On Thursday, January 23, 2020, the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission was recognized by Elizabeth River Project (ERP) as a River Star Business for 2020. In an effort led by General Services Manager Andrew Margason, the HRPDC has taken several steps over the last year to implement sustainable practices in the areas of pollution prevention, wildlife habitat enhancement, and community outreach and education. Because of this dedication to environmental stewardship, HRPDC was recognized as a Commitment Level Business Partner at ERP’s annual awards ceremony.
In the area of pollution prevention, the HRPDC has installed a white/cool roof to reduce summer energy use, updated to an energy-efficient HVAC system, and began phasing in LED lamps for lighting, becoming a mercury-free facility. Only low VOC paints are used when refreshing office spaces and there is a voluntary recycling program in place. In addition, daily litter cleanups are conducted around the building and staff participate in national cleanup events such as the Great American Cleanup. There is a bike rack for employees who are able to bike to work and a water bottle refilling station was added to a high traffic area to encourage staff and visitors alike to use reusable beverage containers instead of single use water bottles.
HRPDC also began phasing in native plants as a wildlife habitat enhancement on the grounds. Red bud trees, black-eyed Susans, and tickseed can be found around the building adding natural habitat as well as visual interest to the landscape.
HRPDC also supports many community outreach and education initiatives. One such program is askHRgreen.org, a region-wide environmental initiative created to improve public awareness of the benefits of being “green.” Lead by Principal Environmental Education Planner Katie Cullipher and Environmental Education Planner Rebekah Eastep, askHRgreen.org provides residents of all ages in Hampton Roads with the resources, information and inspiration they need to go green. This includes programs such as Bay Star Homes and Bay Star Business, pledge-based programs that inspire people to show their commitment to clean, healthy waterways by making small changes in their home or business. Finally, in 2019 the HRPDC launched getfloodfluent.org, a regional outreach campaign designed to educate the public about the risks of flooding and the need for flood insurance protection.
HRPDC is thankful for the recognition as a River Star Business and will continue to improve facility operations in a way that will positively impact the environment in Hampton Roads.
|HRPDC staff accepting Elizabeth River Project's designation as a River Star Business, for 2020, from left to right, Jill Sunderland, Ashely Gordon, Rebekah Eastep, Andrew Margason, Katie Cullipher, K.C. Filippino, and Ben McFarlane.|