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Environmental Excellence Awards Program

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2019 Environmental Excellence Awards

The Port of Seattle annually recognizes outstanding environmental accomplishments of customers, tenants, non-profits and business partners of all sizes with the annual Environmental Excellence Awards. Award winners serve as role models and demonstrate exceptional environmental accomplishments and leadership in their operations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Port of Seattle maritime facilities. These businesses also recognize and partner with the Port to help it achieve its environmental stewardship and sustainability goals set forth in the Century Agenda.

Awards categories include environmental performance, education and outreach, and innovation, with a separate award for small businesses. Any project, process or activity that was completed in 2019 and demonstrates excellence may be submitted for recognition. We are excited to announce the following 2019 award recipients.

Sailboat icon

Maritime Environmental Excellence Awards

The Maritime Division received eight nominations and selected three award winners. The Maritime Division also recognized two nominations with an Honorable Mention to highlight notable accomplishments that demonstrate meaningful support for Port sustainability objectives. Award winners and key accomplishments are described by award category below.

Environmental Performance Award

SSA Terminals logoSSA Marine

This award recognizes SSA Marine for voluntary LED lighting upgrades at Terminal 18, making use of Seattle City Light incentives. SSA Marine:

  • >Replaced 1,004-1,000-watt high-pressure sodium lamps with 663-47-watt LED fixtures. 
  • Gained significant energy savings with additional benefits for worker safety, and off-site light impact reductions that improved conditions for residential communities and natural habitats.
  • Chose to invest in state-of-the-art system to gain longer-term benefits and more efficient maintenance and operation. 
  • Achieved: 65% reduction in energy use, 3.8M-kilowatt-hours in annual energy savings, 1.1-year payback (including $795K investment by City Light).

Environmental Education and Outreach Award

Dirt Corps logoDirt Corps LLC

This award recognizes Dirt Corps for supporting Port environmental, equity, and environmental justice goals through education and outreach programs for adults, youth, and minorities. Dirt Corps:

  • Implemented a pilot program to teach shoreline restoration skills along the Duwamish River and Elliot Bay to both youth and adult learners.
  • Trained 75 youth and 7 adults in leadership, aquatic horticulture, shoreline restoration, local history, ecosystem services and impacts, public speaking, salmon habitat and restoration, and environmental justice principles.
  • Conducted classroom and field training programs that include green jobs skills; ecological infrastructure restoration, maintenance and design; and hands-on restoration in the Duwamish watershed. Field work included over 20,000 square feet of area and 800 trees/shrubs planted.
  • A critical component of the educational model is creating training opportunities that allow people to learn while being paid for their time.
  • All of these projects are done with local community partners, paid Dirt Corps trainees, and frequent partnership with the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps.

Environmental Education and Outreach – Small Business Recognition

Orcasound logoOrcasound Hydrophone Network

This award recognizes Orcasound, a small non-profit organization, for convening 13 member organizations in the Puget Sound region to deploy hydrophones and document orca sounds. Orcasound:

  • Compiles and shares hydrophone data that supports understanding of communication between Southern Resident Killer Whales and the stresses of underwater noise. 
  • Hydrophone sounds are shared with the public so that we may all learn about orca populations and noise impacts.
  • Orcasound’s role has helped to consolidate the impacts of other small organizations that track Orca sounds and noise impacts upon them.

Environmental Performance – Honorable Mention

Norwegian Cruise Lines Holding


Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH)


This award recognizes NCLH for instituting a wide-ranging environmental program that includes eliminating single-use plastics, adapting vessels for shore-power, and reducing potable water consumption. NCLH:

  • Voluntarily conducted underwater sound surveys with DVN GL, which was a notable element significant to the Puget Sound. 
  • NCLH met SILENT-E parameters, which ensure vessels don’t exceed average-to-moderate noise levels, for four cruise vessels, three of which come to Elliott Bay.
  • Vessel noise reduction is a priority for the Southern Resident Killer Whale task force.

Environmental Education and Outreach – Honorable Mention

Just Health Logo


Just Action Health

Just Health Action Award RecipientThis award recognizes Just Health Action for conducting a community-based participatory action program that combines environmental and human health principles and directly engages Duwamish Valley community members. Just Health Action:

  • Supports the Port’s equity and environmental justice principles.
  • Engaged in collaboration with Duwamish Valley community members that led to the Port of Seattle’s Duwamish Valley Community Benefits Commitment.
  • This commitment helped to establish the Port-Duwamish Valley Community Equity Program and the Port Community Action Team. Shared goals include community-Port capacity building, healthy environment and communities, and economic prosperity in place.
  • Conducts trainings across the country, serving youth and community groups, grade school to college students, health professionals, and county health departments.

Airplane icon

Aviation Environmental Excellence Awards

The Aviation Division received six nominations and selected four winners, including two small businesses.  Award winners and key accomplishments are described by award category below.  

Environmental Performance

Alaska Airlines logo

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines, Energy Efficiency recognitionThis award recognizes Alaska Airlines for an energy efficiency lighting upgrade project at SEA facilities and efforts to reduce waste. Alaska Airlines:

  • Completed a voluntary lighting efficiency upgrade at two airport Maintenance Hangars, replacing 366 fluorescent lights with 193 high-efficiency LED lights, which:
    • Reduced energy consumption by nearly 1,000,000 kWh (70% decrease);
    • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 11 metric tons;
    • Lowered annual energy utility costs by $60,000;
    • Partnered with Port to obtain a Bonneville Power Administration energy efficiency incentive rebate of $175,000, offsetting project costs by 33%;
    • Delivered higher lighting levels, improved worker safety, and reduced need to manage hazardous waste from fluorescent lights;
  • Reduced inflight waste by eliminating 22 million plastic waste items (straws and stir-sticks), and recycled other inflight waste;
  • Promoted reusable bottles through their “Fill Before You Fly” campaign, reducing passenger use of single use plastic cups. Alaska partnered with Bonneville Environmental Foundation to plant a tree for every passenger who brings a prefilled reusable water bottle on their flight and posts to social media with the hashtag #FILLBEFOREYOUFLY.

HMS Host logoHMSHost

This award recognizes HMSHost, an airport Concession operator, for extensive food donations, donating and recycling surplus restaurant equipment, and continuous improvement using environmentally preferable service ware and reducing waste. HMSHost:

  • Donated 7,594 meals (or 9,493 lbs.) of surplus restaurant food and supplies to the local food bank including 2,276 meals during closure of their Anthony’s restaurant;
  • Donated large volumes of surplus tiles, tables, chairs, and refrigerators from restaurant build-outs and closures to Habitat for Humanity and small local businesses, including a small Native American owned business that accepted Anthony’s table tops with plans to refinish and repurpose for their own business;
  • Donated and installed surplus storage racks to Highline Schools Foundation benefitting local programs in the surrounding school district;
  • Recycled an estimated 10,000 lbs. of metal equipment from restaurant closures;
  • Installed nitrogen generators at five airport Starbucks stores eliminating nitrogen tank deliveries;
  • Reduced waste by converting to reusable plates and compostable liners at Stonehouse Café, eliminated all stir straws in casual dine units, and converted all on-request straws to compostable at Re’lish and Dungeness Bay restaurants;
  • Continued efforts to eliminate single-use plastic straws at airport Starbucks locations by voluntarily Partnering with Starbucks to pilot a strawless lid for cold-cups, removing straws from condiment bars, and switching straw offering to on-request only.

Environmental Performance – Small Business Awards

Seattle Chocolate logoSeattle Chocolate

This award recognizes Seattle Chocolate, a small and woman owned business and airport Concessionaire, for reducing waste and using socially responsible business practices to alleviate hunger in local communities. Seattle Chocolate:

  • Switched to reusable delivery boxes, which reduced airport shipment waste by 80% or 3,192 cardboard boxes;
  • Donated 54,822 fresh food servings to food banks based on JCOCO chocolate sales at SEA.  Their Pink Umbrella fund uses a portion of sales to fund food donations through partnerships with local food banks;
  • Improved recoverability of product waste by using certified compostable film wraps for 150,000 lbs. or 7.2 million truffle chocolates.

Whidbey SeaTac Shuttle logo

Whidbey Seatac Shuttle

Whidbey SeaTac Shuttle award recipient for alternative fuel conversion

This award recognizes Whidbey Seatac Shuttle, a small and veteran owned business and airport shuttle service, for completing alternative fuel conversions in their bus fleet, reducing waste and incorporating employee sustainability suggestions into operations. Whidbey Seatac Shuttle:

  • Converted the remaining three (3) passenger buses in their fleet from gasoline to propane fuel reducing total annual carbon emissions by 164 metric tons, equivalent to removing 35 cars from the road annually;
  • Switched to using silica-based tires that improve fuel economy and extend tire lifespan;
  • Recycled ~50 lbs. weekly from passenger and employee recycling programs;
  • Encouraged employee feedback on sustainability measures including landscaping that improves stormwater quality, providing free electric charging for employee vehicles, and providing driver training to reduce idling emissions and fuel consumption.

View past year Environmental Excellence Award Winners here.

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