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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, August 16, 2019

Ruby Falls honored with Environmental Stewardship Award




Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner David Salyers presented Ruby Falls with the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award at a ceremony in Franklin on Aug. 1.

Ruby Falls was honored for the impact its ecologically-sensitive 2018 expansion, sustainability efforts and conservation initiatives have on the state’s natural resources and communities. Ruby Falls President Hugh Morrow accepted the award.

Statewide nominations were judged by a panel of 16 experts representing agriculture, conservation, forestry, environmental and academics. The vetting criteria focused on environmental and conservation outcomes utilizing innovation in siting, structure design and use, deconstruction and construction techniques, supply chain and materials sourcing, water conservation, energy efficiency, longevity and flexibility of use, protecting occupant health and productivity, reduction in overall carbon footprint and commitment to sustainability from company leadership.

Ruby Falls’ 2018 expansion involved repurposing the 1929 Cavern Castle and adding a 13,000-square-foot building expansion and a 4,000-square-foot outdoor venue. The project demonstrated a meticulous focus on energy efficiency, water conservation, occupant health and wellbeing, habitat protection, land conservation and community access, says company leadership.

“Our sustainability endeavors continue to expand as we learn more about what impacts the environment and as technology develops,” Morrow adds.

National Federation of Independent Business State Director Jim Brown attended the ceremony and noted a significant shift in the way small businesses think.

“Fifteen or 20 years ago, small and independent business owners weren’t necessarily thinking about environmental sustainability. Today, we see small businesses like Ruby Falls recognizing that although there might be a higher cost on the front end, sustainable business practices are a good investment because it’s good for the environment and it’s going to attract a new customer base.

“Like Ruby Falls, small and independent businesses are spending more time investigating sustainability and investing in sustainable upgrades.”

The ceremony marked the 33rd year the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards have recognized voluntary projects and initiatives (not required by law or regulation) that improve or protect the environment and natural resources and wildlife.

Source: Ruby Falls