A chemical company, a developer and a three counties were recognized for the work they have done to improve the air quality in Central Alberta.
The organizations were given Blue Skies Awards from the Parkland Airshed Management Zone Wednesday.
The awards are held every other year and recognize those who “are taking exemplary measures to improve air quality.
“It’s really about showcasing the innovative ways in our community air quality issues are being addressed,” said Aaron Rognvladson, Parkland Airshed Management Zone board chair.
Nova Chemicals, Developments 2 Inc. and Alternative Land Use Services in Lacombe, Mountain View and Red Deer Counties were all recognized.
Nova Chemicals was chosen for its work during its furnace refurbishment project at its Joffre site. The goal for the project is to achieve a 30 to 40 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions.
“We took on such a big project to reduce the emissions from our site and have done so,” said Lois Erichson, site operations leader. “We live in an community that allows us to operate in their backyard, and we want to be good to them in air quality, sound, noise, light, all kinds of emissions.”
Five of 11 furnaces have been refurbished and four more are scheduled to be completed by 2021.
Developments 2 Inc. designed the Timberlands Market Project and was awarded for its green efforts during construction. It used solar power, encouraged pedestrian traffic and developed a green operating guideline for tenants.
“It helped us win the bid for the land, and now it’s a real source of pride for our company to be able to achieve such a level of environmental stewardship,” said Ryan Sawatzky, Developments 2 Inc. owner.
“You don’t expect to be recognized in this type of forum. It gets us reinvigorated about the journey we’ve been on and helps keep it fresh.”
The Alternative Land Use Services programs offers producers financial support for environmentally friendly initiatives on their land. In Red Deer County there are about 100 farmers participating the program, involving 2,000 acres.
“Those farmers have done everything from alternative watering system projects to riparian fencing, grazing management and a few crop-related projects,” said Ken Lewis, Red Deer County conservation co-ordinator. “How we look at it is the ecosystem they’re delivering has economic value to the rest of us in society. We’re finally transferring that value to them for the work their doing.”