Beyond its tourist attractions, Central Florida is recognized for its diverse natural environment that welcomes residents and visitors who enjoy hiking, biking, water sports and other outdoor activities. The Central Florida Clean Air Team includes businesses, organizations and people just like you – all working together to raise awareness of air-quality concerns, while promoting activities and programs that improve the quality of one of our most precious assets – the air we breathe.
There are a number of positive steps all of us can take each day to improve air quality. Chief among these is choosing a more efficient means of transportation. The Clean Air Team occasionally meets to discuss strategies for improving transportation options and ways to encourage people to develop and practice good clean air habits.
The team is always looking for new members, and we want your thoughts on how to improve our region’s air quality. If you would like more information, please contact Mary Ann Horne at 407 481-5672 x305 or mhorne@MetroPlanOrlando.org.
Clean Air Month
May is Clean Air Month – a time to celebrate the impact the Clean Air Act has had on our environment and the overall health of our communities. The Clean Air Team celebrates by hosting and participating in events throughout Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties.
Clean Air Award
Each year, a local business or organization is recognized with the Clean Air Award. Judging is based on innovation and uniqueness, direct or indirect effort to reduce emissions, providing a model for others to follow, and sustainability. The award is presented in May, and entries for the 2017 Clean Air Award are due April 7. (We accept entries year-round, however, for consideration in the next award cycle.)
Take a look at the categories and criteria below and fill out and submit the form, which can be found here, including project description, contact information, and references. For more information about the Clean Air Award, contact Mary Ann Horne, mhorne@MetroPlanOrlando.org
Is your organization doing great things for air quality? Enter the Clean Air Awards today!
Entries will be judged on the general criteria below as well as criteria specific to the type of project being entered, as listed under “Eligible Projects/Programs” below. The general criteria are:
- The entry directly or indirectly (i.e., by encouraging actions) reduces emissions of criteria pollutants or hazardous/toxic air pollutants.
- The entry demonstrates innovation and uniqueness.
- The positive outcomes from the entry are continuing/sustainable.
- The entry provides a model for others to follow (i.e., replicable). Although not required to win the award, the following general criteria will also be considered in the judging process:
- The entry has positive effects on other environmental media in addition to air
- The entry, directly or indirectly, has a positive effect on the region’s transportation system.
- The entry demonstrates effective collaboration and partnership.
- The individual or organization submitting the entry has effectively measured/evaluated the outcomes of the project, program, technology, etc.
Judges will screen all applications received, consult with air quality experts to the extent necessary and make the final award determination.
The following types of programs/projects are eligible for submission to the Clean Air Award competition. Submissions will be judged based on the general criteria as well as the criteria listed below. One Clean Air Award winner will be selected, along with possible honorable mention award, to be recognized during Clean Air Month in May.
Clean Air Technology
The technology is commercially viable and can be widely applied. It is cost-effective relative to other air pollution control technologies that already exist and is at the prototype stage or beyond.
The development results in increased access to employment centers, services, amenities and other destinations by means other than private vehicles (such as walking, biking or transit). The development reduces energy usage. It provides additional housing, commercial, retail or other services, yet has less impact on energy, environmental, or transportation resources than do other “typical” projects. The development is beyond the design stage.
The education/outreach program increases public awareness about the importance of clean air. It improves access to information on clean air issues and reaches a wide number of stakeholders. Program development is completed or substantially under way.
The regulation or policy encourages actions that go beyond compliance with applicable laws and provides flexibility to the regulated community. The development process for the regulation or policy has included a stakeholder (e.g., public) involvement component. The regulation or policy has been put into effect.
Transportation Efficiency/ Innovation
The project or program increases the number of available transportation options and, thus, is likely to reduce vehicle trips and/or miles traveled. The project or program improves travel convenience and reduces travel time and costs. The development of the project/program is completed or is substantially under way.
Internal Operation Efficiency/Change
The efficiency or internal policy change uses basic operations decisions to encourage employees, contractors or vendors to engage in practices that result in cleaner air. The efficiency or change is applied broadly and results can demonstrate a substantial impact on air quality. The efficiency or change has been put into effect.
Central Florida Clean Air Award Winners
Mary Sue and Bill Weinaug accept the 2016 Clean Air Award for their work at Wekiva Island.
Wekiva Island Recognized for Environmental Efforts
Wekiva Island, an environmentally friendly education and recreation venue in Seminole County, is the 2016 Clean Air Award winner.
Located near Longwood, Wekiva Island strives to be a carbon-neutral recreation destination — the first of its kind in Florida. The organization’s environmental philosophy goes by the acronym CERO — standing for Conservation, Efficiency, Renewable and Offset. Since 2008, Wekiva Island has drastically reduced its carbon footprint, and it provides education and environmental partnerships along with its unique recreation offerings. It also boasts Seminole County’s first LEED Platinum building — the Mike Barr Education Center, which local environmental non-profits use for free. Learn more about this Central Florida clean air champion.
See photos from the 2016 Clean Air Award presentation on May 26.
A 2016 Honorable Mention Award went to the UCF Parking & Transportation Services, which manages 10,000 shuttle boardings every class day at the University of Central Florida, helping alleviate congestion and pollution around the campus. The vehicles also strive to reduce idling and use alternative fuels to further cut emissions. Find out more about this huge operation.
An Honorable Mention also was awarded to the City of Casselberry for its asphalt standards on major city paving projects. Casselberry became the first city in Florida to require what is known as warm-mix asphalt, a process that uses less energy, produces fewer emissions and creates a healthier work environment than traditional hot-mix asphalt.
2015 Clean Air Award Winner
Orange County Public Schools Transportation Department was recognized for its Green Fleet initiative, which resulted in a cost saving of $1.3 million in the 2014-15 school year, as well as a significant avoidance of carbon emissions through several techniques.
2014 Clean Air Award Winner
The Orange County Public Schools Facilities Department combined technology, policy, outreach and operating efficiency to avoid more than 16 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, while also saving more than $2 million.
2013 Clean Air Award Winner
The City of Casselberry realized significant energy savings when it instituted a Compressed Work Week for its employees in 2011. By documenting the effort meticulously, the city also served as a model to help other local governments and businesses find ways to use creative scheduling to improve their energy use and bottom lines.
2012 Clean Air Award Winner
The region’s commuter assistance program, ReThink Your Commute, is committed to reducing congestion by helping Central Floridians choose smarter ways to get to work. Whether it’s carpooling, vanpooling, mass transit or telecommuting, reThink has an idea on how to help employers and employees use these techniques to improve their commutes and make our air cleaner.
2011 Clean Air Award Winner
Orange County wants to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency. In 2007, the county launched Orange to Green, a program designed to work with citizens and businesses to reduce their energy consumption and improve fuel efficiency.
2010 Clean Air Award Winner
LYNX converted 100% of its bus fleet to biodiesel, which has the capacity to reduce annual fuel consumption by 800,000 gallons. The process is expected to lower carbon dioxide emissions by 16%, improving air quality in Central Florida. LYNX was presented the award as part of the grand opening celebration of the blending station.
2009 Clean Air Award Winner
The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens implemented a Styrofoam recycling program on-site. Visit the zoo’s website to learn more about their green initiatives.
2008 Clean Air Award Winner
Waterford Elementary School and Progress Energy Florida installed 12 solar panels on school grounds to help reduce energy costs. The project was made possible by SolarWise for Schools.
Future Air Quality Experts: Clean Air Student Awards
Today’s students are learning more about air quality than in past years. They understand the impact cars and other transportation options have on air and are eager to encourage change that will have a positive effect on our community’s future.
The Clean Air Team recognizes the efforts of students who are doing exceptional work related to air quality.
If you know of a student or student group exploring how to make our air cleaner, please let us know! Email: email@example.com
2016 Student Award Winners
MetroPlan Orlando and the Central Florida Clean Air Team honored two outstanding students for their work at science fairs in the region with 2016 Student Clean Air Awards.
Ritika, from Lake Brantley High School received the award for her project displayed at the Seminole County Regional Science, Math & Engineering Fair on generating clean energy with magnets. The inspiration for her project came from a desire to explore how micro generators, such as the one she made with magnets, cables and a plastic bottle, might be helpful to people living in very remote areas where the delivery of household electricity can often fail.
Paris, a student at St. John Vianney Catholic School in Orange County, was honored at the 12th annual Ying Exposition Awards for her project on the effects of “green roofs.” Using birdhouses as models, she simulated some of the rooftop planting ideas she had observed and compared inside temperatures with those for plain birdhouses without the “green” roofs.