LIHU‘E — Last week, Gov. David Ige honored 20 businesses, venues, and events for their energy efficiency and sustainable business practices in the Hawai‘i Green Business Program (HGBP) which is apart of the Hawai‘i State Energy Office, and two honorees are from Kaua‘i.
The Kaua‘i Department of Water’s (DOW) 16th Annual “Make a Splash” Festival was one of the events to receive this award.
“As leaders for water education, we are continuously seeking to improve our approach towards how the community values water and our natural resources,” DOW’s Information and Education Specialist Jonell Kaohelaulii said. “Encouraging attendees to bring their own reusable water bottle was an important part of the event’s announcements.
“Additionally, preparations for the event included gathering compostable products, recyclable cardboard boxes and recycled papers to be sorted, compiled and prepared for use at the event,” Kaohelaulii said.
According to DOW, the Make a Splash with Project WET water education festival is a student-focused event that gathers nearly 800 fifth grade students and teachers for an interactive, hands-on educational experience.
Dow said 12 activity stations were offered in 2019 that addressed water topics such as resource management, conservation, water quality and filtration, environmental impact from natural disasters, the importance of drinking water service, and more.
“Environmental impact is taken into consideration in every DOW project and our annual water education festival is no different, “ Kaohelaulii said. “We took the necessary steps to replace materials with compostable and recycled products; and by doing so, we’re able to eliminate plastic waste and minimize trash at the event.”
When DOW coordinated their event; they had two goals in mind. The first goal was to provide an exciting, interactive water education experience for students and their second goal was to improve the event’s green efforts by applying the HGBP’s checklist of green business recommendations.
“The DOW’s efforts to minimize environmental impact is paramount in all areas of our operations and we are honored to be recognized as a Hawai‘i Green Business Award recipient this year,” Board Chair of the Kaua‘i Board of Water Supply Kurt Akamine said. “Providing water education at an environmentally conscious event is a win-win for sustainability on our island and we could not have done it without our hard-working staff, partnering agencies, and participating residents.”
DOW’s other green efforts included: activities that featured re-usable supplies, change from paper to email registration forms, offered compostable and recycle bins throughout the event, purchased eco-friendly versions of required event materials; such as compostable napkins, bags made of recycled materials, etc.
Transportation offered by bus or carpool to and from the event. Post-event, staff collected reusable name-tag holders, cleaned and washed supplies, carefully restored items, and used leftover water from activities to feed grass and plants nearby.
DOW said in addition to other recommendations aligned with the state’s green business program, no electricity was used during the event.
Another Kaua‘i honoree was The Cliffs at Princeville, and General Manager Jim Braman is thrilled.
“The Cliffs at Princeville is proud to be awarded the state of Hawai‘i’s Green Business certification for the second year in a row,” Braman said. “We are all the luckiest people in the world to get to live in one of the most beautiful islands in the world. We need to act like it.”
Braman said any business can be a part of this program, and once they join the Department of Health will oversee it.
“You start to go through a checklist,” Braman said. “And you can expand from there, we did it for several years. We are super proud to be apart of it and hope more businesses on Kaua’i will take advantage of the opportunity.”
Braman also talked about another award his resort received as well.
“Greening is huge for us,” Brahman said. “Last year April, we were voted number one in the nation by the RCI (Resort Recognition Program) Award.
According to Braman, The Cliffs at Princeville has 3,000 operating solar panels, which generates 53% of the resort’s electricity. They also have 200 Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries powered up. And the last two years, the resort saved over a million gallons of water.
“We also planted more than 100 native trees on our property,” Braman said. “It’s really a big thing for us to be the greenest resort we can possibly be,” Braman said.
The Cliffs at Princeville’s also has an annual sustainability report that addresses six categories: Climate Change and Resiliency; Operations & Community Engagement; Energy Consumption & Renewable Energy Production; Land Use and Maintenance; Water Use & Conservation and Waste Management & Recycling.
Ige praised the awardees for their commitment to conserving energy and water, reducing waste, and protecting Hawai‘i’s environment.
“This group of HGBP awardees has put in the time and effort to demonstrate their excellent stewardship of the environment and a strong commitment to helping Hawai’i achieve energy independence,” Ige said. “They have shown that becoming greener and more sustainable not only benefits the environment, it makes good business sense.”
The state said all of the awardees were recognized during the annual HGBP awards ceremony, which was held virtually for the first time on Dec. 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And the Hawai’i State Energy Office, the Hawai‘i State Department of Health, and the Honolulu Board of Water Supply hosted the ceremony.
The HGBP, which was created by the Hawai‘i State Energy Office and the Department of Health in 2002, provides technical assistance to businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits seeking to operate in a more environmental and socially responsible manner.