York County Shelter Programs' facilities certified as Environmental Leaders | Business

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York County Shelter Programs' facilities certified as Environmental Leaders
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ALFRED –York County Shelter Programs has been recognized by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for proactive efforts in reducing the impact the organization’s southern Maine facilities have on the environment.   

The Alfred based nonprofit, which works to end homelessness and provides housing, personal growth opportunities and community resources, had its campus in Alfred, Shaker Hill Kitchens in Saco and the Bakery at Notre Dame in Alfred recently certified by the Maine DEP as Environmental Leaders. 

The Environmental Leader program is a self-guided process offered by the department as part of its Pollution Prevention program that encourages lodging facilities, restaurants and grocers to implement selected initiatives from those offered in the department developed workbook to achieve points towards certification.  Points can be earned for practices such as adopting and posting an environmental policy, serving local food, using non-toxic chemicals for landscaping, installing energy-efficient equipment and educating patrons about the facility’s green initiatives. 

As businesses work through the process, staff from the department’s Office of Innovation and Assistance provides free technical assistance to help participants integrate sustainable practices, save money and reduce their environmental impact, regardless of whether they end up obtaining certification.

Since it was launched in 2006, more than 150 businesses have been certified by the program and DEP estimates that lodging leaders alone have saved more than 19 million gallons of water through installing low flow water fixtures and/or implementing towel and linen re-use programs and prevented more than 15 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions through lighting with compact fluorescent lights.  

"Becoming a Maine DEP Environmental Leader in both the lodging and restaurant categories has been an accomplishment which has been extremely meaningful for us,” said York County Shelter Programs Public Relations Director, Mary Doyle.

“All the various steps towards earning points towards Environmental Leader certification challenged and enlightened us about the additional changes we can make in the future to further improve our plans for sustainability.  It has been exciting to witness how our green practices at York County Shelter Programs have progressed to involve the participation of our staff, residents, volunteers and the community."

Those green practices at York County Shelter Programs’ campus in Alfred include implementation of an environmental policy; employee commitment letters for proactive environmental stewardship; composts as part of waste management; donations of food to the food pantry the organization operates; and improved facility energy efficient lighting windows and appliances.  They also have solar hot water and solar electricity systems.

Shaker Hill Kitchens is a nonprofit coffee shop and bakery open to the public that supports the work of the parent York County Shelter Programs.  In addition to being the first licensed community kitchen in the state, the bakery has green practices that include energy efficient lighting, recycling and composting programs, eliminating use of styrofoam and helping the affiliated Bakery at Notre Dame raise free-range chicken and pigs for food.  Both eateries also work closely with local farmers to help improve quality food served and have adopted the commitment to render operations more sustainable.  

For more information about York County Shelter Programs, visit http://www.yorkcountyshelterprograms.org/ or call (207) 324-1137.

For more information about the Maine Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Leader certification program and a complete list of participants, go to http://www.maine.gov/dep/innovation/greencert/ or contact Peter Cooke at peter.cooke@maine.gov or (207) 791-8101. 


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