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Energy savers get city citation

Fri., April 16, 2010, midnight

47 businesses given SMART certificate

The city of Spokane’s second list of businesses cited for cutting energy use and saving resources includes 47 firms. The group ranges from small, one-employee retailers like 4000 Holes, to larger area companies like Ross Printing Co. and Access Telecom.

Businesses that qualify receive the Sustainable Management of Assets, Resources and Technology – SMART – certificate, a designation created by Spokane Mayor Mary Verner in 2008.

Managed through the city’s Business and Development Services department, the program made its first group selection of about 40 companies in 2008.

Companies can either apply on their own, through, or be recruited to apply. That site also has the list of the 47 designated SMART firms.

Partnering in the effort with the city are Eastern Washington University’s College of Business and Public Administration, Avista and the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Teri Stripes, the city’s program manager, said a key role in the SMART effort comes from EWU’s Business Resource Center on the downtown Riverpoint campus. The BRC is EWU’s community outreach group. Its director, professor William Kelley, arranges for EWU interns to help area firms complete SMART applications.

One of the 2010 SMART firms is Ross Printing Co., at 1611 E. Sprague Ave. Company owner Benjamin Ross said he learned of the program when he was visited by an EWU intern. Ross then decided to apply.

It took little trouble for Ross Printing to get the SMART designation; the firm won the 2009 Spokane Regional Clean Air Award.

“My business philosophy is to reduce as many volatile organic compounds as possible,” Ross said.

LaVerne Biel, owner of Access Telecom, said her firm also met the criteria easily since she and her husband, Kent, have focused on recycling, conserving energy and using water wisely.

“Getting the (designation) at least gives us peace of mind, knowing that we’re doing what we can to be good stewards of our resources,” Biel said.

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