The museum had a great Earth Day! Last Friday, Spalding House director Aaron Padilla and grants manager Dave Washburn were at the 2016 Hawaii Green Business Program Awardees Recognition Ceremony in Gov. David Ige’s office at the State Capitol. (Pictured above, left to right: Carilyn Shon, Energy Efficiency branch manager, Hawai‘i State Energy Office; Keith Kawaoka, deputy director, Department of Health; Dave Washburn; Aaron Padilla; Gov. Ige; Luis P Salaveria, director of DBEDT.)

The Hawai‘i State Energy Office‘s Hawaii Green Business Program (HGBP) is the result of a partnership between Hawai‘i’s Department of Health; Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; and the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i. It aims to highlight businesses that are dedicated to creating a sustainable Hawai‘i.

The awards go to hotels and resorts and other businesses making an effort to be environmentally friendly, and also recognizes specific events.

The museum earned its reward for following the Green Business checklist to make our opening reception for the exhibition Plastic Fantastic?, which looks at the benefits and costs of plastic—especially one-time-use plastic—through art. Events coordinator Brennen Ogawa realized the environmentally inclined show was the perfect time to introduce energy and waste-saving measures and got all the materials needed to apply for green event certification.

To reduce solid waste from the event, we provided reusable name badges, placed recycling and compost bins throughout the grounds, replaced the usual disposable plastic cups with reusable water bottles and glasses, covered tables with reusable linen and compostable paper, reused decor and accouterments from previous events, used centerpieces that could be repotted at home, produced invitations that doubled as reusable drink coasters and followed up with electronic reminders. We reduced energy and water use by holding the event outdoors in a naturally lit, ventilated space, and served organic finger food buffet style so we didn’t need to offer forks and knives.

This event is just part of the museum’s greening efforts. In 2010, it began an energy-saving project with Energy Industries, and more recently Stem and Hawaiian Electric, that has resulted in thousands of dollars in savings and a reduction in the museum’s carbon footprint.