Business Achievement Award
Talan Products, Inc.
Talan Products had a humble beginning in 1986 with a single part for a single customer (the part is still being produced for that customer today). Steve Peplin, his brother Rich & John Talan each invested $2,100 to found the company. 33 years later, today Talan is a $50 million contract manufacturer specializing in solar mounting systems, LED lighting components & building products. All of Talan’s growth has been organic, there were no acquisitions of other companies.
Talan’s customer base includes residential, commercial & utility scales solar companies. Talan also has a history of manufacturing thermal & PV solar system components. As the solar industry grew and the need for metal manufacturing services grew with it, Talan Products correctly predicted the high growth potential of the new market. By offering Design for Manufacturability assistance (DFM), Talan is now an integral partner of their customer’s businesses. Talan has received over 50 awards for growth, innovation & manufacturing excellence. CEO Steve Peplin & his partner Pete Accorti have been outstanding advocates for renewable energy in Ohio, frequently taking their message to public forums, politicians, and the media.
Academic Achievement Award
Kent State University
Kent State University is an excellent example of leadership among academic communities in areas of clean energy and sustainability. Their sustainability initiatives include food, water, waste, natural areas, transportation, energy, and green buildings. The photovoltaic solar array on the roof of the Field House generates about 500,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which is approximately one-third of the annual power used by the Field House and Dix Stadium. Kent State’s combined heat and power plant is twice as efficient as a standard utility power plant and produces electricity as well as steam and chilled water on a campus loop. The 13 MW co-generation plant is designed to maximize efficiency by means of digital electronic metering and instrumentation. Energy efficiency retrofits to buildings across campus have reduced energy consumption by over 20%. Kent State’s commitment to sustainability and clean energy extends to the classroom as well, offering Bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Studies and Environmental and Conservation Biology, as well as a minor in Sustainability. The College of Aeronautics and Technology produces world-class research on fuel cells through the Energy and Sustainability Lab; the Responsible Leadership Initiative in the College of Business Administration focuses on UN Sustainable Development Goals; and the interdisciplinary Environmental Science and Design Research Initiative explores the relationship between human and natural systems to develop solutions for critical issues.
Kent State’s commitment to sustainability and clean energy extends to the classroom as well, offering Bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Studies and Environmental and Conservation Biology, as well as a minor in Sustainability. The College of Aeronautics and Technology produces world-class research on fuel cells through the Energy and Sustainability Lab; the Responsible Leadership Initiative in the College of Business Administration focuses on UN Sustainable Development Goals; and the interdisciplinary Environmental Science and Design Research Initiative explores the relationship between human and natural systems to develop solutions for critical issues.
Kent State has been an active participant in the Green Energy Ohio Tour since 2014 and has coordinated with the Kent Sustainability Commission to broaden visitors’ experience by including both campus and community sites.
Government Achievement Award
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections
One of the significant challenges facing men as they leave prison is finding a good job – especially one that provides an opportunity for growth. It has been shown that steady employment reduces recidivism and increases the likelihood of full participation in society. Within the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction (ODRC), at the Richland Correctional Institution’s Reintegration Unit offenders have a chance to learn skills that contribute to those outcomes. The Understanding Photovoltaics class provides a 12-week training in solar technology and installation for approximately 20 offenders. Students spend 4 hours a week in the classroom and another 2 hours a week working on solar panel technology. Out of each class, three to five top performers are selected to take the Electronics Technicians Association, International (ETA) certification test. The students have a 94% passing rate with the majority scoring over 90% on the exam.
A coalition of dedicated partners has contributed to the success of the program, including the Wayne County Sustainable Energy Network, YellowLite, Blue Rock Station, Dovetail Solar and Wind, Green Energy Ohio, Solar from Seaward, Second Chance Solar, Backwoods Solar, the Rahus Institute – Solar Schoolhouse, and the Richland Correctional Institution’s Recycling Program. The Department has also issued a Request for Proposal for the installation of 15-30 MW of solar photovoltaics across multiple institutions, putting them at the forefront of renewable energy use in state government entities.
Professional Association Achievement Award
The Ohio Hospital Association
The Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) represents 237 hospitals and 13 health systems across the state – institutions that depend on an affordable and efficient energy supply. The OHA Energy and Sustainability Program ensures that all members have access to the resources, financial incentives and educational programs necessary to make informed decisions around the energy and environmental impact of their facilities. OHA offers member hospitals a variety of services including energy procurement through OHA negotiated rates, advocacy at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and the Ohio Statehouse, ENERGY STAR benchmarking, energy audits and other sustainability programs. In 2018, participating members achieved $9.6 million in energy savings, rebates and educational benefits from the program. Ohio is currently second in the nation with 13 ENERGY STAR certified OHA member hospitals. As of November 2018, 17 percent of all ENERGY STAR certified hospitals are in Ohio.
The organization’s Environmental Leadership Council is charged with leading Ohio hospitals toward the goals of environmental sustainability, regulatory compliance, energy efficiency and pollution prevention. In addition, representatives from OHA member institutions have contributed to statewide efforts in support of Ohio’s clean energy future.