Green Washington Awards 2012: Agriculture/Natural Resources

By Nick Horton October 16, 2012


WINNER: Claar Cellars, Pasco
Family-owned and -operated wine producer in eastern Washington.

Green Actions: In 1979, Russell Claar planted eight acres of Riesling vines on the White Bluffs of the Columbia River. Thirty-three years later, the vineyard and the winery that bear his name have become a regional leader in sustainable viticulture. All of the winerys buildingsincluding 26,000 square feet of open warehouse spaceare heated and cooled with a groundwater-pumping, variable-speed glycol tank system, which uses roughly half the energy of a traditional pump system. All gray water produced at the winery is recaptured and circulated into the irrigation system. Results: The winerys move toward sustainable practices has dramatically reduced energy use. Claar Cellars is one of only three Washington wineries to achieve LIVE certification, which is awarded to vintners who abide by stringent international standards of sustainable winemaking. LIVE, a nonprofit based in Salem, Oregon, stands for Low Input Viticulture and Enology. Wineries must complete two years of farming under LIVE standards to achieve certification. Claar Cellars has also received certification from Salmon-Safe, a Portland nonprofit that partners with LIVE to reduce harmful runoff from vineyards and other agricultural sites. The winerys use of lightweight glass for bottles has resulted in reduced fuel costs both before and after bottling.

SILVER AWARD: Tree Top Inc., Selah
Grower-owned agricultural cooperative producing fruit juices and fruit-based consumer food products.

Green Actions: In 2010, Tree Top undertook a massive effort to reduce natural gas use at its plants in Selah, Prosser and Wenatchee. At the main juice-making plant in Selah, a closed-loop water system on the highest-volume processing line reuses water for heating and cooling of the juice and vice. In Prosser, the company installed a centrifuge that allows it to process fruit slurry into juice in a more efficient manner. In Selah and Wenatchee, the company installed WaterVac systems to aid in the drying of fruit as it passes through the plants. Tree Top also moved to lighter-weight packaging for its product lines. Results: The four plant modifications resulted in a usage reduction of 38.2 million cubic feet of natural gasenough to provide energy to nearly 500 homes. The move to lighter packaging saved the equivalent of 10,000 trees in one year.

More information: Green Washington Awards

Follow Us