Green Washington 2011: Nonprofit


Winner: Northwest Energy Angels
First investment group in North America focusing exclusively on the cleantech industry.

GREEN ACTIONS Since its founding in 2006, Northwest Energy Angels has invested more than $4.25 million in 26 young companies working in renewable energy, biofuels, energy storage, clean transportation, green building, waste reduction and sustainable agriculture. These businesses all provide goods or services that directly reduce the carbon footprint of their customers and move society toward a sustainable economy.

RESULTS So many examples, so little space. One of the companies Northwest Energy Angels has invested in is EnerG2, which focuses exclusively on the development and production of advanced carbons for energy storage devices. Its first product is an advanced carbon that can be used in the batteries of electric vehicles, enabling them to go farther and faster with smaller batteries. This innovation is expected to accelerate market acceptance of electric vehicles, which will in turn lessen greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the United States’ dependence on foreign oil.

Runner Up:
Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center

Consults with businesses and agencies to make their operations more sustainable.

GREEN ACTIONS PPRC is part of several federal and state networks geared toward helping businesses green their operations. It recently participated in a national effort to quantify the outcomes of pollution prevention programs. PPRC efforts range in scale from training painters to optimize their material use to improving the environmental efficiency of health care facilities. 

RESULTS These various projects together have reduced the release of millions of pounds of solid waste, hazardous materials and air emissions. The gallons of water and kilowatt hours of electricity saved number in the trillions.

2016 Community Impact Awards: Green Products & Services

2016 Community Impact Awards: Green Products & Services

Winner: Optimum Energy, Itek Energy, Rice Fergus Miller

Gold Award:
Optimum Energy
Location: Seattle  |  Employees: 60  |  Top Exec: Bert Valdman, president/CEO   |

“Being green” is not a trend at Optimum Energy. The company, which enables campuses, health care facilities, pharmaceutical plants, data centers and other commercial buildings to cut energy costs by up to 50 percent, believes society must reverse the pace of climate change. The firm’s cloud-based platform and its associated technology optimize heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, the largest consumer of energy in most buildings. This technology has enabled customers to save about 500 million kilowatt hours of electricity, reduce carbon emissions by nearly 290,000 metric tons and save more than 100 million gallons of water. “We have to reverse the pace of climate change, and we can’t do that unless we’re able to do more with fewer economic and physical resources, without comprising the environment,” says CEO Bert Valdman. “Accepting the status quo is not an option. We must develop the tools and technology to become more sustainable. And we must do so on a straight-up economic basis, without subsidies.”

Silver Award: 
Itek Energy
Location: Bellingham  |  Employees: 88  |  Top Exec: John Flanagan, founder/CEO  |

Itek Energy manufactures high-powered solar modules in Bellingham. The company also works with nonprofits to power low-income housing, the Bellingham Food Bank, homeless shelters and community buildings. In the past four years, Itek Energy has locally built and sold in Washington more than 160,000 solar modules, which will produce more than 50 gigawatt hours of renewable energy every year. 

Silver Award:
Rice Fergus Miller
Location: Bremerton  |  Employees: 44  |  Top Exec: Steve Rice, principal  |

Architectural, interior design, planning and visualization services to several markets, including senior living, fire and emergency services, health care, hospitality and community. For almost three decades, the firm has focused on projects that build and strengthen community. The company is housed in a reclaimed auto service center that is one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the United States.