North American Sustainable Enterprise Awards Finalists Announced


The Institute for Sustainable Development announced its 2010 Green Plus™ North American Sustainable Enterprise (NASE) Finalists. The awards are designed to recognize smaller enterprises in a variety of sectors for the example they have set in advancing triple-bottom-line sustainability.

The awards, presented by GlaxoSmithKline, bring together academic, business, and philanthropic leaders from around the country to recognize organizations in the following categories: Sustainable Enterprise, Sole Proprietor, Non-Profit, Small Business (5-50 employees), Medium Sized Business (+51 employees) — and the Green Plus™ People’s Choice award, decided by popular vote.

Winners will be announced Friday, June 18, 2010, at the North Carolina Research Triangle Park Headquarters.  The awards ceremony will be held in the Archie K. Davis Conference Center at the LEED Silver Certified Research Triangle Park headquarters. Doors open at 7:45 a.m. A light breakfast will be provided by Sage & Swift Catering of Durham, and the program will begin promptly at 8:15 a.m.

For more information about the NASE awards or to register for tickets, please visit

Green Plus™ Sustainable Enterprise of the Year finalists, presented by The Research Triangle Park


The Green Plus™ Medium-Sized Business of the Year finalists

Presented by Wells Fargo, the Green Plus™ Small Business of the Year finalists

Green Plus™ Non-Profit of the Year finalists

Green Plus™ Sole Proprietor of the Year finalists

For more information about the NASE awards or to register for tickets, please visit

Descriptions of the award finalists

Sustainable Enterprise of the Year – Presented by The Research Triangle Park

Cargas Systems

Cargas is an information technology firm that implemented programs to ensure sustainability right from the start such as making Cargas an employee owned company and offering profit sharing to all employees.  In August of 2010, Cargas will move and is striving for LEED Silver Certification in its new building, which will include solar panels, passive solar, trombe walls, water source heat pumps and water-saving plumbing fixtures.  From offering flex time and telecommuting to a four-week paid sabbatical, Cargas has a unique culture which cultivates individual development.

Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau (DCVB)

DCVB excels in their commitment to triple bottom line sustainability.  Among their positive environmental practices, DCVB has installed a 3,000 gallon cistern to use for landscape irrigation and a high-efficiency HVAC system with zone controls and load monitoring reduces energy usage.  Among the 120 awards and recognitions garnered, DCVB was honored with a Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility and ranked by CEO Update as one of the Top Places to Work in Nonprofits.

The King’s Daughters Inn

The King’s Daughters Inn strives to inspire their guests by showing them how seamlessly green technologies can be woven into everyday life.  The Inn was created by renovating a historic property into a modern, eco-boutique hotel.  This combination of old and new hosts an integrated energy management system for each room, a 10,000 gallon cistern and rain garden, and a pervious concrete parking lot, as well as educational tours for legislators, students, and the general public.

Lube Stop

Since 2006, Lube Stop has aggressively pursued more sustainable business practices, which have reduced expenses by hundreds of thousands of dollars, significantly reduced waste streams, and differentiated them in a mature, competitive market.  Some LSSP projects included converting common oils from expensive case packaging to bulk storage, using remanufactured toner cartridges, establishing a companywide energy use policy, and the 2008 launch of the EcoGuard™ Oil Change Service, which is one of the company’s most visible innovations.

Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation

Piedmont EMC, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative based in Hillsborough, is a nonprofit electric utility that strives to empower and partner with consumers to provide energy value and to provide an environment for achieving personal excellence and growth for employees.  The organization serves an energy-conscious membership living and working in residential, university and farming communities.  Through smart grid technology, the Cooperative’s consumers have the option of prepaid electricity, allowing them to buy electricity before they need it and instantly scan their daily energy usage through their computer.

The Taylor Companies

Established in 1816, Taylor is the oldest furniture manufacturer in the United States. Taylor Company developed much of their sustainable practices over the past 5 years by playing a key role in the remediation of a 50 acre Brownfield, responsibly diverting most of their manufacturing waste, conserving natural resources, and commissioning a life cycle assessment report of their best selling desk series to educate stakeholders in decision making processes such as corporate strategy, product design, purchasing and marketing.

Green Plus™ Medium-Sized Business of the Year

MG Capital Maintenance

MG Capital is a janitorial company in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina that started implementing green cleaning procedures in 2008 by converting to environmentally friendly chemicals that meet strict Green Seal™ standards.  Since then, MG Capital has installed chemical dispensers with dilution control systems, utilized micro fiber cleaning systems, and also upgraded vacuum cleaners to include HEPA filters for better indoor air quality and a noise level of less than 70 decibels.  The organization encourages employees to support local charities and non-profit organizations through participation in fund-raising events, financial contributions and in-kind contributions.

The Umstead Hotel and Spa

The Umstead Hotel and Spa is a luxury Five Star and Five Diamond property that seeks to engage guests in the sustainability conversation through education and communication.  The Umstead sources over half of the food products from local farms or vendors, and the grounds include a pond with a restored fish habitat, turtle nesting areas, butterfly garden and a 0.3 mile walking trail that features educational signage for guests to enjoy.  Additionally, the Umstead has an extensive recycling program for paper, cardboard, glass, and plastic in place.

Warfel Construction Company

Founded in 1911, Warfel Construction Company subscribed to sustainability before it became a buzzword. Warfel Construction has tried to maximize their efforts to achieve triple bottom line sustainability through continued education and serving as a point a reference for others to follow.  Additionally, Warfel tout their efforts through advertising on local billboards and in mailings in order to raise awareness within their community about sustainability and green practices within its industry.

Wenger Feeds

Wenger Feeds’ commitment to triple bottom line sustainability shows their leadership in the agricultural industry.  From supporting over 50 local organizations to retrofitting lighting systems in their Rheems Mill facility in Lancaster County and planting 80 trees at their Muncy Mill facility in Northern Pennsylvania, Wenger is pushing the boundaries within their industry and helping other small agricultural businesses see what is possible.

Wohlsen Construction Company

Wohlsen Construction Company has embodied sustainability for 120 years and continued to improve their fiscal performance amid the economic downturn.  95% of Wohlsen’s management team are certified in Green Designations and sustainability is emphasized through ongoing training.  To reduce waste, Wohlsen has adopted specific changes in their operational habits everything from upgrading all appliances and computers to Energy Star products, to transitioning to electronic invoicing, and upgrading their servers to reducing their energy usage by 50%.

The Green Plus™ Small Business of the Year, presented by Wells Fargo

Dos Perros Restaurant

Opening in Durham in August of 2009, Dos Perros serves authentic Mexican food in a fresh, modern atmosphere.  Chefs can frequently be found shopping at the Durham Farmers Market, and local produce is the inspiration for many of the restaurant’s vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.  Dos Perros is based in a building recently renovated for historic and environmental preservation, and gets nearly 1/3 of its AC and heating needs from geothermal energy.

Environmental Solutions Group

The Environmental Solutions Group practices a culture of sustainability with employees and customers.  The EPA recognized ESG with a 2010 Leadership in Housing Award for adding 45 new builders of ENERGY STAR Homes in North Carolina during 2009.  Other sustainable practices include carpooling to all job sites and bicycling to and from the office, asking all customers what they are doing to be more sustainable, and including sustainability tips on their website.

The Irregardless Café

The Irregardless Café has been dedicated to innovative sustainability solutions since opening in 1975.  Started as Raleigh’s first vegetarian-and-vegan-only restaurant, the Café purchases much of its food through local farmers and the Farmer’s Market.  They also support their community and the arts through donations, trade, and other support.  When the Café was closed for 11 months due to fire in 1993, Chef Arthur Gordon continued to pay his employees asking that they volunteer at community nonprofits instead.

Laser Plus

Laser Plus has been a leader in the printer sales, service and supplies industry since 1986, as well as a service provider and reseller of new and refurbished office machines.  The organization has made several physical modifications that would help the Laser Plus employees to live the sustainability concept more fully on a daily basis; from rewiring lighting into zones to earth friendly cleaning materials and supplies for the lunch room.  Half of the employees serve on boards, others act as volunteer EMTs, adopt highways, help in local schools, done in a day events, and play pool for charity.

Riley Life Industries

Riley Life Industries is a warehousing and order fulfillment company that has pushed the boundaries of what it means to focus on the triple bottom line.  A small sample of its sustainable solutions include reducing packaging costs by 61% through reuse, organizes monthly company-wide community service activities, purchasing a battery powered forklift, encouraging carpooling, and bringing together shareholders to encourage community-wide sustainable practice sharing.

The Green Plus™ Non-Profit of the Year

Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) district is focused on implementing innovative sustainable practices, which included the creation of a representative Green Team. The District is engaged in moving the district forward in several areas; including reducing energy usage, increasing the level of recycling, revising and developing sustainability policies, and developing awareness across the district.  CHCCS has recently changed their district food provider, which has allowed for the elimination of Styrofoam lunch trays, a focus on locally produced foods, and financial support for district sustainability initiatives.

Downtown Raleigh Alliance

The Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) is a non-profit organization comprised of individuals, associations, corporations, and partnerships that want to improve Downtown Raleigh. This leadership organization is focused on the revitalization of Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina and serves as a clearinghouse and advocacy group for all issues affecting Downtown. DRA also manages the Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market, which requires sellers to meet stringent standards and only sell local products.

Plymouth Church United Church of Christ

Plymouth Church UCC is taking a sustainability-based look at themselves, their congregation, and the community that they serve.  The innovative sustainability solutions implemented include eliminating waste, reducing utility usage at the church and among their members, and creating a community garden.  The Church also includes Green Tips in their monthly newsletter, used green building methods when renovating their conference room, and serve as an example of sustainability in its community.

PTA Thrift Shops

As one of the oldest non-profit organizations in the Triangle area, the PTA Thrift Shop, Inc. supports the Chapel Hill/Carrboro City Schools with their year-end profits, which over the past five years has been in excess of $2 million, by operating thrift shops in two locations.  One of the goals of PTA Thrift is to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and to generate additional revenue, if possible, from items that are deemed “unsellable.”  To the tag lines ‘People, Planet, Profit’ and ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’, the PTA Thrift Shop adds ‘Shop, Save, Support!’

Triangle Community Foundation

Triangle Community Foundation (TCF) is a nonprofit philanthropic foundation that manages $135 million in funds established by individuals, businesses and families. From these funds, they gives grants to nonprofit organizations and administers a variety of programs for the community’s benefit.  Located in a recently renovated historic tobacco warehouse, TCF has an extensive employee environmental education campaign and works to reduce waste and conserve resources throughout its daily activities.

Green Plus™ Sole Proprietor of the Year

Benjamin Environmental Solutions Team
Based in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Benjamin Environmental Sustainability Team (BEST) consults with businesses and individuals who want to live a greener lifestyle.   BEST hosts a cable television series called “Sustainable Life” that helps to show how sustainability measures are being incorporated into life across the United States.

Brick Street Botanical

Brick Street Botanical leads by example with its sustainability practices and has developed a following of clients and other businesses that support their commitment to continually improving our sustainability efforts.  Their sustainable initiatives include conscientiously avoiding traditional floral shop practices that are harmful to the environment, buying locally from gardens and nurseries whenever possible, and using suppliers within a 200 mile radius for the vast majority of our purchases. Brick Street Botanical also recycles gray water for plants, and supports local artists and handmade art.

EcoSelect Furniture

EcoSelect creates custom leather and helps upholster furniture made with green, renewable products, and manufactures it using environmentally sustainable practices. Based in Greensboro, North Carolina, every piece of furniture is manufactured locally, using craftspeople from family-owned businesses.  All leather is from a certified tannery, while hemp products come from subsistence farmers and is processed locally.

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