A sign displaying SA Tomorrow near the grotto. Photo by Scott Ball.
SA Tomorrow grows closer to producing regional and community plans.

The City of San Antonio Office of Sustainability announced Friday that nominations are now being accepted for the SA Tomorrow Sustainability Awards.

The awards ceremony, which was previously known as the Green Building Awards, honors outstanding sustainability programs, solar projects, and new commercial and residential construction and retrofit projects in San Antonio. Individuals and organizations can be nominated.

Nominations are due by Friday, Aug. 26* and winners will be announced Nov. 1 at the Henry B. González Convention Center. The City expanded the timeframe for eligible projects to include structures initiated or constructed between Jan. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2015. To submit a nomination, click here.

SA Tomorrow is a planning effort that aims to address issues from transportation and housing to air quality and energy efficiency as the city prepares for an influx of an additional one million people by 2040. The initiative uses a multi-focused approach that includes the Comprehensive Plan, the Sustainability Plan and the Multimodal Transportation Plan.

Doug Melnick, the City’s chief sustainability officer, said that a number of different project types from community gardens to energy-efficient buildings can be nominated.

“We’re looking for really innovative, creative projects that are pushing (initiatives) locally that we can highlight,” Melnick said.

Councilman Ron Nirenberg (D8), SA Tomorrow tri-chair, said that San Antonio businesses that are sustainability pioneers are the foundation of strong cities, and for that, they are worth celebrating.

District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg speaks at the fireside chat. Photo by Scott Ball.
Councilman Ron Nirenberg (D8) speaks at the SA Tomorrow Sustainability Forum in June 2015.  Photo by Scott Ball.

“It is vital to highlight the good work of businesses that incorporate sustainable technology that is scalable and can have exponential benefits for the city and its citizens,” Nirenberg said in a phone interview. “It’s also critical that we show businesses who incorporate tech that their bottom line actually benefits through the publicity and prestige that comes with being an award-winning enterprise.”

Nirenberg said that the number of nominations for the Sustainability Awards has increased each year. Last year, the City received more than 100 nominations for 12 awards.

The San Antonio River Authority won the 2015 Organizational Practitioner award for its “leadership in advancing low impact development.” Lake/Flato Architects won the sustainability award for the design of Alamo Brewery, a privately-funded project.

San Antonio’s sustainability footprint has continued to grow with a number of other projects and initiatives. To date, the city has prevented 63 million pounds of carbon emissions, has saved 9.72 MegaWatts of energy, and has issued 5,150 green home certifications, according to the SA Tomorrow website.

Potential projects up for nomination this year could include the CPS Energy Roofless Solar program, which allows San Antonians to buy individual panels on a solar farm to decrease their monthly electric bills, or Earn-A-Bike Co-op, which encourages people to learn how to ride bikes and how to operate them safely, among others.

“It’s critical that we highlight organizations and projects like these before we go into the 2017 bond process. These businesses are models in regard to best practices,” Nirenberg said. “Companies interested in building on San Antonio public priorities should take a lesson from these companies and projects.”


*Update: The City has extended the deadline for submissions to Friday, August 26.

Top image: A sign displaying SA Tomorrow near the grotto downtown. Photo by Scott Ball. 


Local Leaders in Sustainability Honored for Community Work

Solar Advocacy, Green Building Nonprofits Join Forces

San Antonio: Still #1 in Texas For Solar

Villarreal’s King William Solar Plan Is a Go 

SA Tomorrow Plan Reignites Annexation Debate

Avatar photo

Sarah Talaat

Former Rivard Report intern Sarah Talaat graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2016. You can find her in Beijing, China where she is pursuing a business journalism master's at Tsinghua...