring instead of fall to better align with Earth Day. As a result, the awards for that year were awarded in 2017.
Culver’s of Woodbury – Sustainable Business Practices
Culvers of Woodbury committed to energy conservation and recycling from their earliest planning stages. The building was constructed with LED lights throughout the store, and the owners worked with city staff to be allowed to install LED lights installed throughout the parking lot, which would have otherwise been incandescent. The site also includes accent solar lighting.
Culver’s received grant funding from the BizRecycling program to implement a recycling and composting program which is rare among fast food restaurants. BizRecycling is sponsored by Ramsey and Washington Counties and provides free resources and grant assistance to implement or improve recycling programs.
La Quinta Inn & Suites – Sustainable Business Practices
La Quinta Inn & Suites of Woodbury recently installed the first publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations in Woodbury. The two stations are located in the parking lot of the hotel at 700 Bielenberg Drive in Tamarack Hills. One station is specific to Tesla vehicles, while the other charging station serves non-Tesla electric vehicles. This amenity provides owners of electric vehicles a free charging option when planning trips to the east metro. As vehicle technology evolves, La Quinta’s investment sets their business up for long-term success while also encouraging other businesses to consider transportation from a new, greener lens.
Quarry Ridge Homeowners Association – Water Conservation
The Quarry Ridge Homeowners Association (HOA) made a substantial investment in their irrigation system to improve water efficiency and decrease cost, saving them money on their summer irrigation bills. To accomplish these improvements, Quarry Ridge HOA contracted with Shwaders’ landscape company to replace up to 70 percent of sprinkler heads with efficient nozzles that include pressure-regulated bodies. It is estimated that the new nozzles will achieve a 15-20 percent water savings. In addition, a new controller with wireless evapotranspiration and soil moisture sensor was installed to ensure efficient lawn watering.
This project received a 25 percent cost-share from the City of Woodbury’s 2015-2016 HOA retrofit programs. The city views nozzle and technology upgrades as vital to irrigation efficiency and has created a multi-year program for other HOAs and commercial irrigation users to make improvements similar to those made by Quarry Ridge HOA.
Streetside Raingarden Project – Innovative Stormwater Management Practices
The South Washington Watershed District (SWWD) nominated six landowners who participated in a water quality improvement project within targeted areas of the Wilmes Lake, Colby Lake and Powers Lake watersheds in 2016. This project started through a cost-saving collaboration between SWWD and the City of Woodbury. The SWWD had many streetside raingarden locations that were identified and prioritized to fit well with the city’s 2016 Roadway Rehabilitation Project scheduled for these areas.
Streetside raingardens help reduce the amount of algae-producing phosphorus and other pollutants entering downstream resources by intercepting stormwater runoff collecting along the street gutter into a sunken garden that holds and slowly filters pollutants, allowing the filtered stormwater to be used by the garden plants, soak into the ground, or enter back into the stormsewer system via underground drain tile.
After contacting more than 30 priority landowners, the six landowners receiving awards made the decision to support water quality improvement goals by agreeing to provide space for, and to maintain, a streetside raingarden on their property. SWWD has estimated that these six raingardens will reduce the amount of phosphorus entering adjacent lakes by approximately 2.5 pounds annually. On an annual basis, this will help eliminate 750 to 1,250 pounds of total equated algae growth in the lakes.
The homeowners that participated in the project, and are receiving an award, are Joe and Teresa Baumann; Mark and Vicki Fastner; Donald Graf; John and Joni Palen; Michael and Jill Pelke; and Thomas and Laura Prow.
Honorable Mention – Akul Seshadri
A tenth nomination was reviewed by the committee, but was not eligible for an award because the project was located outside of the city’s boundaries. Nonetheless, the committee wanted to provide an honorable mention to Akul Sheshadri, a Woodbury resident who organized an erosion control project at historic Pilot Knob Hill in Mendota Heights for his Eagle Scout Project.
Red Rock Elementary – Waste Reduction and Recycling
Red Rock Elementary and South Washington County Schools partnered with the Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment and the City of Woodbury to initiate a comprehensive recycling program at the school, focusing on high volume waste materials such as milk cartons and paper. Red Rock students started recycling milk cartons in January 2015 and by the end of the school year in June they had collected more than 80,000 milk cartons.
One of the most notable features of the program at Red Rock is the extensive involvement of the students in the new recycling effort. Students volunteer to collect recycling from classrooms, the library and office areas. The students actively participate in the milk carton recycling by emptying their milk cartons, then placing them in a recycling bin. Over the course of a school year, diverting milk cartons from the school’s trash stream could eliminate up to 17 trash pick-ups, providing an opportunity to reduce hauling costs. The number of cartons recycled at Red Rock in one school year will provide enough fiber to produce 448 reams of paper.
Crossroads Properties – Waste Reduction and Recycling
Since 1989, Crossroads Properties has been engaged in the business of developing, owning, leasing and managing a commercial real estate portfolio exceeding over 500,000 square feet of commercial space. In June 2014, Crossroads staff attended an outreach presentation hosted by City of Woodbury to promote a new program called BizRecycling. Washington and Ramsey Counties started BizRecycling to provide technical assistance and grant funding fir businesses to develop and implement solid waste recycling and organic waste recovery programs. Since then, Crossroads has worked extensively with BizRecycling and City staff to implement a comprehensive recycling program at six multi-tenant buildings at the Crossroads Commerce Center in Woodbury
Crossroads worked extensively with the staff at BizRecycling and the City of Woodbury to put bins in place, and implement a comprehensive recycling program at their properties. After six months of project implementation, Crossroads reported that even with an increase in tenants and increased recycling pick-up frequency, there was not an increase in the amount of waste produced. Additional recycling efforts include introducing plastic film recycling in July 2015 and holding a zero-waste tenant appreciation lunch in August 2015, where tenants sorted lunch waste into either organics or recycling bins. Crossroads is a model for other property owners on how to implement a successful recycling program.
Beechwood of Dancing Waters Townhome Association – Water Conservation
The Beechwood of Dancing Waters Townhome Association board steered an effort to partner with Horticulture Services to develop a plan to replace its existing irrigation system with a “smart” irrigation system. The hope was to install a system that would provide better system control, resulting in a significant reduction in water use. In spring 2015, existing controllers were replaced with a system that provides a computer software system that monitors controller operation, obtains real time water usage data, and makes zone adjustments as necessary. Weather data such as temperature, rainfall, wind, humidity and other factors are used by the controller to automatically adjust zone operation frequency and run times. The system notifies the association’s landscape contractor when problems are detected, so adjustments can be made. The installed system is expected to reduce water usage by approximately 20 to 40 percent.
Heritage Glen Townhome Association – Innovative Stormwater Management Practices
Residents of Heritage Glen, a 100-unit townhome association, removed more than 4,600 square feet of turf, and replaced it with two rain gardens and two native planting areas. The projects were done in partnership with the South Washington Watershed District through its Water Quality Cost Share Program. The gardens contain native plants that do not require irrigation and will instead provide water quality benefits, in addition to habitat for bees and butterflies. The gardens are each expected to remove 2.65 pounds of phosphorous from the water runoff. The board is committed to continuing the project and expects to install an additional rain garden in 2016.
Gasperini family – Energy Efficiency and Conservation
The Gasperini family has shown significant commitment to energy and water conservation through the renovation of their farm house. The project incorporated several technologies and practices, including the use of insulation, energy efficient appliances, programmable thermostat, on-demand hot water heater, and the installation of a rooftop solar array in 2013. The array provides more electricity than the family can consume on a monthly basis. Excess energy produced by the solar panels inspired the family to purchase an electric vehicle that can use the excess energy produced, instead of selling the excess back to Xcel Energy.
As a result, the family has saved approximately $2,000 per year on electricity, in addition to gasoline savings from the electric vehicle. The family pays a budgeted amount of approximately $80 per month for natural gas. Most of the modifications that were incorporated into this project could be replicated by other Woodbury residents, providing both financial and environmental benefits.
Dana Boyle – Environmental Education and Awareness
Tamarack Nature Preserve is one of the highest quality natural areas in the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District and contains plant communities that are rare in this area. Dana Boyle advocates for the protection of plants in the preserve by raising awareness of this local resource and providing opportunities for area residents to enjoy the beauty of the preserve. She has led several tours of the area, and has developed a field guide with plant photos and identification information that she shares with interested residents. Her efforts allow others to fully appreciate the unique qualities of the Tamarack Preserve.
Anna Barker – Commitment to Environmental Leadership
Anna Barker was nominated for her work as a “citizen catalyst” within the community. Since 2001, She has been committed to seeing environmental improvements in Woodbury. She has engaged the appropriate stakeholders and volunteered on many projects within the community. She was instrumental in a joint project between the Washington Conservation District and the four Carver Lake homeowners associations, where she navigated a complicated process to develop stormwater best management practices for the Carver Lake area. Barker has been a long-time champion for the environment and an environmental educator. She helped initiate rain gardens at Trinity Presbyterian Church and Crosswinds Arts and Science School. In addition, she has volunteered at various events including buckthorn busting, the Landscape Workshop and the Native Plant Sale, and worked with city staff on a variety of environmental programs.
Woodbury Community Church Rain Garden Project – Innovative Storm Water Management
Woodbury Community Church converted 35,000 square feet of high-maintenance turf grass and a ditch into three rain gardens. The project was designed to improve water quality, reduce flooding in the area, provide attractive landscaping and educate church and community members about the importance of water quality.
The project was funded through a Green Churches Grant and a cost-share program available through the South Washington Watershed District. Collectively, the gardens capture water from a 1-inch storm event from 28,250 square feet of impervious surfaces, including parking lots and sidewalks. The project installation was a collaborative effort between the Minnesota Conservation Corps and volunteers from the congregation. Woodbury Community Church is located at 2975 Pioneer Drive.
Views at City Walk – Water Conservation
During the design and construction of CommonBond Communities’ new 45-unit apartment building in the City Walk development, much attention was paid to environmental awareness through water conservation. Specifically, the project engineers from Loucks designed an underground rainwater harvesting system with capacity to capture 7,775 cubic feet of water. This is equivalent to a 5-year storm event with a rainfall of 3.5 inches. This rainwater can then be used to irrigate the property’s landscaping. The choice to intentionally design for rainwater harvesting not only helps the Views at City Walk reduce its property management costs by creating a lesser need to tap into the city water system but also helps preserve the region’s aquifer by using less groundwater for irrigation purposes. Views at City Walk is located at 375 Lake View Drive.
The Schoenherr Family Edible Estate – Environmental Education and Awareness
The Schoenherr family was selected to have their front yard transformed into an “Edible Estate.” The family of four worked with artist Fritz Haeg and several volunteers to create the 90-foot by 60-foot edible garden, which replaced the entire front yard. The goal of the project was to replace a traditional suburban lawn with an edible landscape that not only produces food, but also promotes human interaction.
Materials and expenses for the first year of growing were covered by the project, and in return the family agreed to continue the garden indefinitely. The second year of growing produced approximately 100 different crops. The project has brought neighbors closer together as they gather on Wednesday nights to help tend to and harvest the garden. The area also provides an educational experience to not only the homeowners, but also neighbors of all ages and the broader community. A neighborhood daycare has even worked the “Children’s Garden” into its curriculum. The project also demonstrates how local food production can take place in a suburban environment.
During the design and construction of their new dental clinic, much care and attention was placed on using materials that are sustainable, recyclable (or made from recyclable material), and safe for the environment.
Examples of products that were installed in the clinic include flooring that is recyclable and made from recycled material, energy efficient lighting, low VOC paints, baseboards and countertops made from recycled material and energy efficient exhaust fans.
The majority of products selected for the space include a green certification. The clinic also adopted green office practices including, paperless records, digital x-rays, and use of recycled paper products. Siverson Dental Care is located at 604 Bielenberg Drive, Suite 230.
The Eagle Valley Homeowners Association - Chuck Eckberg, Jeff Heinrich, Cynthia Hable and Eagle Valley Residents – Use of Renewable or Alternative Energy
In 2003, the Homeowners Association (HOA) at the time voted to ban certain property uses, including solar panels and compost bins. In 2008, a homeowner contracted with a solar installer to put solar panels on as home, later to find out that solar panels were banned within the HOA. In 2011, the HOA’s board members agreed to review the rules and start the process to collect homeowner input on the current rules.
The review process included a special meeting of the association, collection of information from both sides of the topic that was distributed to each household within the development. Residents were asked to complete a survey either online or by mail to provide input on the current rules. Survey results showed 65 percent of participants supported allowing compost bins and 75 percent of residents supported allowing solar panels. In May 2013, the board reversed the bans on compost bins and solar panels.
Members of the HOA hope that their experience can be an example for other residents who live within an HOA with similar restrictions.
Karyn Lidell – Waste Reduction and Recycling
Karyn has lived in Woodbury since 1972 and is described by her friends as a “passionate advocate for recycling and reusing everything you can ever imagine” and is often called the “ultimate recycler.”
Karyn actively seeks out ways to collect items from friends and members of her church and community so they can be repurposed. A small amount of samples of Karyn’s efforts include:
Egg Cartons – she collects the cartons to be reused by local farmers, instead of recycling (paper cartons) or throwing them in the waste stream (Styrofoam)
Plastic caps - collection of plastic twist caps from friends to be recycled by AVEDA
Greeting cards – she collects used greeting cards from family and friends and gives them to an organization that remakes the cards for reuse
Prom dresses – she collected “previously enjoyed” and gently used prom dresses to donate them for young women without the means to buy a dress
Aadarsh Padiyath - Youth Leadership
Aadarsh is a sophomore at Woodbury high School, and worked with City of Woodbury staff to develop an Eagle Scout project that would benefit his community.
He coordinated members of Troop 60 and other community volunteers to plant 40 trees around the edges of the soccer fields at Bielenberg Sports Center in August 2013. He worked with local businesses to provide lunch for the volunteers and solicited funds to purchase refreshments for the event.
He plans to purchase a tree with leftover funds from the event, and will donate it to the City. He picked his project because he wanted to do something that helped the environment, while having a lasting impact.