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National Aquarium Honored with Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award


At an event hosted by the Green Building Institute in Jessup last week, the National Aquarium was one of five organizations to receive the second-annual Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award. The award was presented by Maryland Department of Environment Secretary Robert Summers, along with Maryland Department of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary Joe Gill and Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Clean Technology and Sustainability Manager Elaine McCubbin.

Each year the award is presented to organizations that have shown a strong commitment to sustainable practices, measurable results, and continuous improvement.

Governor O’Malley commented: “Maryland continues to make choices that protect our environment and public health — working to restore the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways, protect drinking water, promote clean energy, create green jobs, improve air quality, and preserve land for future generations. Our partners in this effort are Maryland Green Registry members, whose organizations are leading the way in sustainable business practices as they save money and conserve natural resources.”

Winning Maryland Green Registry organizations were chosen based on their commitment to continuous improvement and environmental results achieved to date. A profile on the Aquarium’s commitment to these efforts is posted on the Maryland Green Registry.

Highlights of the Aquarium’s 2010 sustainable practices include:
  • In 2010, the Aquarium initiated a composting program, and more than 31,050 pounds of composted waste from the café kitchens, animal prep kitchens, and visitor and staff dining areas was collected and hauled to a composting facility instead of a landfill. As part of its efforts, the Aquarium engaged all of its partners and staff.
  • The Aquarium has successfully connected a 40,000 gallon cistern that captures rain water from the roof and provides water to the native plantings on the plaza.
  • As part of the Aquarium’s extensive volunteer coordination efforts, 119 acres of wetland forests, marshes, sand dunes, and riparian buffers have been restored since 1999.
  • The Aquarium has also improved the efficiency of their lighting and lighting controls, including changing the trademark blue wave lighting on the exterior of the building to LED lighting, saving 70 percent in energy consumption over the older blue neon lights.

MDE Secretary Robert Summers said, “I am proud to present these awards to organizations that have displayed outstanding leadership. Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award Winners work every day to conserve resources and protect our environment, evaluating their practices and measuring their success on a continual basis. Their commitment is outstanding and, as we can see, they are really getting results.”

The Aquarium shares the award with CSX, E-Structors, St. Mary’s County Public Schools, and the University of Maryland – College Park. While the organization range in facility types and sizes, all of the recipients have several key factors in common that contribute to their success: each organization has a green team, has organization-wide commitment to environmental performance, sets annual environmental goals, and measures their results.

The Department of the Environment also announced collective results that were self-reported by participating organizations. The nearly 300 Green Registry members, over a single year, reported the following annual results: 740,000 lbs of hazardous waste reduced; 6.7 million lbs of nonhazardous waste reduced; 741 million lbs of non-hazardous waste recycled; 3.3 million gallons of wastewater reduced; 2.1 million gallons of fuel saved; 2.4 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduced; 378 million kWh electricity saved; 117.4 million gallons of water conserved; and 2.4 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) — greenhouse gas emissions measurements — reduced. They also reported saving $65 million.

The Maryland Green Registry is a voluntary program launched by Governor O’Malley as part of the Smart, Green and Growing Initiative to promote and recognize sustainable practices by organizations throughout the state. The free program offers tips and resources to help organizations set and meet their own goals on the path to sustainability.

You can read more about the National Aquarium’s green business practices here