Excellence on Main Award

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Northwest Maritime Center

Award: Sustainable Future

Year: 2020

City: Port Townsend

Operating out of the first LEED Gold building on the Olympic Peninsula, the Northwest Maritime Center views environmental stewardship as integral to its mission as a nonprofit organization that awakens a sense of wonder, connection to, and understanding of the Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest. From their buildings and interaction with the ecosystem to their programming and practices, Northwest Maritime Center walks the talk.

LEED designation in and of itself denotes a commitment to our shared sustainable future. The Northwest Maritime Center campus,

located at the intersection of downtown Port Townsend and Point Hudson, was designed to minimize impact on the environment, reduce energy and water use, lower operating costs, and make the most efficient use of materials and resources. The campus includes solar panels, a super-efficient water pump system, and electric car charging stations. The Center’s dock – which is often used by historic vessels, recreators, and students – was part of a coastal restoration initiative to protect the Port Townsend bay ecosystem.

The Center hosts an extraordinary number of programs, events, and educational opportunities each year, including Marine Thrift, which takes usable boat parts out of the waste stream; the renowned Wooden Board Festival; and hands-on environmental education opportunities known as the Salish Sea Expeditions Program – just to name a few. Northwesterners of all ages benefit from the Center’s programming that connects us to our maritime heritage and a strong sense of place.

The local community is also buoyed by having Northwest Maritime Center as a neighbor. In addition to the beautiful event facility, educational offerings, and waterfront access, the Center is also leading a community-wide charge to adopt sustainable approaches to operating venues and events. They look at all aspects of their business practice – down to the use of plastic cups and other single-use products – and continually strive break down barriers and find creative solutions. Their example and their willingness to mentor others benefit and inspire fellow organizations, the city, and residents to do the same.