Green Washington Awards 2013: Retail


WINNER: GreenCupboards

The brainchild of Gonzaga University graduates Josh Neblett and Sarah Wollnick and their former adjunct professor, Tom Simpson, GreenCupboards is an online retailer of sustainable merchandise. It’s a one-stop destination for green-minded shoppers in search of food, household products, electronics, baby clothing and thousands of other items. GreenCupboards stocks more than 25,000 distinct products.

Shopping has never been so eco-conscious. The company’s Green Compliance Team reviews potential inventory items weekly, and GreenCupboards’ proprietary Eco-Trait system allows customers to browse products according to their manufacturing standards. For example, one might search exclusively for cruelty-free, BPA-free or nontoxic products, or for a product that fits all three Eco-Traits simultaneously.

So far, it pays to be the online-only, sustainable incarnation of a big-box retailer. GreenCupboards, which employs 75 people, expects 2013 revenues to exceed $25 million, up from $7.2 million in 2011.


T-Mobile may be fourth in the race among America’s cellular giants, but its retail and corporate operations are clearly greener than the rest. The company’s PC Power Management project automatically powers down all of its retail computers overnight and has saved almost 2 million pounds of CO₂ in its first year of operation. An ambitious overhaul of product packaging will eliminate plastic inserts, VOC finishes, petroleum-based inks and adhesives by the end of 2014. T-Mobile has recycled more than one million handsets at its retail stores and all of the company’s buildings at its Factoria headquarters are being retrofitted to achieve at least LEED Silver certification.

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.