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Kauai Businesses Honored for Going Green

The Rotary Club of Kapa`a  honored eight local businesses as winners of the 2008 Kaua`i Green Business Initiative Awards (KGBIA) at yesterday's Rotary Luncheon held at the Aloha Beach Resort . “All of the winning businesses have gone beyond environmental compliance to adopt and exemplify best ‘green’ practices over the past 12 months,” says Rodney Pascua, chairman of this year’s program, noting that each business displayed a proven track record in one or more of the areas of efficiently using raw materials/supplies, managing waste responsibly, managing shipping/handling responsibly, saving water and saving energy.”

Winners included:  Island Soap Company, in the category of Wholesale and Retail Manufacturing; The Shoe Repair Shop, in the Retailer category; Habitat for Humanity under the Nonprofit category; Aloha We Deliver! in the Home Business category; Unlimited Construction in the Builder/Developer category; Saffron Mediterranean Cuisine in the Restaurant category; Farias Cattle Company in the Grower category; and H&S Publishing in the Publisher category. All organizations had representatives on hand to receive the awards except for Farias Cattle, whose owner was supposed "riding a cow" off on the mainland.

All of the entrants showed how their ‘green’ initiatives benefit the environment as well as the economic performance and long-term success of their businesses.

In the Island Soap Company entry, General Manager Jim Psaila outlined how the business initiated electricity conservation by installing an 18,000 KW photovoltaic net metering system at its Kapa`a factory location — saving $1,000 per month.  The business also cut its landfill debris by half by recycling cardboard, paper and glass, and purchasing end roll paper (previously discarded as waste) from The Garden Island newpaper to use for shipping its products. The landfill on Kauai, located way out on the west side near Kekaha is a major ongoing environmental issue on the island.
Island SoapRotary Club Vocational chair Rodney Pascua thanks Steve Mitchell from Island Soap and Candle  who is holding his bamboo plaque award for his company's green efforts.

An obvious winner was The Shoe Repair Shop, based in Lihue and owned by Ray Duarte, Jr., which saves the environment and has a positive impact on customers’ pocketbooks by recycling leather goods and restoring them for continued use.  Ray's short speech to the audience of Rotarians and guests was certainly the funniest. He mentioned a couple of his long time motto slogan's which include "Before you throw it away, check with Ray!" and "I can heel and save soles".
Shoe repair shopBeth Tokioka, Ray Duarte Jr. and Vocational Chair Rodney Pascua pose after Ray delighted the crowd with his humor.

Kaua`i's Habitat for Humanity, Inc. entry, submitted by Executive Director Stephen Spears, outlined an impressive effort to save energy and reduce homeowners’ utility bills by securing grants to create an Energy Efficiency Fund, which will ensure installation of solar water heating systems in all new Habitat homes.  Another grant, the 2007 High Energy Cost Community Grant Program, gives Habitat the funds to purchase and install roof-mounted solar hot water systems and thermal insulation in the walls and ceilings in 32 houses.  Six homes in the Eleele Iluna subdivision are being retrofitted in 2008 — with 17 homes due to be finished by the end of 2009.  The environmental and cost-saving benefits, through the relatively simple modifications of solar hot water systems and insulation, are expected to reduce homeowners’ monthly electric bills by 50 percent. HFH includes an energy savings strategy in their homeownership sessions now and are making a difference. Next month, HFH will have completed their 100th home on Kaua`i.

Two Time Winners
Second-time winner, Aloha We Deliver! expanded its already substantial “green” efforts of supplying biodegradable/eco-friendly products (which replace Styrofoam and plastic) to restaurants, recycling packaging, and streamlining its shipping and delivery practices.  This year, the company President Jennifer Sifuentes volunteered to assist Zero Waste Kaua`i and spearheaded ground-breaking waste management practices — at Taste of Hawaii, the KIUC Annual Picnic, the Healing Garden Festival and the Kapaa Coconut Festival. Jennifer reported that the diversion rate of waste from this month's festival was 93%.That's huge.

In the Builder category, Unlimited Construction also won for the second straight year for its “green” activities on its job sites as well as at its own offices — saving money through reduced materials costs and waste, fuel savings, electricity costs, recycling and reusing materials — which diverted thousands of tons of materials from Kaua`i’s landfill.  According to President Randy Finlay, companywide “green” operations undertaken in the past 12 months, include:  mandated recycling plans on all job sites, the use of bio-fuel in the form of recycled cooking oil to run all equipment, and the installation of photovoltaic systems on all job sites and in the company’s Lihue headquarters.  Job site “green” activities include:  designing a thermal transfer system at Kaua`i Lagoons Resort using the existing lagoon to cool the 80 condo units, instead of installing a cooling tower;  building the islands’ first LEED-certified “green” building — the Botanical Research Center for the National Tropical Botanical Garden and earning LEED “Gold” status; and employing unique, state-of-the-art recycling practices at its Westin Princeville Ocean Villas Resort project.

Winning this year in the Restaurant category is Saffron Mediterranean Cuisine located in Princeville.  Highlights of the restaurant’s “green” efforts include:  buying most of its produce from organic local farmers, introducing Princeville Ranch beef to its menu (less than 5 miles from farm to table), and employing a near zero waste policy (due to an exhaustive recycling program — with most of its food waste going to pig farmers). “The restaurant also uses biodegradable to-go containers, has switched to CFL light bulbs in the office and kitchen, employs water conservation during food preparation, reuses waste paper and purchases recycled paper for printing menus and other materials,” states General Manager Aaron Feinberg.

Farias Cattle Company, based in Kilauea, won in the Grower category for creating completely “green” ranches in Kapa`a and Hanamaulu.  Situated on old sugarcane fields, Owner Robert Farias, Jr. notes that the ranches support about 1,000 head of cattle, which replenish the soil with natural fertilizer, control overgrowth of vegetation (greatly reducing the use of fuel for mowing or tilling), and produce a sustainable food source for the local community.  The company’s ranches also use no potable water on site.  Instead, they utilize a ditch system, which siphons the water (which would normally go into the ocean) into water troughs and surface irrigation, with the rest going to irrigate a large taro field for a neighboring farmer.  In addition, the ranches use no electricity on site, and when power is needed, generators or battery- powered devices are used.  The ranches’ waste products are kept to a minimum and all discarded feedbags are given to a local farmer for weed control use in garden beds — eliminating the use of herbicides.  Finally, to ensure its viability in times of drought, the company has started a hay baling business on the island and has almost completely stopped the use of mainland feed to sustain its shipping cattle and the cattle it processes (6,000 to 8,000 head) for all other ranchers on Kaua`i. 

In the newly created publishing category, the winner is Kapa`a-based H&S Publishing, publisher of Kaua`i Magazine, Kaua`i Real Estate Magazine, Hawaii Data Book & Newcomers Guide Series, print-on-demand books and the Kaua`i Green map.  According to Chief Executive Officer Rob Sanford, the company’s “green” printing practices include:  using a printer that is devoted to improving sustainable forest management in the United State and Canada, printing on recycled paper using vegetable inks, using elemental chlorine free paper, and recycling unused paper products.  In the company’s overall operations, it uses recycled paper and has cut its paper consumption in half by using both sides of the paper.  In addition, its use of a solid ink color printer, (think Xerox) instead of a color laser printer has produced 90 percent less waste and reduced toxicity by 100 percent, since solid ink is a non-toxic, resin-based ink similar to crayons.  The company cut its office space in half by having five of its employees telecommute, which also reduced the business’s carbon footprint significantly. H&S also reuses incoming packing materials for outgoing parcels and offers “pay online green invoicing” to help clients and
its own operations reduce paper and envelope consumption, while eliminating postage costs.

Green Business Award Winners
Seven of the Eight Green Business Award Winners pose in front of the Rotary Club of Kapa`a's Banner

Making a Difference
Last year, the Rotary Club of Kapa`a awarded plaques to 11 companies at its inaugural awards luncheon ceremony, where recipients spoke passionately about their “green” business efforts. This year the plaques were made on Kauai out of recyclable bamboo. Beth Tokioka from the Kauai Office of Economic Development provided the plaques and was an active participant in this program to honor our "green model citizens".

“This program is such a great way to highlight the businesses that are making a difference for the island’s sustainability, the planet’s well being and ultimately for the people of Kaua`i and the world,” states Ken Stokes, president of the Kaua`ian Institute and past president of the Rotary Club of Kapa`a — and creator of the Kaua`i Green Business Initiative Award program.  “We are proud to sponsor such a worthwhile endeavor and excited to honor this year’s award recipients.”


Special thanks to Melissa Mojo for generating this great PR for our Rotary Club of Kapaa

Ron Margolis, RA, CDPE, ABR Hawaii Life Real Estate Services 808.346.7095 email: ron@hawaiilife.com

Comment balloon 1 commentRonnie Margolis • October 23 2008 11:17AM
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