Pavilion had a festive atmosphere Wednesday as Clayton received recognition for becoming Missouri's first Green Power Community, a designation the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded to just 37 places in the country.
The event, aptly falling two days before Earth Day, proved to be a community affair: Dozens of people came to support the Green Power Community Challenge Team, residents and businesses who contributed to the milestone.
Ameren Missouri PurePower, Clayton-based and the city of Clayton sponsored the effort. The EPA award recognizes communities that have agreed to with renewable energy. Clayton recently reached and passed its goal of replacing or offsetting a monthly total of 670 megawatt hours per month of electrical usage.
Cindy Bambini, senior Ameren partnership manager for 3Degrees and the day's emcee, opened the proceedings in a lighthearted manner, pitting Mayor Linda Goldstein and other Clayton officials against the Mayor's Youth Advisory Council in a feather-blowing game to see who could produce the most wind power. She then introduced the event's first speaker, Dan Kalafatas.
Kalafatas is chief executive of 3Degrees. The San Francisco-based company "partners with organizations that seek to utilize environmental markets to build value for their customers, employees, investors and other stakeholders," according to its website.
"I still feel a huge sense of pride that this concept of coming together as a community, to support an industry that ultimately improves our quality of life, has expanded across the country, and as of today firmly established itself in the Midwest with this first-in-Missouri designation," Kalafatas said Wednesday. "Congratulations to each and everyone of you for your part in making this effort such a terrific success."
Bill Barbieri, an Ameren Missouri representative, highlighted some of the Clayton businesses in Clayton that contributed to the effort.
"It's truly impressive to see logos from leading Clayton businesses intermixed with those from Clayton schools, churches and restaurants," he said. "Beginning with the 's commitment to kick off the challenge, Clayton businesses have rallied in support of green power and their community."
Among those he mentioned were:
The businesses made contributions toward the city's energy goal and also provided complimentary food and drinks at the event. The Jazz Ensemble provided entertainment, and provided an art show with a green-power theme.
Also making an appearance Wednesday: U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-MO.
"Coming out of this difficult recession, especially with our country dependent on expensive and undependable energy sources, the green energy sector is now growing very fast in the economy," he said. "St. Louis is very well positioned to be a leader in this movement, and achievements like this help position our community for the future and will help fuel the regional economy."
Goldstein's remarks focused on what she described as Clayton's overall commitment to a healthy and environmentally sound community. She pointed to the town's work in recycling, refuse collection and enviromental design, and to its public smoking ban.
"It amazes me to think about how far we've come in our efforts to preserve the environment," Goldstein said. "Clayton has been at the forefront of many environmental initiatives, but it is this particular achievement, becoming a Green Power Community just prior to Earth Day 2011, that in my mind solidifies our true community commitment to excel in this area."
Rick Hunter, a Clayton resident and owner of Microgid Energy, ended the ceremony.
He said Microrigid has brought government grants to the city to implement solar-power projects for local homes and businesses and has even provided the Clayton Police Department with a large solar array to bring clean energy to the city's police force.